Consulting – A practitioner’s perspective – Mr. Mohan Kancharla

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Mr. Mohan Kancharla, started his lecture with consultant’s dilemma about what customers want.  He described consultant as a professional who provides advice in a particular domain or area of expertise. Consulting is advisory service aimed at leading transformation and creation of value for customers in the context of their business environment. In consulting, needs of Client, Consultant and Customer should be understood and maintained. The consulting process is a three-legged stool, must always be in balance. Consulting is challenging the assumptions. He advised “You will always be suspect, if you have all the answers, you will always be powerful by having the right questions. The bottom line of consulting is having no answer unquestioned”.

He talked about consulting space which has Level of organisation maturity, individual competency as X axis and complexity of consulting offering engagement execution as Y axis. He then mapped types of consulting like IT consulting, Operation consulting, Functional Consulting, Strategy Consulting and Business Consulting in this space.

He differentiated consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG as strategy consulting, Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, IBM, E&Y, Accenture as business consulting and TCS, CTS, Infosys as Technology consulting. He also described consulting as a cyclic process with the steps of understanding context, asses current state, define target state, analyse gap, evaluate solution option and finally recommendation and report.

He talked about different consulting segments. IT Strategy Consulting is defining the road map for IT, that is aligned to business elaborating upon the direction for the organisation, architecture, infrastructure. IT Architectural Consulting is defining the business architecture and deriving the application, information and technology architecture that are modular as well as coupled.IT Portfolio Consulting is the rationalisation of application, consolidation of infrastructure and optimisation of investments targeted towards operation excellence. IT Process Consulting is providing direction for the process to achieve IT service improvement and business objectives.IT Governance Consulting is defining the governance structure mechanisms processes and measures that would best enable IT to support the business. IT Infrastructure Consulting is optimising the utilisation infrastructure ecosystem, compromising of data-centre, service management plus investments. IT Outsourcing Consulting is evaluating the right selection of a model or location or vendor for outsourcing. IT Transformation Consulting is enabling the enterprise to realise its vision through implementation of strategic direction provided for consulting segment.

He concluded his lecture describing different consulting competencies, consulting skills, consulting sales, consulting proposals, consulting teams, consulting delivery, consulting presentation, consulting report, consulting measures and consulting career.

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“What does it take to win IT and Engineering Outsourcing Business?” – Mr. Rajan Bedi, Head Presales, HiTech and Communications Engineering Services at HCL Technologies

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An interactive session by Mr. Rajan Bedi, Head Presales, HiTech and Communications Engineering Services at HCL Technologies began with him talking about a case study and how fortune 500 companies are structured Globally and What it takes for such a company to turnaround and be profitable using classical business and IT Levers including outsourcing.

He involved the students in a role play by giving various CXO designations to them and gave them a mandate to turnaround a company. This helped the students relate to how a new CEO would have to turnaround a company and the various stages involved, right from a board meeting to hiring a consultant, Business Case Creation and the Journey of selecting an outsourcing service provider.

Mr. Rajan then highlighted how external consultants create, analyze a business case and suggest cost reductions. He then spoke about some of the processes in IT outsourcing sales and presales which involve account mapping, RFP Response, proposal defense, client visit, Deal closure cross-selling and relationship building with clients.

The role play based case study helped the audience to understand the above and actively participate and think through on what it takes to win IT and Engineering Outsourcing Business.

He concluded by speaking about how new trends in IT and Engineering Industry like IoT is contributing to the asset value chain and the four segments that IoT is going to have the highest impact on are manufacturing, healthcare, utilities and logistics.

Consulting – Overview and Problem Definition by Mr. Girish Shetty, Director, Consulting-Healthcare, Cognizant Business Consulting

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Consulting is one of the most sought after professions these days, which is growing in popularity not only among the seasoned industry professionals, but even among the fresh B-School graduates.

TAPMI, on the 31st of July, 2014 organised a Guest Lecture by Mr. Girish Shetty, the Director of Consulting -Healthcare at Cognizant Business Consulting, intended at giving the bright young TAPMI students an overview of the consulting world – what it involves and what it requires. The GL was delivered via video conference.

