razorpay-joins-unicorn-club

India’s Razorpay joins Unicorn club with fresh funding, eyes expansion

by | Oct 13, 2020 | Industry News

The company foresees enormous potential in the Indian payment gateway space due to the growing demand from organizations to build their e-commerce presence amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Share to lead the transformation

 

One of the few successful Indian fintech startups, Bangalore-based Razorpay, joins the Unicorn club, as it has secured $100M in a new funding round. With this cycle of financing, the payment startup has also become the first Indian payment-gateway to achieve US$ 1bn valuation.

“Razorpay secures $100 million in Series D funding led by GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, along with Sequoia & our existing investors Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global, Y-Combinator and Matrix Partners. The funding also comes with a significant milestone of Razorpay becoming the newest unicorn in India, informs Shashank Kumar, Co-founder, Razorpay, through the company’s official blog.

Set-up in 2013 by Shashank Kumar and Harshil Mathur, Razorpay had raised $75 million in Series C funding last year. 

Razorpay’s ambitions after joining Unicorn Club

Razorpay offers social media sellers and SMEs a convenient mechanism to take payments online without a website or a payment gateway integration.  The company plans to employ the fresh capital to scale up its solutions such as RazorpayX, a neo-banking platform, and Razorpay Capital, a quick business loan platform. It also plans to hire about 500 employees this fiscal year.

Razorpay also provides cash advance service to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME), through collaboration with banks. As Razorpay secures $100 million funding, this will enable it to expand its lending solution capabilities. The company says that over 50% of Indian SMEs still don’t have access to digital financial tools, and it is determined to help these businesses in the best possible manner.

“We strongly believe that RazorpayX will charter our next growth chapter – driving the mobile-first, technology-first transformation of business banking, suited to the digital needs of businesses today and helping them make better decisions,” adds Kumar.

Market onlookers view this development as spectacular since it demonstrates investors’ growing confidence in the Indian startup ecosystem despite the uncertain economic environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital technology’s acceptance, forcing people to alter their behavioral buying patterns and move to online channels.

Razorpay’s list of clients includes Facebook, Google, Jio, Hotstar, Wikipedia, Meesho, among many other independent contractors and SME’s.

Digital transactions gain steam during the pandemic

Led by the Indian government’s increased impetus and growing digitization, the country’s digital payments ecosystem is ready to see a monumental rise. According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), India saw digital transaction uptake of about 55% in 2018 compared to 11.4% in Brazil, 35% in Russia, and 23% in Indonesia.

With a mushrooming work-from-home and cautious approach due to COVID-19, the country is expected to see rapid growth in the digital transformation across all sectors and industries. Additionally, from a demographic perspective, more than 60% of India’s population is under 35 years, mostly extremely tech-savvy. This young population is equipped with high disposable income, inexpensive smartphones, and 24*7 data connectivity. It makes them prime potential customers of non-bank digital players.

Additionally, events such as demonetization and COVID-19 have also fast-tracked the digital payment ecosystem’s overall growth.

Companies like Razorpay seems to be cashing in on these exceptional attributes and expanding their solution capabilities. There is also a tremendous interest among many fintech companies and investors to set their shop locally and be a part of India’s growth story.

Besides Razorpay, other prominent digital payment gateway players battling for India’s market share include PayMate, Paytm, CC Avenue, PayU, Paytm, and Mobikwik.

MORE FROM BETTER WORLD

Growth of Indian IT sector set for revival in 2021

Growth of Indian IT sector set for revival in 2021

After facing multiple headwinds due to the COVID-19 pandemic and sluggish economic recovery, the growth of Indian IT sector seems to be on the path of retrieval.

A recent study by Fitch, a global credit rating agency, says that due to the enormous demand for digital transformation solutions, the IT Services industry revenue will start upward by a high single-digit percentage in 2021-22.  The sector, however, will continue to see minimal revenue growth in FY20, says the report titled Spotlight: Indian IT Services Sector.

The IT industry has grown at a CAGR of 8% during 2014-2019, based on Fitch’s estimate.

