We talked to Abhii Dabas of Webpuppies about unlocking new opportunities and delivering path-breaking value through digital transformation, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Abhii Dabas: I must say, relatively speaking, we are doing well. Although we haven’t been able to visit family and friends abroad, we’ve been safe, and that’s something we are very grateful for, given the global situation. Singapore has managed the situation quite well, and we’ve led a rather normal life over the last 5-6 months. If it weren’t for the masks and the lack of travel, Singapore could almost make one forget that we are in the midst of a pandemic.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Webpuppies?
Abhii Dabas: I am what people call a serial entrepreneur. I am currently running the digital Webpuppies, one of the leading digital transformation companies in South Asia with clients across 21 countries and 4 continents. I also run the Fintech platform WoofPay, enabling companies to collect payments and provide usable business intelligence. I founded WoofPay in 2018 and acquired Webpuppies from the founders in 2016. The company was founded in 2000.
How does Webpuppies innovate?
Abhii Dabas: As a digital transformation company, we have to stay at the forefront of digital innovation. Global corporations rely on us for our consultancy and cutting-edge solutions. We are constantly pushing the boundaries by building IoT systems, incorporating AI in multiple customized applications, adopting the latest advancements in Augmented & Virtual Reality, and building path-breaking digital products across geographies. Our mantra for innovation is simple – The moment we feel we are getting comfortable, we take on a challenge that seems insurmountable, which keeps things interesting for our teams.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Abhii Dabas: I would say the pandemic has positively impacted our business. The widely held opinion is that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation by 3 to 5 years. What served us well was our approach over the last couple of years. We have worked very hard to build formidable development teams across countries. We have also focused on technology consultancy and providing remote tech teams to our clients. When the pandemic hit, every medium to the large company was scrambling to digitize and automate their processes, and we were very well-placed to assist them. The challenging task for us was to keep our teams motivated through this unprecedented crisis which took a toll on people’s personal and social lives.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Abhii Dabas: Being an entrepreneur, one always has to make difficult choices. Whether it’s making personal sacrifices or dropping a client because they weren’t the right fit, or letting go of some team members as they lose their passion for the job, the path is always full of tough decisions. While I’m learning every day with each success and setback, I think the one lesson that I’ve learned and successfully implemented is that truth and transparency go a long way in softening the blow associated with making a difficult choice – be it with family, our team, or our clients.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and your company in the future?
Abhii Dabas: Time away from work, yoga, and exercise are regular stress busters for me. However, the most effective way for me to deal with stress is to socialize with fellow entrepreneurs, people from other walks of life. It always broadens my perspective and energizes me with new ideas. I believe that we have to keep learning, adapting, and stay resilient in the face of uncertainty, both individually and collectively. If we are able to do that effectively, we’ll definitely achieve the goals that we set for ourselves.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Abhii Dabas: If you had asked me this question 3 years ago, I would’ve said “hundreds of competitors”. But we realized that some of the services we were offering were increasingly getting commoditized. We decided to move away from the run of the mill services and focused on positioning ourselves as “partners in digital innovation”. This new positioning, and the simultaneous development of our consultancy and development capabilities, helped us carve a niche for ourselves. As any organizations, we still have a long way to go, but we just compete with ourselves and constantly check if we are better today than we were a month before.
Your final thoughts?
Abhii Dabas: Running a technology business is both exhilarating and challenging. Whether you’re a startup, a decision-maker trying to digitize your business, or a technology solutions provider, the sooner you realize that the grass is NOT greener on the other side, the sooner you’ll see your business improve significantly. I made a conscious decision to stop with the wishful thinking and start enjoying the journey. This improved the quality of my life and transformed my business. I strongly recommend everyone try this out for 30 days and see the difference.
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