Mr. Girish Shetty is an MBA graduate from the University of Louisville, specializing in Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations. A seasoned professional with extensive experience as a consultant in the Healthcare domain, he had a lot to share with the students.

Mr. Shetty started off by giving an account of the evolution of consulting. Today, consulting has shifted from a pure advisory role to an implementation role i.e. the consultant’s role does not end with just giving the solution, the solution needs to be implemented as well. Another interesting aspect is the integration of consulting with technology and outsourcing in the modern world. Also, today, consultants are expected to be partners in innovation i.e. they are expected to be abreast of the latest technologies (for example – analytics, cloud computing, and mobility), so that they can help the client leverage these effectively. The final point in this regard was about the rise of asset based consulting, which is a departure from the traditional knowledge based consulting.

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Mr. Shetty now delved upon some of the traits of a consultant. He emphasized that a consultant is a professional, a problem solver, has superb communication skills and is a consensus builder. The consultant is a high energy individual who has the ability to deal with ambiguity and moving targets. He also stressed upon the importance of relationships and networking for a consultant.

According to Mr. Shetty, there are four types of consulting, broadly. Strategy consulting, which deals with top line and long term issues; Strategy/Operations consulting, which deals with cost cutting and the bottom line; Domain/Functional consulting, which deals with specific functions or domains and Technology consulting, which specifically focuses on the latest technological advancements.

At this juncture, he also pointed out that consultants are hired by people at various organisational levels for different purposes. For example, a CEO would hire a consultant for help with transforming the business or coming up with a new Business Model or paradigm. A functional Vice President on the other hand would hire a consultant to say, increase the efficiency of the functional business processes.

Mr. Shetty now ventured to briefly explain the consulting process, which he divided into two sub-processes, the selling process and the engagement execution process. The former deals with the selling aspect: identifying a problem, getting a Request for Proposal (RFP) and arriving at a proposal that the client approves. The latter deals with consulting engagement and solution hand over. Mr. Shetty also explained the consulting life cycle. A key point according to him is the importance of keeping a back-up plan. “Never have only one solution” is what he said to the TAPMIans. He also highlighted the importance of creating an implementation roadmap.

Mr. Shetty now talked about Problem Identification. According to him, there are five dimensions to keep in mind in this stage: Substance or identity, organisation or physical location (where is the effect of the problem), problem ownership (whose problem), absolute and relative ownership and the time perspective. He also spent some time on explaining the typical pitfalls in problem identification, an example being the tendency to confuse the symptoms with the problem, or the tendency to jump to conclusions in this stage.

The session concluded with an elaborate Q and A session. Mr. Shetty answered all of the many questions posed by the students with real life examples from his own experience. When asked about what is the biggest challenge for consultancy companies in the Healthcare domain, he replied that the main issue is concerns about data privacy. Unlike traditional sectors, in healthcare, some of the data is personal information about patients which has privacy issues. Another aspect he highlighted was the interplay between cost cutting and patients. Here, cost cutting has to be done after a lot of thought as patients’ lives are involved. He also talked about the role of analytics in Healthcare at this point.

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Mr. Shetty, in response to a question on career paths in consultancy also explained the progression from analyst to consultant to manager (consulting) to principal to partner: what are the roles and responsibilities at each of these levels.

Mr. Shetty concluded the lecture to rousing applause from the TAPMI students.

Guest Lecture Session on Analytics by Mr. Vijay Nagasubramanian, Head – Customer Experience and Mr Charan Nagaraj, Manager, Global Web Quality Assurance and Analytics, HP India

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On 24th July 2014, Tapmi students had the privilege of attending a guest lecture by Mr. Vijay Nagasubramanian, Head – Customer Experience and Mr Charan Nagaraj, Manager, Global Web Quality Assurance and Analytics, HP India.

The session was aimed at discussing the importance of Analytics and why analytics is not big data. The guests talked at length about how data analytics has changed rapidly in the past few years. The guests started the discussion with a brief introduction about Brontobytes and the dramatically accelerating pace of data generation.