The report comes as no surprise as most technology leaders have been extremely cautious about IT spending and exploring several ways to transform their businesses digitally in the wake of the current crisis.

New normal leading the growth of Indian IT sector

The new normal, where most of the employees work from home, has been a compelling force for businesses to transform every aspect of their operations and move from legacy systems.

The focus has been growing steadily on automation, artificial intelligence, and data science to swiftly increase employee efficiency and productivity. The industry expects that technologies like Analytics and AI would continue to play a more significant role in the growth of the Indian IT sector along with driving enriching experience for employees and customers. Moreover, the next twelve months will see faster adoption of transformative technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), Blockchain, and robotic process automation (RPA). These technologies will be used to build contactless solutions and strengthen process efficiencies. Customer Organizations will be seen ramping-up their research and development initiatives to kick-start the economy. (See: How is digital transformation shaping the new future?)

Most enterprises across sectors have realized the benefits of these technologies for the growth of their IT industry and putting a strong emphasis on improving their internal IT budget scope. (See: Anshuman Tiwari, Global Head of Delivery Excellence, DXC Technology; and CIOs to focus on network transformation for business continuity).

Digital transformation tailwinds favor India’s IT sector

To meet the growing demand, IT Services companies are rapidly increasing their competencies and will continue to enter into incredible collaborations and acquisitions that will further beef up their digital transformation capabilities and revenue prospects in 2021, despite the current decline. (See: Tech Cos take M&A route for digital transformation supremacy).

In addition, there is also a cost advantage, i.e., the salaries in India are much lower as compared to the countries like the U.S. This is expected to create a massive growth opportunity for the U.S. and European firms to expand their base in India.

Top recent partnerships

Company

Partner

Initiative

TCS

IBM

Develop a new unit to help clients achieve a greater level of digital and cognitive enterprise transformation using IBM’s cloud service

Infosys

Genesys

AI solution to augment query management and scale helpdesk operations to enhance productivity and customer satisfaction.

 

Wipro

Intel

Provide remote work solutions with enhanced cybersecurity measures to customers

 

Tech Mahindra

Microsoft

Develop enterprise cloud solutions leveraging Microsoft platforms and technologies to meet customer needs and pursue growth

 

Mphasis

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Provide an end-to-end cloud and cognitive portfolio of services leveraging its partnership with AWS, with its new status of premier consulting partner

 

Hexaware

Freshworks

Offer customer and employee-engagement software for digitally native business

 

Source: Fitch.

Quote:

“We expect the Indian IT services industry to continue to take advantage of its low-cost operations and maintain its strong foothold in the global IT sector”

-Keith Poon, Fitch Ratings

Paytm Mini App Store: A threat to Google’s dominance?

Paytm Mini App Store: A threat to Google’s dominance?

Digital payments firm, Paytm, has tossed a new android mini-app store or links to progressive web apps (PWAs), intending to support Indian startups and contest Google’s dominance in the play store. Paytm Mini App Store is an exciting development for the Indian digital ecosystem, where many of the startups and developers can leverage Paytm’s reach and payment arrangements.

Paytm’s new app store will enable local developers to test their mobile applications’ capabilities on an all-new local app platform, for free of cost.

For the last few months, many Indian app developers have been mulling the idea of an alternate Indian local app store. The aim is to give an alternate option to house India’s android based mobile applications and counterbalance the dependency on the Google Play store. The mini-apps platform provides an engrossing one-click experience for users without downloading the apps. This new ecosystem will also help millions of Indian smartphone users who use budget-friendly low-storage phones.

Paytm Mini App store launch resonates with the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” mission, a popular PR tactic for many companies since the ban of several China-based apps. According to Paytm, over 300 apps, such as ride-hailing major Ola, online pharmacy store Netmeds, fast-food giant Domino’s, online food startup Fresh Menu, No Broker, etc have joined the Paytm app store.

 What influenced the development of the Indian App Store?

 It seems like the Paytm Mini app store’s idea has been triggered because of the two factors. Both Paytm and Google entered into conflict last month when Paytm owned ‘First Games’ app was removed from Google’s Play Store.

