Saturday, May 2, 2009

Business Transformation (Part III) : Simplicty works ? - An Interview with RND

Ranendra Narayan Dutta , is known for his simplicity .He also made simplicity, the mission statement of his company – Nature Technologies Pvt Ltd . But does simplicity helps to handle recession better . Straight talk with the CEO of Nature Technologies Pvt Ltd who is known also for his evangelist skills.

Joydip: You have been some time in Industry now . Worked as a techie and then in the middle level management of a Software Company . Then you have started your own venture . So this is the second time , you are seeing a tough recession continuing for a long duration after dot com burst . How do you find it different then the earlier one ?

R.N.D : Joydip, I have seen the recessions come; Upset every equation; Have analysts predict everything that makes sense; Yet be wrong time and again; Finally the Sine wave from Physics dominates Economics. From crest to trough to crest; the surge continues. I believe recessions come to be over some day and rejuvenate business with new caution. These are to be forgotten till the next recession knocks the door again.

My perspective of the recessions has always been in respect to Information Technology market, apart from my amateurish interest in Capital Market movement world-over.

I believe recessions are the stabilizing factor to erase out the non-sustainable elements of the market. They are for good. Last time during the Dot Com Boom, the phenomenon was not at all sustainable. That’s why it crashed with a boom. From the perspective of Information Technology the recession was targeted at the not so GREAT IT market. Finally the market corrected itself. So the wrath of the recession was mainly on IT sectors in Dot Coms and Y2K. The weak but hyped organizations perished. The organizations that made sense prevailed to GROW big. In my opinion the Dot Com burst was a blessing for the people who use IT and who invest in IT. Being realistic is important after all.

This recession of the current time is actually an aftermath of the Dot Com crash. People started investing on housing assets and prices rose to a level that was again UNREALISTIC. Now real estate drove things to sky high in the capital market. Information Technology has a limited share of its wrongs this time. But obviously since we are all in the IT services sector which is a tertiary sector, we get hit no matter what goes wrong in the financial market.

Last time , when we had the Dot Com burst and recession, I was a techie and saw the desperation of my employer, Mindteck India to stay alive. They survived and that too with a BIG BANG. We moved to Embedded Technologies from Enterprise Computing. My previous company where I joined as a trainee and grew to be in the managerial position catapulted itself to a great position, due to its paradigm shift. It was tough, but those who dare to face the recession make it BIG. Mindteck is now doing GREAT now days. Thanks to Mr. Shankar Velayudhan, the General Manager then.

This time when the recessions hit hard I am in the chair as a CEO managing, a 2 years old company, Nature Technologies, dealing in End-to-End Information Technology solutions for my customers in US and Europe. Things have been tough, but I had been brave this time. We did intelligent marketing, made pricing REALISTIC, approached the sectors that don’t suffer from recessions like Legal and Healthcare. We are doing well. We are expecting a growth in revenue of around 100% this year. Nature Technologies became even SIMPLER with the recessions storming the markets.

This time, I feel that the people who have money to invest and keep the markets rolling are skeptical but are willing to make investments in small chunks in Technology that minimizes their risks of seeing all their money gone in a fast time. Technology solutions with prototypes, marketing campaigns, small pluggable releases and payments are the call of this recession. We are offering the best price so that people can afford to dip their toes in the water.

Answering your question in a sentence; Joydip, I see this recession as a friendly recession for Techno savvy companies and realistic business. Because investors are no longer interested in UNREAL HYPE.

Joydip: You talk a lot about simplicity ? What do you mean by it? Can it be really practiced when the World is becoming so complex , specially on the time of recession , when the complexity reaches in its heightening discourses.

R.N.D :What sustains at the end is “SIMPLICITY”. Did Google disappear after the Dot Com bubble? No! Isn’t it? Google had a simple approach to business. It had its message UNAMBIGUOUS. “SEARCH THROUGH US”.

Simplicity is actually the strongest trait of HUMAN THOUGHT PROCESS. You love your teacher who taught you in simple terms. You love a website that is easy to use. You love the remote of your TV if it’s easy to use. You prefer a normal cell phone over a Smart Phone because it is simple. Isn’t it?

We are surviving this recession with Simplicity. I need to convince my customers precisely how they benefit. Use simple methods through technology. Minimize costs to simply make profits. We worked on our marketing strategy to make it easy for a business house to assess how we improve their ROI. We made our proposals short and simple. No hidden costs and conditions. People take the shortest time to accept us as a service provider. And that works great for us.