Talking about Analytics, guests cited example of some big organizations dealing with large amounts of data. For analyzing big data, businesses usually require a lot of experimentation before developing durable insights. Google came up with Gmail since they wanted to capture big data. They came up with a solution on how future generation is going to communicate. Innovations in data analysis technologies have made it possible to analyse data to a large extent. Google also came up with several data analysis services which enabled business analytics for today’s fast changing business environment.

The session continued with further discussion on facebook’s method of data generation. Facebook utilised the power of social media to gather big data. With the boom of social media in recent years, they could track and capture information about people sitting in different corners of the world and in different geographies. Google countered this by coming up with Google Earth but they could not succeed in capturing the amount of data they needed. This led to Google purchasing YouTube. At one point of time YouTube became one of the fastest growing sites on internet and acquired as much bandwidth as the entire internet.

The discussion went further on how difficult it is to manage the VUCA world. The world has become so Volatile, uncertain, chaotic and Ambiguous. There are multiple forces, issues, chaos and confusion that surround an organization. We are unclear not just about the present situation but also of the future outcome. Thus, the world with VUCA has become more stressful, there is more data to Comprehend, with less control on outcomes. This has exposed us to some base realities. Today, the buyer determines the value of a product which is always relative and shifting. Thus Entrepreneurs are coming up with solutions that offer new dimensions of value. They are collaborating with their competitors because in VUCA world it’s not just about having the competencies to lead, but it is about how to develop yourself and others.

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The guests concluded the session by talking about the pitfalls of Analytics. Lack of analysis, unclear definition of goals and metrics, getting overwhelmed with too much data and inability to draw valuable insight from that data are some major challenges in Analytics. To overcome them, it is very important to come up with clear objectives and goals and standardize your key performance indicators. Also it has become important to invest in comprehensive insights, to make meaning out of such big data.

The session proved very insightful for the students, especially for aspiring analysts since big data is the next frontier for Innovation, competition and productivity. The session came to an end with the Placement Committee of TAPMI sharing the vote of thanks and presenting the guest speakers with mementos on behalf of the TAPMI family.

Insights into the ITES BPO Industry – A talk by Mr. Anil Joseph from Sutherland Global Services

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On Tuesday, 22nd July, TAPMI proudly played host to Mr. Anil Joseph, Vice President and Head of Service Delivery – Insurance at Sutherland Global Services. With a diverse experience across sectors like Financial Services, Hospitality and Concept Sales, over 19 years, Mr Joseph has indeed accomplished a great deal in a relatively short span. He was here to give the students an overview in general about what Sutherland does and in particular talk about careers in the ITES BPO Sector.  

The session kicked off with Mr. Joseph sharing the story of his own entrepreneurial venture started by him at the age of twenty three that offered the services to a large customer base in the city, which later has emerged in similar concepts like “Ask Me” and “Just Dial”. Although the venture did take off for three years, he had to wind it up for lack of scope and expansion possibilities in the location. Mr. Joseph used the reference to stress the importance of pursuing ones passion.

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Talking about Sutherland as a company, Mr. Joseph spoke about the different services offered by Sutherland namely – front office, back office and the knowledge services. The current strategy of Sutherland is pursuant on a transition from contact center services to a truly integrated BPO, essentially meaning that it would strive for non-linear growth – one where the firm does not merely grow proportionately the number of people but rather by building assets in technology, platforms and tools that generate revenues. Mr. Joseph also spoke about how the choices of office locations of Sutherland across the globe, was more due to the client preference than any other reason. While referring to the newly added Bangalore location, he mentioned the underlying reason being the acquisition of a business line managed by an existing client and the desire to retain the knowledge and experience of people working in it. He also walked the students through the various employee-benefits and employee connect programmes offered to the employees at Sutherland Global.