Google had alleged that Paytm’s app violated play store gambling policies by introducing a real cash-based fantasy cricket tournament. Paytm, on the other hand, confronted that Google’s move was a deliberate attempt to confine Paytm’s growing dominance in the Indian market and control the growth of a potential rival.

Though Google reinstated the Paytm’s app within hours, the incident triggered an acrimonious war of words between the tech giants.

The second factor that compelled many developers and companies to support the idea of a new Indian app store was Google’s fresh mandate. According to Google, all app developers on the Play Store would need to use its in-app payment system from the near future, i.e., the US company’s billing system, where app developers will have to shell out a 30 percent fee from their payments.

Google’s 30% fee for in-app purchase decision has been slammed by many developers and startups in India who voiced their displeasure of this move. After the pushback, Google analyzed the situation in time and decided to delay the 30 percent Play Store cut in India.

An ambitious gamble

Google Play is the world’s leading android app store and houses over 3 million apps. Besides, many other players such as Amazon AppStore, GetJar, Aptoide, and Opera Mobile store have been battling to up their popularity charts with limited uptake.

It would be interesting to see if Paytm’s new app store could become a game-changer or turns out to be an extempore in response to the recent events and its squabble with Google.

The app store marketplace is no laid-back business. Paytm would need much investment, technology upgrades, and innumerable alliances to develop an alternative app distribution ecosystem for Indian android users. Others will be watching this space closely and may throw some competitive elbows.

Paytm has recently been investing significantly in marketing its UPI, and claims to hold about 50 percent market share in the segment. The company also plans to foray into the US market and plans to compete with Amazon and Flipkart’s likes in the e-commerce space.

Airtel beefs up cybersecurity portfolio, eyes new business

Airtel beefs up cybersecurity portfolio, eyes new business

Global telecommunication company Bharti Airtel launches several new offerings to fortify its enterprise business. The company has announced two strategic alliances to bring new-age cybersecurity solutions and has unveiled a Security Intelligence Center (SIC) to enhance enterprise network monitoring capabilities.

All the new offerings are introduced under the umbrella of Airtel Secure.

The Telco has reportedly spent about Rs. 100 crores for the launch of the new SIC. Situated in the National Capital Region, the center will provide remote network monitoring and tracking services through artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to mitigate potential threats.

Airtel has also signed strategic pacts with Cisco and Radware to develop enterprise customers’ security solutions and capabilities. With its collaboration with Cisco, a networking giant, Airtel will offer innovative monitoring, analysis, and investigation of malicious code services to its customers. It will also develop new cybersecurity solutions for businesses to secure networks, endpoints, applications, and the cloud.

Another strategic deal involves Radware, a leading provider of cybersecurity, and application delivery solutions. Through this partnership, the company has been able to set-up India’s first global scrubbing center. This will ensure that all cyber threats to data and information are attacked and eliminated at the country’s source. Airtel’s Nxtra Data will host this advanced facility in Chennai.

The company informed that it has already signed Flipkart, Havell’s, Fidelity India, R-Systems, among others as its customers for the service.

“At Airtel, we constantly ask our customers what more can we do to help them in their digital transformation journeys. Through these conversations, we have heard that cybersecurity is a critical requirement. Airtel Secure has been built to serve this need. It combines Airtel’s robust network security with cutting-edge solutions delivered through global partnerships to deliver end-to-end managed security services,” said Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

Need for proactive cybersecurity solutions gain currency

The cybersecurity market is developing at a fast rate. According to a recent report by Nasscom-DSCI, the Indian cybersecurity services industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 21 percent to touch USD 13.6 billion by 2025.

The opportunity has been further grown because of the pandemic induced remote work scenario. There has been a massive upsurge in bandwidth consumption from various home networks, which may not be as secure as office networks. This new normal creates an enormous scope for threat actors to hack systems and negatively impacts job performance and employee productivity.