Nature Technologies is being driven by Simplicity and it gives us the speed to act upon and deliver.

I should say that whatever sustains is SIMPLE. Because if something is not sustainable you need to project it in the most complex way, to get the thing to the table and sell it. Ultimately the customers find out that its not what you meant and you are gone. So if something is needed the most now a days, then its SIMPLICITY.

Joydip: Do you see this recession is going to break the glass ceiling for the lower class to become entrepreneur ? There are more cases of slum millionaires will come forward, when corporate giants will fail ? As a Corporate evalengist, where
do you see the world in next 5 years ?

R.N.D :As I said before, the recessions are like a wave that cleanses the market and the competition. Generally as the Corporates grow, they tend to move away from practicality, to aggression based on individual’s dreams and aspirations. Most of the time than not, a corporate’s goal is not realistic. Often the big corporations forget who is the market. They tend to believe that they can change the market, people’s perceptions and the demands. Based on these insights a lot of money is spent, people are tried to be dominated into believing what is best for them, and in short term this seems to be doing good. But after sometimes this concept perishes and the UNREALISTIC dreams and offerings fall to the ground.

On the other hand the slum dogs are more PRACTICAL. They have learned to survive the hard way. Their prowess is limited to their own dreams. They go by the way a PRACTICAL customer thinks, and they get their support. So I should say, yes this recession will break the myth of the complacent jobs that one has with a multi national. It will break the myth that only the big survive. Customers are now looking for what MAKES SENSE. They don’t want big buzz words, bug promises and spend unnecessarily. They need performers and those who do it SIMPLE. Because Simplicity is EASY, LESS COSTLY and FAST!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Business Transformation : Technology Outsourcing route

Technology outsourcing is the best optimization of cost, for an organization. Definitely, on the cost front outsourcing had a major advantage . However , same could be mentioned on the strategic front too . The client company could concentrate on doing what it does best , and leave the rest to the vendor companies . This strategic advantage can be termed as Core Competency going with C.K Pralahad's definition . However , 2500 years back a spiritual leader had also commented on it . Though, his coinages where different , Sri Krishna talked about the same concept of 'Core competency' in his coinage of 'Swadharma" .

In his advises to Arjuna , he mentioned about 'Swadharma' and why one should always stick to his 'swadharma' . Though thid term could be used in Organisational context , it was originally meant for individual usage . However,the stretching still brings a new perspective , that as there is individual swadharma , there should be an organizational swadharma too . It could be referred as the soul of organization and what meant to do .

If an organization , finds its core competency and concentrates then it actually does something very different , even if it is doing the same old thing . Some way the organization attunes with that Organizational soul . This itself is an transforming experience as it makes the organization aligned to an higher direction , without conscious intervention . In that point , it was very important for the company , to move out from the chores, where it did not have such kind of core competency .

Technology outsourcing plays a key role here, and gives the Company the important tool of functioning, in the sphere of the core competency. Needless to say it creates a huge impact on the Corporate spending . I am reminded my favourite wisdom quote that Milton Friedman conveyed in his "four ways to spend money" in an interview with Fox News:

"There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income."

Spending the organization money on somebody else , is where the organization always tries to get best out of the money . That is the inner philosophy , which made outsourcing such a successful practice, and transforming experience for Business.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Business Transformation (Part 1) Recession is an opportunity to transformation ?

There are times when, when taking a 'Business Transformation' project is much easier . Rest of the time , initiating a Business transformation project, which involve complete overhauling of the entire system , companies has to build a collective consensus . Convincing multiple stakeholders, for a business transformation project , is in itself a complicated process . However , recession in the market makes it more easier to take such an project , as the stakeholders of the organisation , finds no option other than that.

Infact , there are Organizational recession and there are Market Recession , both of them often, trigger business transformation project. In the times of recession ,the common sense advise comes from everybody is cutting cost, and keeping a constant eye on bottom-line . However you find less people going beyond that , and trying to explain , what it really takes to transform the bottom-line pressure, into an opportunity.

Infact to get an understanding on how to turn it into opportunity, we have to understand the cost control remedies much deeply. There are three ways of cutting cost in a standard recession situation

1) The Accounting way : This is the way , which is practiced conventionally and which works inside the layers of operation, and tries to control the buying and selling acts of items inside a process, to control the cost.

