Startups need to leverage technology for internal processes - Mindtree's Parthasarathy NS
"I was talking to people outside and heard others speak, I realised that I really feel like a dinosaur here." joked Parthasarathy NS, COO and Executive Vice-Chairman, Mindtree, addressing the gathering at YourStory's Future of Work conference in Bengaluru.
Talking about the rapid pace at which technology changes work every few years, Parthasarathy noted that there are real challenges in running a technology company. He explained that five years ago, SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) was a popular buzzword and getting big, but now everyone was talking about digital.
Given the steady march of technology, Parthasarathy believes that five years from now, no one will talk digital. It will be a given when the next paradigm shift happens.
He made an interesting observation about how most companies are great at using technology to reach the outside world (mainly customers), but very few look within, and leverage technology well for internal processes.
Citing some interesting examples, Parthasarathy noted how even though companies have internal data and technological resources, they generally take longer than needed to share reports, or generally don't implement well.
Talking about leveraging internal data, he noted that as the Brexit was about to take place, he and some colleagues were trying to estimate the impact the fall of the pound sterling would have on the IT services sector, and on Mindtree itself. Even though they had the internal and outside data needed, Parthasarathy noted that generating such as report would take three to five days.
On leveraging technology better, Parthasarathy cited an example of an investor who had visited Mindtree's office and held their visitor's badge and noted,
Why do I need to wear this badge everytime I enter? Wouldn't it be great if technology could be used to personalise the experience. While signing in, it would be great if I was greeted with words like, "Hi, you are visiting Mindtree for the fourth time this year."
Parthasarathy believes that startups and companies should better leverage internal resources, and their technology chops to make lives of employees easier, and eliminate unnecessary tasks.
To ensure this philosophy is put into practice, Mindtree actually runs a programme called 'Digital Inside'. Elaborating about this, Parthasarathy said they had multiple methodologies put into practice -
1.Nobody should be generating reports
Parthasarthy noted there are a lot of people in organisations whose sole role is to generate reports. He believes technology should be used to eliminate this, and let people focus on more high-value jobs.
2. Information should be available on demand
Parathsarthy joked that Excel had killed the industry because people loved Excel so much that they created these reports and converted them into PDFs to share with the team. But, in most cases, by the time the report was ready, they would be outdated to an extent.
Parthsarthy believes technology should be levereaged and automated to provide information on an almost real-time basis.
3. Give leaders ability to do 'scenario planning?'
Parathsarthy believes decision makers should be given the tools and resources to do scenario planning and 'What if analysis'. He explained,
If currency falls by 10 percent what happens, if I take a deal at a lower margin, what happens. These kind of things are generally floated back to people who work on these excel sheets. We need to empower decision makers to do this online, on their own and in real time.
4. Build apps on top of everything
Once a company has all data and information available, it should be able to build apps on top of everything. He said,
Why can't we have an 'Uberisation' of staffing? Why can't you match people with requirements using an app? All of these technologies exist today, we just need to implement them internally.