Enterprises face mounting pressure to address the rising security threats and need proactive solutions and support to track their network. In a bid to increase their security solutions canvas, most Indian telcos are collaborating with IT majors to establish digital trust and provide a robust connectivity experience to their customers.

Early this year, Vodafone Idea’s enterprise arm, Vodafone Idea Business Services (VIBS), also entered into a partnership with IBM to establish a data security device management solution for enterprises.

Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio is also concentrating on catering to small and medium businesses’ information security needs and has big plans lined up for the next year.

Among all telcos, Airtel is leading the B2B connectivity space and serves over 2500 large and one million-plus SMEs and startups with its integrated product portfolio that includes data centers, cloud, security, and collaboration.

 

Twitter hires Rinki Sethi as CISO to keep hackers at bay

Twitter hires Rinki Sethi as CISO to keep hackers at bay

Micro-blogging giant, Twitter, hires Rinki Sethi, an ex-IBM executive, as its new Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).  The San Francisco-based executive has last worked with Rubrik, a cloud data management company in the capacity of VP and CISO.

Sethi has extensive experience in leading and developing online infrastructure for tech majors such as IBM and Palo Alto Networks. Sethi will manage enterprise risk, security risk, application security, and detection & response efforts in her new office.

Sethi has also served on the advisory council for SecureWorld, one of North America’s major cybersecurity conferences, for over six years.

What makes this announcement significant?

The announcement of Twitter’s new CISO has come at a time when most of the social media platforms are facing substantial scrutiny because of the amplified security breaches and user abuse.

In July this year, the micro-blogging major received severe criticism from many countries because of its inability to preclude a major cyber hack. The company reported a breach when cyber criminals gained unauthorized access to its systems to hack the high-profile Twitter accounts of many famous people, leaders, and influential personalities.

The hacked accounts were used to trap many naïve followers who were tricked into transferring Bitcoins to specific wallets by offering massive returns.

The list of compromised accounts included former US President Barack Obama, media personality Kim Kardashian, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Early this month, a similar incident repeated when cybercriminals hacked the twitter account of Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India.

Skills shortage a big concern

The IT industry has unanimous concerns about the scarcity of trained cybersecurity professionals in the marketplace.

A recent report commissioned by the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) professionals, reveals that over 70% of governing bodies are putting their operations at risk due to lack of robust cybersecurity talent at the administration. 

The severe shortage in cybersecurity talent is a global problem. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have taken Twitter over nine months to fill the position of CISO leadership role, which had been lying vacant after Mike Convertino, who left the high-profile job in December 2019 to begin his venture.

In the growing work-from-home environment scenario, enterprises need to take speedy steps to beef-up their security policies and infrastructure to fit the growing work-from-home environment. However, if the shortage of trained information security professionals continues to persist for a longer time, it can derail enterprises’ digital transformation efforts, eventually blocking agility and business resiliency. 

CIOs to focus on network transformation for business continuity

CIOs to focus on network transformation for business continuity

The COVID-19 outbreak has dramatically shattered many perceptions. Focus on network transformation for business has suddenly become crucial for many companies to mitigate the impact of the epidemic and stay relevant.

The lockdowns and stay-at-home advisories have further stressed the importance of agile and secure information networks. With a massive uptake of collaboration solutions and burgeoning remote workforce, there has been a pressing need to provide a seamless connectivity experience to every stakeholder and employee.

The digital-first approach has given severe headaches to many CIOs, and IT heads who are consistently evaluating customized solutions to track their extensive network ecosystem.

In the absence of the right network monitoring metrics, IT may feel confronted with identifying the network problem and offer a solution. It ultimately hampers the positive experiences of clients and users. In such a scenario, many technology leaders emphasize deploying tools and technologies to monitor potential vulnerabilities or deficiencies in an organizational network and accelerate their digital network transformation initiatives.

Enabling a more effective remote monitoring

With 5G deployments at the doorway, there’s an exceptional opportunity for enterprises to drive digital innovations at an unprecedented scale. Nevertheless, many of them still struggle to obtain total visibility into varied applications, networks, devices, cloud platforms, and other elements of their IT ecosystem.