2) The Technology way : This is the way , which is practiced with the innovative companies in the process layer, which tries to apply technology on certain organizational process, in order to make it cheaper, faster and better.

3) The Transformational Way : This is the way , which is practiced in overall organization, involving strategic change , change of people , process and operation. Here the change doesn’t remain restricted to certain compartments . It gets extended as an integrated organizational change. In the transformational way , the technology , accounting , strategy changes and overall integration of those changes make people also change , who are the change agents.

The first two ways , there is less emphasis on people . But in the transformational way, people has an extensive focus as they are the real change agents . The change of strategy ,process and operation happen only when people changes .

(To be continued ….)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Transformation blog gets the Blog of the Day Awards

I take this opportunity to thank the readers and followers of the blog for there support. With your best wishes the blog has got the 'Blogger of the day' award.

Thank you very much.

The blog has also got nominated for the "Best Business Blog" in the Year 2009.

Please vote for Transformation blog using the following link.

Thank you again.

@Evolution of Web: Part V: Story of an entreprenuer

If you fail to plan then you plan to fail .

My Interview with

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

@ Evolution of web IV: Towards Perfect Search Engine

"The perfect search engine," says Google co-founder Larry Page, "would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want."

How far we are from a perfect search engine ?

Well , Google has a find a short route in the Journey towards perfect Search Engine .The top search always shows Wikipedia result, on most of the keywords . Wikipedia atleast gives some authentic information, what we want to search . But,there are so many keywords , for which there is no information, available in Wikipedia .

Though there is no better way then Google, for searching, in the world right now . We are still too far from the ideal of perfect search engine, described by Larry Page.

Web 2.0 has helped to put a new dimension in the web . A dimension which is different then static pages and dynamic pages . It is the people dimension . With Web 2.0 we can search people, we can find people .

Ahead of that, Semantic web, which is Web 3.0, promises to get us closer towards the perfect search engine .

Only time can tell , whether that promise will be met or not ?

Monday, April 27, 2009

@ Evolution of web III: Entrepreneurial Perspectives : Anthony Mitchell's Journey

Anthony as a Columnist, Writer, Web Entrepreneur, founder of, stands apart for his remarkable cutting edge insight on number of issues. Straight talk with the CEO of International on his Journey with Web.

Joydip:, Tell me something about yourself, how you started your journey in the web as a columnist, writer and entrepreneur? And how you evolved as the web evolved?


In graduate school at Rutgers University, in a class on complex decision making, Professor Jon Van Til divided the students up into groups. One of the members of my group was older and always appeared highly stressed. He kept mentioning responsibilities outside of class. In the class exercises, he insisted that his approaches to complex issues were correct. He directed the work of a small state government agency. I always deferred.

Once the answers were announced, it turned out that my approaches to problem solving were the ones the professor had been seeking. Seeing that I could solve problems without being aggressive, this older student hired me to work for him.

The first projects that I was assigned to work on involved managing outsourcing projects, largely turnkey database projects with a vendor unit headed by two guys who had graduated from IIT Chennai. They always completed their work properly and on time. Sometimes, late on a Friday night, I would fax questions or comments to them. They would immediately revert back with the answers.

“These guys are great,” I kept saying, “they work like I do—all the time.”

I kept telling my friends at other government agencies about this vendor team and how great they were. My friends replied with tales of their own—about how they could never have their own in-house IT people complete projects quickly, cheaply or properly.

“Why don’t you let me manage your IT projects with these Indian vendors,” I offered. That’s how it started. Other agencies would forward funds to the agency where I worked and I would structure and manage the projects.

Everything went well until I became too proactive in arranging work for my favorite vendors. I helped them win research contracts that had originally been put together for the purpose of funneling work to vendors preferred by the project initiators who hoped to go work for those vendors at a later date. I came to work one day and found that my position had been eliminated.

I left government and set up an independent consultancy practice, but the two guys from Chennai kept calling and asking me to work with them. At first I said no. They founded their own engineering company and embarked on some exciting project work, then I agreed to join them. Over the next two and a half years, I gained experience working on the vendor-side of outsourcing projects, writing proposals, bid documents and helping to manage the creation and hand-over of deliverables. I was the only American-born person in their company.

