In 1993 Sanjay Shah came to Chicago to work in the technology industry for a local company called SAP. Shah was a user of enterprise software prior to getting into the tech industry itself.
“I have an incredible passion for technology as it relates to transforming businesses,” Shah said, Founder and CEO of Vistex, Inc. “I firmly believe that technology with all of its advances over the past few decades, especially help transform businesses and make them efficient and more effective in what they do.”
In early 1999, Shah independently founded Hoffman Estates based- Vistex, Inc., shortly after leaving SAP. Since then, Vistex has been changing the face of the software industry with cutting-edge marketplace solutions for some of the world’s biggest companies like Apple, Walmart, Nestle, and Microsoft.
“I think our company actually pioneered, and are leading in an entirely new category of business software we call Go-to-Market programs,” Shah said. “So a lot of companies have tried to latch on to a trend, and tried to make their place in it. We actually defined the trend, the marketplace seems to be accepting it, and we’re very excited about it.”
Shah noted that after having spent over two decades in the industry, he noticed that there were still pockets of activity that were not being brought together on a platform, as far as company’s go to marketing initiatives are concerned.
“I spotted this opportunity a few years ago,” he said. “It’s really the genesis of Vistex. All of the attention, and the admiration that my company has received, reinforces the fact that we were right in starting the trend, and creating the platform that we call Go-to-Market programs. In fact it’s being acknowledged by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as an accepted trademark in a new category of business software.”
Working in the tech industry for over two decades, Shah has seen the impact of technology, and how it has—and is—changing the landscape of today’s world. So for 2015, what are his expectations for the tech industry? Shah thinks the ‘cloud’ revolution is here to stay.
We’ve seen it affect us in the consumer world,” he said. “We consume everything that is in the cloud so to speak. I believe that businesses will also move, albeit over a steady pace, a lot of their technology operations into the cloud. So they will no longer run their software programs in house, but leverage the power and the reach of the cloud.”
“I think technology will continue to transform our lives,” he added. “Not just personally, but also professionally. I believe that technology will be seamless in terms of our personal and professional lives. I don’t think we’ll be able to distinguish between the two. At least as far as how we consume technology—whether it’s how we interact with our friends on social media, or are doing work, we’ll probably still be using some form of mobile device to do that.”
Shah’s favorite technology that he can’t be without is his Blackberry, which comes in handy when he’s not working—even though he’s likely to still be working!
“I must admit that I’m a 24/7 type of person,” he said. “So when I pretend that I’m not working, I’m thinking about work. I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies right now, as I’m really trying to build and grow.”
He may not have time for his hobbies, but Shah is certainly looking forward to the day when he will have time for one specifically! “One of my hobbies is to fly, I’m a licensed pilot. So when the time’s right, that is something I’d like to get back into. Flying is my second passion.”
So how does Shah find the balance between work and the things that keep him sane? For some people, Shah noted, it’s about finding a work-life balance, but for him it’s about work-life integration.
“I really enjoy, very much, what I do,” he said. “If someone were to ask what I would have done differently, I would say nothing. I would rather continue doing what I am doing. So for me, it’s more integration and ensuring that I’ll have enough time for my family.”
Hard-work, discipline, and never forgetting his roots, are the three most important things to Shah—which clearly have all been strong contributors to his longevity and success within the tech industry.
Recently, Shah bought the Trump International Hotel & Tower penthouse for $17 million. Shah made history with his purchase of the 89th floor of the luxury building, as it’s one of the most extraordinary high-rise properties ever sold in the United States.
With 360-degree views of Chicago’s most popular landmarks, five bedrooms and eight bathrooms, the penthouse will serve as a second residence for Shah and his family.
“As far as plans specifically, I think it’s too early to tell,” Shah said. “But we do plan to not rush into it, and give it time. We’re going to engage the right people and do it right. There will be a lot of technology here, that’s for sure. I just don’t know to what extent. That’s something that we’ll need to work out with an architect.”
There isn’t much that Shah has to complain about these days, as his hard-work, perseverance, and dedication has paid off—in both his professional and personal life. “I’ve said it numerous times in the past, but I believe the American dream is alive and well. Chicago is absolutely the most fabulous place to realize it.”