Collaboration tools, cloud storage, messaging, and web-conferencing are just a few examples of technologies that enable remote work. Soon, there will be several technologies, such as the internet of things (IoT) and robotic process automation (RPA), which will take on a pivotal part in the enterprise ecosystem and consume additional bandwidth and network capability. These new-age network transformation technologies will also open the pandora box of increased cybersecurity attacks.

Through effective automation enabled network monitoring solutions, organizations can identify demand-supply gaps and vulnerability gaps at regular intervals, thereby getting continuous end-to-end performance visibility across their networks. It will give organizations much-needed speed and nimbleness to augment their value creation flows.

 

Sunit Vakharia : Enterprises are swiftly turning to automation and analytics to make smarter decisions

“In the current scenario, technology leaders will continue to evaluate infrastructure, applications, and security for supporting their employees, partners, and customers. Many technology spending priorities are being rationalized from the perspective of the new normal. Focus on digital transformation has been amplified, and enterprises are swiftly turning to automation and analytics to make smarter decisions,” said Sunit Vakharia, Chief Technology Officer, U GRO Capital in an earlier interaction with Better World (See: Sunit Vakharia, Chief Technology Officer, U GRO Capital).

Future scenario

The network monitoring market is witnessing a massive growth worldwide due to the sudden acceleration of digital transformation initiatives by many organizations. Players such as Accedian, Ixia, Juniper Networks, and LiveAction are among the top players ruling the market.

Chandresh Dedhia : Much focus will soon be on combining detection tools with machine-based cyber threat intelligence

Several industry reports project the market to grow at 12% year-on-year to reach over US $3bn by 2022. The decisive element that will ride the growth stays on business continuity and exceptional customer experience.

“Much focus will soon be on combining detection tools with machine-based cyber threat intelligence. Organizations will strengthen their capabilities to monitor behaviors and applications accessed by employees. Enterprises will continue to revisit their security policies and solutions to reduce risks to IT infrastructure. It is the need of the hour for businesses to consistently evaluate their readiness for supporting remote working as they scale up,” says Chandresh Dedhia, Head of Information Technology, Ascent Health.

The complex and rapidly evolving IT landscape will drive businesses to track network discrepancies and the unique workflow of their scattered workforce. They will be testing and building several network monitoring capabilities to ensure employees can perform their tasks effectively and meet rapidly changing customer expectations.

Anshuman Tiwari, Global Head of Delivery Excellence, DXC Technology

Anshuman Tiwari, Global Head of Delivery Excellence, DXC Technology

In Focus

Anshuman Tiwari

Global Head of Delivery Excellence
DXC Technology

A process-excellence lens could enable businesses to get better every day and come back faster in the game.

Globally, the last few months have been tough for most of the organizations and their employees. During the lockdown, people’s movements were limited by various governments, and many were confined to their homes. Even though the stay-at-home guidelines are no longer active, many people are still apprehensive about venturing out. Age-old habits and operating models are getting changed because of measures such as social distancing that are in place to contain the spread of the crisis.

Today, enterprises are faced with the task to navigate the business challenges in the wake of the crisis and stay put in the market marred with subdued economic sentiments.

Technology and business leaders are in search for the best ways to address issues such as sluggish customer demand, changing behavioral patterns of consumers, and raw material supply challenges.

One such way is to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies, amidst a rising focus on reimagining the business models and adopting a multi-pronged approach.

In a recent interaction with Jatinder Singh of Better World, Anshuman Tiwari, Global Head of Delivery Excellence, DXC Technology, elucidates the critical role of process excellence services in helping enterprises fast-track their digital transformation journey, improve customer experiences, and achieve better returns on investment.

Excerpts of the interview:

Better World: As economies try to get back to normal, many businesses are gasping for survival. In such a scenario, how critical is the role of process improvement to outsmart the uncertainty?

Anshuman Tiwari: Before we go into the criticality of process excellence for the industry, let’s take a step backward and examine how continuous improvement works out in our daily lives.  For over six months, we have been living with stay-at-home guidelines. Many habits and operating models have been transformed because of social distancing measures that are in place to contain the spread of the crisis. We call it the new normal where businesses are often functioning by enabling every part of their process digitally.