The weakness of this new venture was sales. After two and a half years, new business stopped coming in and I left to resume independent consulting. But the younger of the two guys kept calling me on the phone, asking me to work with him. In 1995 we went to India together and then to Brazil and Venezuela the following year. In 1997 he arranged for me to move to Chennai, India, with some additional project work to be done in Malaysia. I found a software project that allowed me to shift to Kolkata in 1998.

Returning to the U.S. at the end of that year, I helped launch an online document management company, which I left in July, 1999 to become more involved in the creation of new IT products and services. After working on a legal-process-outsourcing (LPO) startup and doing some utility tariff consulting, I launched on September 10, 2001 (the day before 911).

In 2001, there were only six commercial call center providers in India and American clients had not learned how to manage outsourcing projects for themselves. The outsourcing field has undergone profound changes since then, with clients no longer needing the types of external project-management services that provides. As of May, 2009, I have only worked on one major call center outsourcing project in 2009.

Most of the call center projects that I have worked on have been small. They were placed at outsourcing facilities where they would take up less than half (usually about 20-25%) of a facility’s total capacity. These facilities have the advantage of being cheaper, but they also require training and consulting assistance to enable them to meet client expectations. This pulled me into consulting work.

Most of the call center outsourcing projects that I worked on paid on the basis of performance. Even when facilities meet all performance requirements, they can be reluctant to pay for brokerage and consulting services. The court systems in India are slow, I’m based in the U.S. and cost recovery is often impractical at best. Without the financial results I was expecting, I looked for other types of rewards that could lead to more challenging types of work.

In any organization, if you can communicate clearly, you can become the most valuable person on a team. At university, I studied for a journalism certificate, which is an occupation-oriented equivalent of a minor in English.

In 2004, I began writing editorials and commentaries about some of the unethical practices that were widespread in the outsourcing field at that time. None of the press outlets published what I sent them, perhaps because I was too strident and opinionated. Finally, one publisher suggested that I submit additional materials for publication, without payment.

The discipline of writing for publication did not immediately translate into an improved writing style. But over time, by paying attention to what contributes to effective communicators, my writing improved.

Two things that helped have been to study the Associated Press Stylebook and to write articles about how to communicate. Writing a primer on business rhetoric was helpful because it provided the opportunity to revisit the subject, which I had studied in the past but had not successfully applied since then. The primer now occupies the top search result on Google for ‘business rhetoric.’

Both my parents were scholars who produced a plethora of original, empirically based work. In one evening, I can pound out a short article with little or no empirical basis, publish it on the Internet, and have it reach more readers than my parents’ entire lifetime output. Some of what I write is OK, but in comparison to my parents I don’t measure up. When I travel, it is common for everyone I meet professionally to recognize me (from the photographs that accompany my articles). But I do not feel that I’m a success.

The first piece that received much attention was never published. It was a rapid-self-assessment technique for call centers to document their equipment, capabilities and management structure for potential clients. Appearing at the end of 2001, it provided a template for facilities to communicate with potential clients as they bid for work. The self-assessment technique is called a table of organization and equipment or TOE. It went viral in 2002.

The first significant empirical research that I published was in 2004 and began with a catalog of prices charged for different types of outsourcing work in different Asian countries. The price data was used to identify the variables that determined price differentials at different types of facilities.

Outsourcing is dependent on the availability of skilled labor at competitive wage rates. The centrality of labor markets for outsourcing clients and service providers was not reflected in the methodologies in use for labor market analysis. After working with pharmaceutical companies and assisting them in evaluating options for offshoring to India, I developed the first major new labor market analysis method that I know of that has been published in English in over 30 years.

The other didactic works that I’ve produced have applied techniques from structural linguistics to examine offshoring practices and in 2009 to forecast new service-provisioning systems for telecommunications companies. Structural linguistics lends itself to the telecommunications industry because it reduces complex structures to their most basic elements and then analyzes the relationships between those elements. Whereas modern linguistics often appears to make simple concepts appear complex, the goal of a good writer should be to dispense with complexity in favor of practicality.

Joydip: Talking about your company,,
you say that you bring U.S. service standards offshore, rather
than adapting Americans to offshore standards, what do you
mean by that?


Americans have particular standards about customer service and dialectical (conversational) structures. We are not always very good at maths, but we often enjoy reading numbers—or brief statistical summaries of performance results.

