Meet Saumin Patel, Our VP of Tech
We sat down with our vice president of technology, Saumin Patel, to talk about his most challenging project, disaster recovery, and his advice for anyone wanting to work in the tech world!
1. What were you doing before you came to artnet?
I was software architect at A.D.A.M Inc., a health solutions company. Originally, the company was OnlineBenefits, Inc., which was bought by A.D.A.M in 2006 to 2007.
2. What inspired you to come work here?
There were a couple of reasons. First, I was going to work for a fantastic and strong brand like artnet, an innovator in the art world for a number of years.
Secondly, from a technological perspective, I really liked the challenge of working for an E-commerce company along with having thousands of web pages from a content perspective.
3. What was your biggest project to date?
Actually, there have been several. However, the most complicated project I was ever involved in was online enrollment application for health benefits for employers and employees. It was a transactional application which enabled an enrollment administrator to administrate benefits for a company or companies, and for employees to select benefits and enroll online without a single signature.
4. What is it like to release a product at artnet? What’s involved?
Release of a product at artnet is always very exciting in general. There are several factors that go into releasing a product. Obviously, we start off with planning the date and time of the launch. This depends on the complexity of the release and the time when we have the least amount of customers on our site. The next step is to let different teams like customer support and operations know about it. Once the date is determined, the technology team plans internally on detailed logistics like identifying dependencies, turning off monitoring systems, configuration changes, QA estimation, etc. We have a system through which a change log is generated; development teams review this list and certify it. Once that is done, a launch list is created, along with a rollback plan, both of which get approved by me.
On the launch day, the launch list is followed, and if there are unforeseen problems, the rollback plan is implemented. It sounds simple, and uncomplicated, but it is not!
5. What was the most challenging tech project at artnet for you so far?
The most challenging technology project so far has been the installation and configuration of our disaster recovery (DR) facility. DR helps us in having a backup, should something catastrophic happen to our primary facility where the website is hosted. There was a lot of planning required, and we had to go back to the drawing board more than once.
6. Describe your morning routine as VP of Tech at artnet
It starts off with me checking email for system notifications and any statuses for existing projects. Once at work, I check in with the head of technology operations and software team lead, for daily work planning and/or updates.
7. What can’t you live without when starting your day at work?
Email! Emails keep me up-to-date on statuses that I need, ranging from system notifications to project updates.
8. What do you think is artnet’s biggest achievement?
I believe establishment of such a strong brand is artnet’s biggest achievement. Along with it, continuous innovation that is seen in all artnet products, which reaffirm our strong brand and leadership in the art world.
9. How do you imagine the art world in 25 years?
I imagine that the current small and rocky road of transparency in the art market will turn into a highway of transparency at a global level. From making true art investing decisions to researching a specific type of art or artist, a user, regardless of location, will be able to use technology to have all information ready at a moment’s notice.
10. What’s your advice to someone who would like to be involved in the tech industry?
The tech industry has a lot of areas where one could excel. However, it is also evolving very quickly. What made it easier for me to get involved in the tech industry is that I am a technologist at heart. I am quite passionate about technology in general, which makes it easier to love your job, work hard at it, and be good at it.