Despite disruption during the lockdown, most of us were able to receive essential services such as groceries, milk, and fruits, mainly because of a set of processes. There may have been delays or interruptions initially, but digital services helped us collaborate and get all the necessities delivered at our doorsteps. This success is a prime example of process refinement or process excellence. Processes are nothing but a set of activities repeated multiple times for an excellent outcome. So, the process techniques are essentially developed to operate better every week and every month, leveraging whatever opportunity we get from time to time.

Processes are integral to every industry and even more to an IT industry where most customers are global and have already been exposed to robust techniques. Moreover, in the IT industry, margins are always under pressure, and end-users want to get the same thing at a cheaper cost. However, one cannot compromise with quality to reduce the cost. It would be best to discover a way to operate efficiently to save costs. Process excellence techniques such as Lean, Six Sigma, and automation come handy to enable businesses to improve cash flows without impacting the customer experience.

The current economic environment has compelled organizations to revisit their business models and include the digitization aspect in every part of their business. Enhancing processes is a critical aspect of digital transformation. Due to slow market demand and wafer-thin margins, organizations require massive efforts to strengthen their operations, improve supply chains, and reach out to their customers in new ways.

There have been growing technological advances in helping enterprises automate specific parts of their operations. An in-depth process lens can enable businesses to get better every day. It allows companies to break down and analyze processes that can be automated to deliver the same or better quality at a lesser cost. For instance, process improvement techniques can help an organization to take the robotic process automation (RPA) route to accomplish the same job with fewer people.

Across industries, efforts are being made to eliminate inadequacies and deliver exceptional services to clients.

Better World: You mentioned that process excellence is a stepping stone to digital transformation. Could you please elaborate how these two are correlated?

Anshuman Tiwari: I would like to answer this question in two parts. First, digital transformation is a fancy name. Many organizations have already stopped using the word digital transformation because they feel that every organizational shift is in some or the other way connected with digital technologies. Digital transformation is all about bringing new and advanced technologies to help you perform better, faster, and more effectively. Second, it’s not a new concept; technological change is happening all the time. For instance, fifteen to twenty years ago, we were not ready for full-scale web conferencing. Most of the collaboration tools were still emerging or were primarily limited to text chat. Internet speed was limited. Today, we are getting high-quality education and medical consulting through various web meeting and conferencing tools.

Thus, you are bringing technologies to improve a process, which is resulting in rendering the earlier process primitive. The erstwhile snail mail or even telegram services, for example, may look archaic to various instant communication services such as WhatsApp.

Anshuman Tiwari

Global Head of Delivery Excellence, DXC Technology

Anshuman is a process transformation professional with experience across multiple industries, including banking, professional services, information technology, manufacturing, and consulting. He specializes in setting up and scaling world-class operations excellence programs. In the last few years, he has also managed large RPA and digital initiatives.

Before DXC Technology, he had worked for global multinationals such as EY, HSBC, and Infosys. He is also a fellow member of American Society for Quality (ASQ), formerly the American Society for Quality Control, a knowledge-based global community of quality professionals.

Besides work, Anshuman is a fitness fanatic and has participated in several marathons across India.

Top skills

  • Process improvement
  • Digital transformation initiatives
  • Six Sigma, Lean, automation, robotics process automation (RPA) and maturity frameworks
  • Agile project management

Education

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management (MBA) in Operations Management, K.J. Somaiya Institute Of Management Studies and Research
  • B.E. Industrial Engineering, Nagpur University

Now, let’s understand how a process or service excellence enables organizations to drive continuous change. It is imperative to know what we want to improve and why we wish to invest in making that improvement? Is it service delivery, resource optimization, customer experience, or all three? Any process enhancement may involve some investment or technology implementation. However, for any organization or entity, financial resources are limited. Process excellence teams help businesses determine the problem, suggest a solution, and showcase how the solution will help. Through process enhancement initiatives, organizations identify an opportunity and attain the final state of operational excellence through continuous improvement. This entire effort makes a process more effective and intelligent to deliver positive outcomes consistently, with minimal waste.

