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Created by a Woman, Revolutionizing Information Management

“Information is the lifeblood for enterprises in this digital age”: Global IT spending for 2017 is set to hit $3.5 trillion.

Those who know founder and CEO of Bengaluru-based management and technology consulting firm Avaali Solutions, will tell you that she is a woman of her word. Perseverance and patience comes naturally to her. And this is why Kannan, despite the long wait to get her first customer – 17 months – didn’t think backing out is an option. “Until Year 2, we were only focused on fine tuning our offerings in line with customer requirements,” says Kannan who founded Avaali in 2013. “Momentum gained in the second half of Year 2 and in Year 3, we won marquee projects in the shared services consulting and automation space with large enterprise accounts in India and in Africa,” she adds.

Today Avaali has over 50 large customer accounts with ongoing engagements across India, Africa, Asia and Middle East (and some in the US), and an employee base of over 60 specialists. Apart from running the company, Kannan is also the editor of ‘Illuminar’, the company’s industry publication.

A Gartner report says global IT spending for 2017 is set to hit $3.5 trillion. According to Kannan, large scale companies typically invest 2 to 10 per cent of funds in technology to automate business operations. Yet over 80 per cent of their processes is typically done manually as they are heavily reliant on unstructured content that is manually handled, or are not utilising the technology enough, or do not have the skills nor inclination to learn to use newer technologies.

For instance, a CFO of a large satellite TV provider consulted Srividya to identify tech solutions to automate their accounts payable in three-and-half months. Avaali’s work helped the company process four times as many invoices with no additional investment and pushed overall efficiency close to 70 per cent. In another project with a large pharma conglomerate, Avaali helped them set up a shared service centre. The company was not only able to identify the right solution, but also had them implemented to fully automate several of their other business processes.

The beginnings

After working with several large IT firms, when Kannan finally decided to start her own firm, she decided she will set up business primarily focused in the information management space. She conjured the name ‘Avaali’ (meaning breath of life) for her new consultancy firm to help large enterprises digitalise their business processes.

“Information is the lifeblood for enterprises in this digital age,” says Kannan. “The global information management market is expected to grow significantly in the next five years driven largely by unstructured content, new regulations, better governance requirements, process improvement and need for better analytics,” she added. Still, despite such optimism, Kannan realised life is tough for a new entrepreneur.

Usually welcomed with open arms when she was working at established companies, Kannan faced tough hurdles while going it alone. “In my first customer meeting after I started Avaali, I experienced for perhaps the first time, what it is to really sell. We were meeting the CIO of a large two-wheeler manufacturer in India, and the first statement they made was that they don’t believe in working with small organisations,” says Kannan who had to convince the client how one hour of their time with the Avaali team is going to provide value to them. “It is a different matter that we did get a significant share of their time not only for that meeting but also for several other meetings to follow,” says she who firmly believes that “failure is just feedback so that one can focus on what works”.

Avaali has bootstrapped so far, but will look to raise a large round of funding in 6-12 months. “It’s time,” she says. “We are at that stage of growth where we are ready to expand rapidly.”

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