In an interaction with Express Computer, Kumar Bachchan, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Niveshan Technologies India, delves into the opportunities presented by the Covid-19 crisis and how Niveshan Technologies is committed to its customers, partners and employees.
What’s your overall assessment of the Covid crisis and the opportunities that it has presented for India Inc?
Covid-19 has brought the whole world to standstill at a pace beyond imagination. With no medication invented and available yet, the mystery and fight against coronavirus continues. The world is getting set for ‘new norms’. Emerging from almost zero activity for months together, the economy will recover. Few sectors are expected to be significantly negatively impacted like real estate, automobile, aviation, tourism, hospitality, entertainment; may even take longer time to recover. EdTech, digital marketing and digital platforms, healthcare, IT and ITeS, e-tailing, would be among the sectors expected to gain momentum. The BFSI sector would need to go back to drawing board to check how to protect current exposures and align BFSI with the new norms.
For now, there is a visible impact on employment opportunities, however, hopefully this shall settle soon.
As every crisis do show up some new opportunities, Covid-19 has showed new ways of engagement with most shifting towards digital or e-meetings across sectors. Work-from-home may be the new normal in certain sectors with its own all-round new and different challenges. Businesses would need to revisit their business plans. For instance, the education sector is expected to undergo disruptive transformation.
On the economy front, possibly, the next two to four quarters shall show the real impact of Covid-19 in realistic and comprehensive manner. Any longer may cause deep recession. If so, it may take much longer to recover. Some of the sectors and areas of economy are showing recovery to pre-Covid situation with little of bit of V and some bit of U type recovery.
What have been the key disruptions and trends among customer organisations?
All customer organisations are compelled to go back to drawing board for more than one, but different reasons. Some are looking good with tactical approach to go through current motions, while many are looking at in disruptive manner. From ICT perspective, emerging technologies are in focus – mobility, artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics, cloud across stack, blockchain, Internet of Things, augmented reality and virtual reality. There is renewed focus on online channels, including business meetings, various activities in student lifecycle in education, new shopping experiences, etc.
We closed a mega multi-million, multi-year, multi-national opportunity during the peak of Covid-19 crisis, without even a single in-person meetings; and without experiencing any constraints, but with much higher productivity levels.
Customers across sectors, while adopting to new norms, are re-looking and revisiting their both, forward and backward supply chain processes from business, finance and people perspective. To me, this is time to stick to one’s business focus and fundamentals, revisit all the strategies adopted during Covid-19 from long-term perspective, and understand 360-degree implications of new norms like WFH in socio-economic and geographical context.
While large enterprises have managed to move to the new normal, what challenges and opportunities do you see for SMEs?
Our organisation lives in the spirit of ‘NextGen Niveshan’. Our experience during Covid-19 and now as we get into the new normal, is quite different as SMB. I must mention, possibly the decision making among SMB is relatively agile and simple. The traditional factors like low propensity for risk-taking, limited access to resources, low capacity and capability to sustain challenging situations, managing fund flow of SMEs may go through a test. Those who have and, or are willing to focus on business fundamentals like the mantra of scale and looking beyond, will find their way relatively smoother.
This is, otherwise, time for SMB to take stock and work backward on survival and growth story. In India, the government seems to have a focus on MSME. It is time to take optimal advantage of the situation and go back to drawing board on matters of overall strategy – it’s time to take tough, but good decisions. SMEs need to look at compelling situation like Covid-19 as a blessing in disguise.
What are the best practices that Niveshan Technologies adopted during these unprecedented times, ensuring seamless support to your customers?
In the service and IT industry more so, people are important as they make a difference in the company’s success. So as the first step, we decided and executed a people-centric strategy – not to affect people’s fundamentals, including compensation, and making WFH the new norm. We continued hiring across different functions and levels as natural step to our growth. This gave a clear message and confidence within Niveshan ecosystem that ‘all is well’. We experienced much higher productivity during this period.
On the customer service and support front, half the battle is won by doing the basics right. We used technology, our people and processes, and customer engagement fundamentals as key strategies in serving our customers without any major challenge. We would place our sincere appreciation and acknowledge our customers’ belief in our commitment.
The icing on the cake was our partners, backward and forward supply chain partners. Our partners stood with us to deliver our commitment to our customers. We didn’t let the situation affect our partners’ fundamentals, including payments. To sum up, it was simply a well executed all-round strategy.
Along with private enterprises, the public sector is also accelerating digital transformation. Please elaborate on successful project execution in the government sector
It is important to understand, the stakeholders & beneficiaries in Public Sector are far more and diverse. There are dependencies across other organisations horizontally and vertically. Investments in public sector in the digital space are meant for larger purposes; for instance, one of the city infrastrucuture projects was redeployed and reconfigured for Covid-19 within a day. The public sector is always on continuous journey of transformation with administrative and legislative reforms. It is time to comprehensively look at how to exploit emerging technologies to achieve ‘NextGen governance’.
How is Niveshan Technologies positioned to complement digital initiatives across industries? Please shed light on some of your innovations
With ‘NextGen Niveshan’ as our spirit, we are committed to continually look for opportunity to embrace newer technologies, decode them in the context of the given sector and customers by closely working with our partners. We continuously invest in people, by redesigning and acquiring newer skills and technologies. Academia engagement is very critical as one of the right investments.
It would be interesting to share some of our use cases to best articulate and relate. We were the first to deploy the latest ITC technology SD-WAN and ACI Fabric in the public sector.
One of the public sector customers came up with specific requirement of establishing a secure pan-India collaboration setup, withour using the existing commercial solutions. Our teams could conceive, create, deploy, and rollout a solution by building from scratch within 10 days. This was rolled out pan-India in almost 100 locations.
In line with the new normal, what will be your key focus areas and roadmap for the future?
Stay safe, focus on business fundamentals, and stay committed to ‘NextGen Niveshan’ as our vision. We are in business with and for our customers, partners and employees, and we will make continuous and appropriate investments by keeping them in centre of everything that we do. We encourage business as usual to make our journey future-proof.
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