While there may be several ways to transform operations digitally, process testing can help accomplish which method is best and more suited to achieve a definitive outcome. Many transformation journeys end in suboptimal benefits, i.e., they don’t give the results they promise. That’s why you need a ‘method’ to transformation. Process excellence efforts give you a holistic outlook for your transformation efforts.

Better World: How do you engage with different business leaders for a service-excellence initiative? What are some of the best practices that you adhere to while proposing a given solution?

Anshuman Tiwari: There are two parts of the spectrum. On one end, nobody wants to improve. Some leaders wish for a status quo. They don’t desire to change or iterate a set of technological processes for getting satisfactory results. On the other extreme, some executives look to continuously change everything. Both approaches are detrimental.

If you don’t want to change and respond to the transitions happening around you, you will not grow or begin losing market share. Many erstwhile leaders failed because they did not respond to market needs or transformed their products and processes to improve their market positions. In the end, it resulted in their ruin.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are executives who wish to change everything all the time. It can be very costly and confusing for people. By the time people get to know about the new process, it would have already got changed. The probabilities are high that in such a condition, there will be a lot of unhappy employees and dissatisfied customers.

Then some people and executives who are in the middle of the spectrum. I believe that most of them are either in this category or are slowly moving toward it. There is a growing awareness around the worth of testing different processes that can impact the end customer. But it would be best if you demonstrate the inefficiency and merits of enhancing a process.

Let me give you an example. A few years ago, in an insurance process review meeting in Hong Kong, we discovered that one of our insurance-sector clients was taking one to two weeks in delivering an insurance policy. In that market, we found several other leading insurance players were taking a maximum of one week in issuing insurance policies. We examined their case and gave them an overview of how this delay could hamper their prospects. They were initially reluctant to accept, but when we explicated that their process was broken and had too much inefficiency compared to three other banks and insurance providers, they bought our idea and immediately sanctioned the process enhancement project.

So, even if your processes are working all right but failing to give you market competitive results, it’s time to evaluate. It may happen that your customers do not see it because of your past success or goodwill, but you should invest in it for long-term market advantage to scale down your error rates. Continuous improvement of a process improves not only the lives of employees but also customers. On top of that, organizations get the benefits of cost savings. You would not want to utilize the efficiency of your quality employees by giving them a task to reconcile and match data. This kind of job can be performed with the help of some software programs quite quickly.

So, in a nutshell, evaluating a process is critical to ensure that a company performs well. And all process-efficiency projects are either related to customer benefits or your people’s benefits or both.

Better World: Given the growing focus of enterprises on digital transformation, how do you see the year 2021 evolving from a process-excellence lens?

Anshuman Tiwari: Nobody knows for how long the current situation will last. The impact of the current crisis is likely to be felt for a long time, according to many experts. If there is any evidence, the last similar event (Spanish flu) occurred in 1918, which was more than a hundred years ago. It lasted for three to five years in different geographies. Of course, the situation is different in that the medical science has progressed and there are various forms of connectivity today. However, it is also true that there were no large cities back then, and population density was not that high. So, while there has been progress on some fronts, there also are counterbalancing factors that tend to neutralize those improvements. Today, we are transforming and changing fast due to this sudden disruption. Like every other practice, process excellence will also change. Priorities for large businesses will be very different for some time. Enterprises will look for rebuilding businesses. There will be a strategic focus on renewing processes in such a way that companies can come back faster.

While it is difficult to predict things, given the unprecedented nature of change, I believe there will be a reasonable investment in technologies such as RPA and internet of things (IoT). Customer centricity will continue to push organizations to innovate and develop new products and services. That’s where most of the processes will be built.

Organizations that follow a smart approach to transformation by leveraging their people, diverse processes, and technologies will be way ahead. Like any other area, process excellence will need to adapt to newer developments and focus on innovation so that as the opportunities arise, we can take advantage of those.

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