India Has the Potential to be a Significant Market for Data Analytics--Jaswinder Chadha, Co-Founder & CEO, Axtria

Jaswinder Chadha, Co-Founder and CEO, Axtria spoke to Businessworld’s Ruhail Amin about the growing importance of big data and how Indian companies can leverage analytics and use data insights to guide business decisions.

Axtria headquartered in New Jersey with a strong subsidiary in India, was founded with a vision of building cutting-edge analytics and software solutions that will help global companies to effectively manage and get insights from Big Data.

Jaswinder Chadha, Co-Founder and CEO, Axtria spoke to Businessworld’s Ruhail Amin about the growing importance of big data and how Indian companies can leverage analytics and use data insights to guide business decisions.


What are the challenges faced by Indian companies whilst driving Big data adoption? Are investment priorities aligned to mitigating these challenges?

The key challenge in India is the availability of data. This is primarily because industries in India have so far under-invested in data technology – in capturing big data, building data warehouses, handling visualisation and having the right CRM and ERP systems. Manufacturing is probably the only sector in India where data availability is at an acceptable level. And even when it comes to customer data, when you go to private banks such as ICICI and HDFC, there is much scope for improvement regarding understanding the customers and personalizing their offerings. Alongside the challenge of data availability, many organizations also lack maturity in analytics and using data insights to guide business decisions.

I have observed that individuals only change behaviour or look for alternatives when they face problems. They do not change course when things are going well. For the large part, most businesses in India have been booming in recent years. I remember my conversation with the CEO of an insurance company in India, where we were presenting our analytics offerings. The CEO shared, “My business is already growing at 30% a year, and I am doing well. Why do I need to spend more money on analytics? I might as well have more sales people and spruce up.” I think the maturity level to leverage analytics to transform the effectiveness of a sales organization is still not there in India.

At Axtria, we look at the India market from three perspectives. First, looking at the huge growth potential in the country - is India an investment market? Second, is India suitable for setting up a delivery centre for services? Thirdly, is India suitable for product development? India is in different stages of maturity for each of these three aspects. In terms of leveraging analytics to transform business, I still see India at an early and growing stage. Having said that, I believe India has the potential to be a significant market for data analytics. They have to crawl before they walk, and walk before they can run. And the first crawling stage is about investing in data technologies to capture data in a consistent way.

What are the relevant sources of data that are driving Big data initiatives? Are organisations aware of the functional objectives that can be achieved by analyzing these data sources?

Big data is being generated by everything around us at all times. Every digital process and social media exchange produces it. Systems, sensors, and mobile devices transmit it. Big data is arriving from multiple sources at an alarming velocity, volume, and variety. Relevant data sources are available in many forms in today’s world from voice, text or log files to images and videos. Also, there is data from sensors and operational data-gathering devices which are a more structured form of data.

Organizations are realizing that the most important win from Big Data initiatives is the ability to generate insight from diverse data sources and new data types. It is not about managing the data itself. It’s important to remember that the primary value from big data comes not from the data in its raw form, but from the processing and analysis of it and the insights, products, and services that emerge from the analysis. The sweeping changes in big data technologies and management approaches need to be accompanied by similarly dramatic shifts in how data supports decisions and product/service innovation. There is little doubt that analytics can transform organizations, and the firms that lead the charge will seize the most value.

As per Nasscom, there are about 600 analytics firms in the country, out of which 400 are start-ups. About 100 companies were added during 2015. With increasing competition in the data analytics space, how is Axtria maintaining its differential edge?

Axtria is unique in the market place, bringing together three necessary ingredients to solve the challenges discussed above – technology, analytics, and domain experience. While there are multiple organisations playing in the area of data analytics, none of them can bring together all three components. There are traditional IT services companies that are selling to the CIOs and doing an excellent information management and application development job – but they lack analytics and domain experience. There are then BPO players with process knowledge but a lack of technology and analytics experience. And then you have the management consulting firms that are high on domain and analytics experience, but lack the technological know-how. Axtria brings together technology, analytics, and domain knowledge to enable our customers to solve real-life problems and make informed commercial decisions.

What is the USP of your cloud-based analytical application and how is it transforming sales, marketing, and risk management operations?

Axtria SalesIQ is our cloud-based, fully integrated commercial planning and operations platform. Built on, it includes Territory Alignment, Call Planning, Incentive Compensation and Field Reporting. Axtria SalesIQ is now listed on the Salesforce AppExchange and has been recognised by Forbes as one of the 10 hottest sales tools of Dreamforce 2015.

Axtria MarketingIQ is a cloud-based multi-channel marketing platform to enable high-impact, customer-centric and profitable campaigns, leveraging efficient operations. The platform comprises next-generation tools and processes to provide for greater efficiency and effectiveness, eventually translating to improved campaign performance and more profitable customers.

Axtria’s Risk Solutions is a cloud based reporting and analytics platform for integrated risk management and regulatory compliance. Risk Solutions provides end to end solution for credit risk management, stress testing, operational risk management and regulatory compliance reporting. With pre-built data models across multiple asset classes, it also enables quick implementation of data aggregation capabilities for regulatory compliance.

Axtria Datamax is our cloud-based platform for ingesting, processing and integrating commercial data, thereby ensuring a single version of truth for all processes and systems in the organisation.

We are leveraging these enterprise grade platforms to support and power large-scale strategic transformations for many of our fortune 500 clients.

What is the current stage of Big Data adoption across industry sectors?

The impact of Big Data goes well beyond the tech sector. In fact, it can increasingly be felt in almost every industry, impacting primary touch-points across key business processes. The greatest impact will be evident across verticals with the highest spend including financial services, telecommunications, manufacturing, and healthcare. This, by no means, takes away the strategic influence big data technologies will have on other industries.

As an example - there are an estimated 50 Petabytes of Data in the healthcare realm – predicted to grow to 25,000 Petabytes by 2020. There is data available in just about every aspect of the patient journey and stakeholder landscape. This wealth of information is being used across the value chain to evaluate outcomes and the cost to achieve these results. With the increased use of wearables and connected health devices, the day when e-medication replaces a significant portion of physician visits and patients self-diagnose basic symptoms is not too far away.

Other vertical applications such as banking security fraud and utility consumption efficiency, as well as more personalized examples such as media content usage and optimised retail spending are no less profound in the impact big data analytics has on them.

Tell us about your future plans?

When we started this company, we had the vision of global delivery. We have been growing rapidly and now operating in multiple markets across the globe. Talking about the next phase, our vision is to become the partner of choice in analytics space and we will continue leveraging our cross-industry experience to grow both horizontally and vertically. This will strengthen our position as an integrated pharmaceutical services player. Outside the pharma domain, Axtria will increase its focus on BFSI and Retail. Our high level functions in Risk Modelling, Model Governance, Risk Management, Operational Risk and Regulatory Compliance will be supported by depth of leadership experience and expertise in these newer verticals.

The company continues to focus on industry verticals and deliver great customer experience and value in data analytics. We will continue to build new cloud products, grow the management team, hire aggressively, build a sales force, expand in other industry vertical and introduce newer offerings.  

Also to achieve our vision, we will recruit more people, and expand in to more geographies. We have recently opened an office in L.A., and delivery centres in Boston and Chicago. These provide good coverage in the U.S which is our primary market. Moreover, we are just beginning to move into Europe, with a new presence in Ireland, to support our large global customer base. 

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