Meet a CTA: Sovan Bin

We caught up with Sovan Bin, Founder and CEO of Odaseva, at Dreamforce ’19. Sovan was born in France but now lives in San Francisco. He still frequently visits France to visit friends and family and to work with his team at the Odaseva Paris headquarters.

You studied business in school. How did you get started in Technology?

It all started with a misunderstanding.

The French university where I got my Master degree in Business was sharing a campus with a university delivering a Master degree in Computer Science. When I joined Capgemini in 2004, I was assigned to a large Oracle Siebel CRM project, in the Technology division.

After 1 year, during my employee review, I asked HR why I had not been assigned to the Capgemini Consulting and Strategy division that seemed to be a better fit with my business degree. Apparently there was a misunderstanding, they thought I had a Master degree in Computer Science.

They asked me if I wanted to change, I said no–technology is just awesome. I was passionate about technology since I was 11 years old, back in 1991 when I got my first Personal Computer; and got even more addicted to it after trying to create a software company in Neural Networks in 2003.

You were one of the first ten architects to pass the CTA exam and were the very first CTA from EMEA. How did you prepare for the exam?

When I joined Salesforce back in 2007, we were only a few in the Paris office. There was no Trailhead, but there was Salesforce University and I had the best mentor ever with Jean-Luc Antoine, CTA.

As a consultant working for the Salesforce Expert Services division, my job was to know everything about Salesforce technology, and “everything” puts the bar pretty high.
So I studied and memorized every Salesforce documentation I could find (https://developer.salesforce.com/docs/).

Then I went through every Salesforce certification that existed at the time: the 201, 301, 401, 501, CON, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud. The 501 was the hardest certification of my life as I had never learned how to code before Salesforce, and the 501 contained a real code scenario.

It took me 12 months to prepare, by studying the thousands of pages of the Salesforce Soap API, Apex, Visualforce and the SControl (may it rest in peace) documentation. My mentor Jean-Luc coached me month after month: collaborating on a chess game developed in Apex/Visualforce, competing on THE fastest Sudoku solver written in Javascript, with macro and micro performance optimizations, collaborating on the PAD methodology (Parallel Apex Development) for complex Salesforce projects involving dozen or hundred of developers, etc

I had managed 40 Enterprise Customers delivery in 5 years at Salesforce and after leading the Architecture of what was the biggest Salesforce European project ever with Schneider Electric, I was informed that there was a brand new certification for Architecture, the CTA. There was no more documentation to read, no more project to learn from, no more Architectural challenge I felt i was not ready for; so I just applied and went there, “unprepared” but yet feeling super prepared from my real world experience. After the CTA panel I was not sure if I would get it, but apparently I did and I felt euphoric, and more importantly I felt honored and recognized by my peers; to me it was like receiving a Master Degree in Computer Science, and this time there was no misunderstanding :-).

I don’t know any other CTAs that have founded a product company that is on the AppExchange. What does the name Odaseva mean and what do you do?

The first part of Odaseva starts with Oda, from the French word “Audace” which means boldness and daring. We are a company that was founded upon the boldness of thinking out of the box and innovating, knowing that companies need a better way to manage their Salesforce data. Since 2012, we’ve addressed the challenges of enterprise-class Salesforce Data Architecture including data privacy automation, data protection, and data operations, while optimizing LDV performance and security. Seven years after our start I feel proud that we’ve been able to solve and automate the most complex Data Architecture challenges that I faced as a CTA and was not able to solve at the time.

The second part of the Odaseva name is seva, which is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service” or work performed without any thought of reward or repayment. It is the act of giving with no need to receive, where the act itself is a gift to everyone involved.

“Oda” +“Seva” accurately identifies the values of our company. We used our comprehensive Salesforce expertise and knowledge, world-class security to create the only Salesforce Data Architecture as a Service build by Salesforce Architects for Salesforce Architects. And we hope we’re contributing to making the world a better place in the process.

How do you give back to the architect community?

We are fortunate to have very talented people at Odaseva, including 3 CTAs. I think the one thing we all have in common is that all truly believe in the importance of giving back to the architect community. Beyond Dreamforce ‘19 where we just delivered 18 sessions, members of the Odaseva team are MVPs, User Group Leaders, and contribute to the Salesforce Architect and Certification program as SMEs and instructors.

There really is no one way to help and everyone can contribute. You don’t need to be a CTA to help others. The Ladies Be Architects study groups are perfect examples of this. They have helped so many achieve Salesforce certifications.

Personally, I enjoy writing thought leadership articles. I have published numerous articles on the Salesforce Developers blog, including a four part series Salesforce Backup and Restore Essentials. The series details experiences and best-practice recommendations for anyone working with enterprise backup and restore processes.

If you could have any job besides CEO of your own company, what would it be?

I would enjoy being a code developer who works at night and sleeps during the day, with a pizza and a beer on my desk, I would enjoy becoming an instructor helping those on the #JourneytoCTA.

I would also enjoy doing politics to make the world a better place. But I’m so happy in my life with that sense of fullfillness and pride of the technology we conceived that help 10 Millions of Salesforce users, that I feel blessed, I would not change anything 🙂