We talked to Angshuman Bhattacharya of SIBIA Analytics about using analytics in business functions, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Angshuman Bhattacharya: Thankfully, no one in my immediate family, as well as the larger family, has been affected by the Covid. However, a number of our team members and their families were affected, and we all were worried about them. All of them have been recovered fully, which is great news.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded SIBIA Analytics.
Angshuman Bhattacharya: I have been in the analytics industry from the very beginning of my career in the early 2000s. I have worked for specialized analytics company as well as a large IT services company and helped build the analytics business there. I have been in the industry from its early days and have learnt a lot in the process and have seen the growth and changes here.
I founded SIBIA Analytics in 2015, as I wanted to democratize the analytics practice and take it out to a larger user base than the top enterprises only. I envisioned that emerging companies across the world would start using analytics in their business function and reap the benefits of data.
How does SIBIA Analytics innovate?
Angshuman Bhattacharya: We offer our data science solutions through the big data analytics platform we have built in the cloud computing environment. We continuously improve the platform in order to suit the clients’ changing needs. We developed a solution delivery model that can turn around projects faster than expected and create insights that can be readily deployed in the enterprise strategies.
We generate our insights in such a way that they can be integrated with the enterprise systems that enable the last mile sales and marketing executives in a seamless manner. Our constant endeavor is to make data science usable in every hand, and our team constantly innovates in that direction. Enabling smarter business decisions is our motto.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Angshuman Bhattacharya: At the beginning, it hit us hard as some of our big overseas projects were stalled. After that, few other major projects in SE Asia were dropped due to business situations at the client end, understandably. So our finances were not looking great, and the funds were drying out. The domestic market was also closed due to a very strict lockdown in India. And after a quarter when the external markets reopened, due to travel restrictions our sales efforts were stalled too.
So we refocused on the Indian market and started working with new clients and continued with the old clients, who were still in need of our services. We innovated a more agile, more comprehensive delivery model that proved to be highly useful to our clients, even in remote working models. We have helped build newer strategies for the new normal ways of doing business.
We have recovered our business after a quarter or so. And thankfully, we are back to the growth path after the second quarter into the year. Now, we are confident that we will grow at about 50% year on year, leaving aside the Covid nightmare. Cash situations have also eased out quite well.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Angshuman Bhattacharya: We expected that difficult days were coming in the month of Feb/Mar 2020. But the board also made a cautious decision that we will not downsize our team strength, come what may. So we have worked hard to ensure that we generate work for everyone in the team and keep them occupied. So we are grateful that we didn’t have to make any difficult choices or a negative decision related to our HR.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Angshuman Bhattacharya: The clients’ personnel also have moved to work from home, and personal interactions were completely ruled out. Even our project and delivery team members were also on remote working mode. While technically it wasn’t much of a problem as we already have shifted to cloud-based platforms, in-person and team discussions were really hampered at the beginning.
However, our project management team has created a set of innovative communication mechanism that provides not only regular real-time communications and discussions inside the team or with the client; that system also provides the right platform for sharing work, notes, and problem-solving in a very agile mode.
The team has created a detailed protocol covering all aspects of the project, work team, and HR management. We have adopted a number of technologies in this period, and the project management team seamlessly integrated those into our work and business practices. So, in the end, with the help of various cloud-based technologies and tools, we could create a seamless work and delivery experience for us as well as for our clients, thanks to our project management team.
The tools we have used for this include G Suite, Stack. Asana and Clockify, along with Basecanmp and MS team.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Angshuman Bhattacharya: We have not yet received any such grants. However, the government of India has eased out certain compliance norms and removed penalties and late fees, which have helped a lot.
Your final thoughts?
Angshuman Bhattacharya: Covid pandemic and lockdown thereafter was completely unexpected to the world and have disrupted businesses worldwide. We have been no exception. However, in the end, it taught us a lot of lessons and made us more agile; and made us confident that we not only can survive but also can thrive in any situation. A lot of myths have busted like you can’t deliver value working without a personal touch, or you cant sell new ideas if you are not meeting clients.
For me, Covid is a Black Swan event to us, and the world will change forever. A number of changes, I am sure, are for the better. Let us adopt the new normal world, with much bigger confidence.