In other countries, approaches to customer service have developed in response to technological conditions and incumbent communication patterns. In India, for example, terrestrial telephone systems have a habit of dropping calls. Call completion rates are correspondingly low. So Indian call centers were not initially concerned with inbound call completion rates. It was assumed that callers would simply keep calling back. Call-drop metrics were rarely collected in India before 2002. System design and component placement encouraged dropped calls, especially during peak calling times.

The outsourcing revolution has spread Western standards of metrics-intensive program management to countries that have served as outsourcing destinations for U.S. clients. Now in India, call centers and other outsourcers are often more focused on metrics than their clients.

Joydip: ‘Web enabled outsourcing. Global financial crisis is
disabling it?” What is the future of outsourcing in Post Crisis


The future of outsourcing is more opaque now than one year ago, thanks to currency fluctuations, a growing domestic market in India, and learnings from social media.

Currency changes have driven Indian companies to establish operations in many other countries, both to serve Western clients and local markets in those other countries.

The domestic market in India is making it profitable to focus inward. Having domestic service offerings allows customer service operations to select agents that are particularly suited to work with customers outside India. An exclusive focus on domestic clients avoids the costs and legal barriers to entering Western markets.

Social media is teaching us about the importance of constant communication. When a software or customer service operation is outsourced, that operation no longer contributes to the exchange of information that enables organizations to adapt and survive.

Service providers and clients will need to learn how to keep information flowing during outsourcing, so that all parts of an operation can continue to provide maximum value to an organization’s whole. Otherwise, clients may decide that it makes sense to pull an operation back inside.

There will always be a need for turnkey projects, but the future of outsourcing at the scale we know it today is in doubt.

A decade from now, software development and maintenance will have moved into the cloud. It will have become commoditized and widgetized to the point where large software development projects will become rarer than they are today.

Voice recognition technologies will reduce the need for call center services. Distributed work models, with more work-at-home providers, will become more popular throughout the globe.

General merchant operations will become increasingly rare, with outsourcing becoming more domains intensive. For example, a financial services outsourcing company may operate a call center but continue to think of itself as a financial services company rather than call center operator.

The companies and individuals who will do best are those who are not afraid to constantly reinvest time and energy in training and new knowledge acquisition. We can expect to see the rate of change increasing dramatically over the next ten years. Two types of people and organizations will emerge:

1. Those on the leading edge of change.
2. Those struggling to keep up.

You can decide which type of person to become. We all can.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

@ Evolution of Web II : Transforming Business plans

There was a increasing number of Business plans , I have been creating in last few months, on healthcare sector . Earlier , I also consulted in a long term project in Healthcare segment, in building a telemedicine gateway for Cancer patients. The project was sponsored by WHO and NCCP .

Later in this year ,I worked on the intial process, of building a Branded Fertility institute . Moving ahead ,I am having discussion now, on a new Healthcare (phlebotomy) Education project which could have proper training mechanism with Government accredation.

While writing for this projects and having elaborated discussion on the Business plans , I am seeing a sea change in the attitude how the Healthcare is looked upon these days . As a young man, when I started working as a consultant on building IT solutions , in one of the largest Regional Cancer Centre . I was taken back , by there reluctant attitude to adopt technology . Though the project continued for a long time , nearly about 4 years , the progress on the project was very slow . That is the reason the vision by which the project started, was largely left out, when it has to move through the staggering process .

Looking at the present projects , I am working in healthcare segment which are leaded by entrepreneurs, I am awe stuck by the kind of speed and professionalism the entrepreneur brings in, vis-à-vis the largest institutes of healthcare provider which I have worked on .

Sometimes being small is a blessing , as it gives you freedom , efficiency and creativity. That is the lesson ,I am taking home from working with the biggest names of the state owned healthcare industry, and also with bunch of entrepreneurs trying to change the face of healthcare.

I think ,web is playing a great role here . The Initial project, which I worked earlier , was suppose to be completely web based . Yet the adoption of technology was low.That is the reason, there was kind of lack of connectivity, which is typical to a state owned institute .

Earlier, healthcare was a segment, which is crucial and there was lack of private investment on that segment . This is also due to the fact, there was a kind of disconnectedness prevailing on the segment . However web , changed the rules of games . Starting from information ,to real care and education, all of them have become efficient due to the technological intervention .This is ideal way, we are going to reach the vision of Bill Gates, which he described on his book – Business @speed of thought, that “No healthcare can be in a island” .