Stressing on the importance of adaptability – especially at the post B School stage, Mr. Joseph emphasized the importance of accepting change the way it comes. He encouraged the students to go the extra mile and communicate with the right people during the initial years in the industry and reap the benefits as they progress in their professional lives. As Mr. Joseph offered a peek in to the ITES/BPO profession, the audience were able to get a clear picture dispelling quite a few misconceptions built in their minds so far. Towards the end, Mr. Joseph entertained numerous questions from the audience who were curious about various aspects of the ITES BPO industry and in particular about the culture and processes at Sutherland Global.

Overall, it was an excellent opportunity for the students to obtain an overview of the business and operations of Sutherland Global Services and gain insights into careers in the ITES BPO industry.

Guest Lecture and Student Interaction session with Mr V Raja, President And MD, TE Connectivity

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The CXO Leadership Lecture Series was one of the foremost events of the academic year 2014-2015 at TAPMI and was also the most awaited. Even before the event took off, the students were lucky to get to interact with Mr. V Raja, President and Managing Director at TE Connectivity, who was here for the inauguration of the lecture series.

Mr. Raja briefed the students about his experience of about 35 years in diverse industries- leather, F&B, Healthcare, Automotive tires and a few others, which he summarized as the 3B’s- Batteries, Bulbs and Blades.

The lecture started with Mr Raja telling us about himself in term of his background and then with keeping the floor open for questions to increase the interaction. At every step he mentioned how he didn’t have a great or a glamorous story as he believes that the only way to success is ‘Hard work’ but with each sentence he spoke, he continues to inspire students more and more.

The talk ranged from ethical practices at work place to knowing your industry better. At workplaces people often keep to their work roles and neglect the very product or service they are working for. Mr. Raja called it the brinjal syndrome, “If you don’t like brinjal, even if you are hungry you won’t relish it” he insisted on creating an appetite for brinjal (the least popular work) one can do complete justice to his growth and learning and in return to his job. Mr Raja’s Brinjal was ‘Audit’ and he faced it and since he could so can the rest.

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A fact well known to all but realized by few is that the only factor that gets one ahead from the rest is hard work. We often become complacent at our work places and become complacent. We curb our growth and our learning, in turn making way for others to get ahead while we sit and watch. This depth of the fact was rightly understood after the interactive session. The students were truly inspired when Mr. Raja could also do the pricing for his leather shoes even today after his stint in the leather industry years ago- that was the level of detail he went into for his job.

The session was very insightful as the students could feel the very energy in the tonality and content of the conversation. It might sound clichéd but truly Mr Raja did instil in the students a desire to get ahead, a desire to push themselves to always give their best and a need to never compromise on quality and service.

Inauguration of the TAPMI CXO Leadership Lecture Series by Mr Veera Raja, President and Managing Director of TE Connectivity India

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18th July 2014 saw the Inauguration ceremony of the TAPMI CXO Leadership Lecture Series. This ceremony was honoured by the presence of Mr Veera Raja, President and Managing Director of TE Connectivity India, Dr R C Natarajan, Director of TAPMI, and Prof. Chowdhary Prasad, Dean – Admissions and PR at TAPMI. The ceremony was a predecessor to the Leadership lectures to be held in the following days, and market their beginning with the inspiring words of Mr Raja.

After an exquisite floral welcome to the guest, Prof Chowdhary delivered the welcome address and performed the iteration of the various achievements of the esteemed guest. The lamp-lighting then took place, following which, Mr Raja addressed the crowd of students gathered and shared his various experiences for their benefit. He talked about his many years of work, from the time of his giving up his dream of becoming an engineer, to the 14th of July, 2014, when he completed a decade of being a CEO. He narrated many small and big incidents of his life, and the learning he derived from them, on how he handled the various challenges that life threw at him, and how he made the best the of them by taking up each challenge as an opportunity and making the best of it.

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He left behind a number of gems of words for the students to ponder over, such as “Unless you work-hard continuously, success will also come at specific instances, never perpetually”, “There are issues in every organization; the only way to change anything is to drive the policies yourself”, “Take decisions based on what is right, and not who is right”, “Don’t chase visibility, chase challenges” and many more.

At the end of his inspiring words, he was duly honoured by the Director through the presentation of a memento to him, and the event was officially declared as having begun.

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