Data Gumbo Talent Spotlight: Maria Onufrow

With much buzz around Data Gumbo’s latest product enhancements, including the rollout of our smart contract marketplace, GumboStore, we wanted to take a minute to highlight an integral member of our product team, Maria Onufrow. Maria is VP Product Delivery at Data Gumbo. In this role, she heads up the software development and product implementation teams, working diligently to bring blockchain technology to asset-heavy industries through our smart contract network, GumboNet.

As a hands-on software professional with over 20 years experience leading teams and projects in all phases of the product life cycle, largely for the energy industry in upstream and midstream sectors, Maria is skilled in cultivating positive customer relationships, establishing vendor credibility, and solving critical business problems. 

As a clutch member of Data Gumbo since 2019, Maria is a driving force maturing GumboNet’s offerings to best suit our growing customer base and their complicated needs. Welcome to the talent spotlight Maria! 

First off, let’s dive into what do you love most about working in product?
It’s always fun to be building software that does something new. GumboNet is truly different from the industry-specific transaction software I’ve worked with in the past because here we solve problems at the network level — meaning that our network addresses transactional issues between customers and their vendors or suppliers. We aren’t just software for companies to run in isolation, but a shared platform between companies and their counterparties.

GumboNet is in an exciting time in its build cycle where we’re building new features and solving problems for new customer segments, while also adding reusable tools for customers to use themselves. Since we are cloud-native, we get to use state-of-the-art tools, which keeps our software developers engaged. For those of us who have supported legacy systems before, it’s refreshing to be able to solve old problems in a new way and not be burdened by previous versions.

Are you drawn to any particular phase of product life cycles more than others and why?
I love starting a new project and really understanding customer pain points so we can make better software to help them. I also find the testing phase fun because it's a true opportunity to learn so much from the results. I love it when I see the light bulb come on in someone’s head when they understand what ‘blockchain for industry’ really means. 

What other tech trends do you find exciting?
I think RPA (Robotic Process Automation) could add a lot of value. Most companies I’ve worked with spend a lot of time dealing with legacy systems — so much so that they don’t even notice it anymore; it’s just how they do business. For instance, many accountants spend eight hours a week or more generating invoices because the way their systems are set up require manual exporting? Data Gumbo can fix that, but until then, RPA could save them a lot of grief.

What interests you most about the Data Gumbo customers?
To date, all of our customers have at least one person or a small group of people who are forward looking and can really envision the future. The current industry processes have a lot of room for improvement, but not everyone has the energy to do something about it. With Data Gumbo’s customers, it’s lovely to work with visionaries and champions who desire digital transformation within their organizations and companies. Several of our customers are already a year or more into their smart contract implementations and are positioning themselves to be way ahead of their competitors. Our customers are already reaping the benefits of blockchain and smart contract technology, and are working to streamline their processes now in support of quicker payments and lower costs. 

Where do you think the company will be in five years?
We’ve come so far in the last three years and our foundation is stronger than ever. Backed by a purpose-built blockchain with configurable smart contracts that address many common business problems, we’re starting to see new customers come in that can leverage our prebuilt solutions to accelerate implementation timelines. We are supporting international customers, fostering strategic partnerships with industry groups and are starting to scale up within the energy sector and across other asset-heavy industries. The next five years is going to be explosive growth for Data Gumbo!

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