Debajyoti Basu, founder of IntelligentQ tells us about an SME’s service marketplace during Covid-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Debajyoti Basu: Thanks Kossi for asking this. By God’s grace, parents, wife, daughter, brother’s family, cousins are all fine. An immediate cousin and her husband contracted the disease but by God’s grace, they have recovered well and are back to normal life.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded IntelligentQ.
Debajyoti Basu: I am the co-founder of IntelligentQ. I started the background work in late 2012 and finally started with our own office in June 2013. It is bootstrapped at present, but we plan to take it before investors by the next financial year. Before starting IntelligentQ, I was working as a Business Analyst and PreSales consultant in IT companies both on the product and services side for ten years. My background is in General Management having completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) in 2002 from ICFAI, Hyderabad. In the company, I am responsible for all functions supported by a strong team of dedicated members.
How does IntelligentQ innovate?
Debajyoti Basu: Our innovation strategy is based on the ‘Innovate As You Go’ principle. We have constantly innovated in our work as we deliver our client’s requirements. For example, the financial forecasting template that we use is developed and tested internally so that we can deliver flawless forecasts to clients. In terms of our market research work, we constantly innovate on the competitive matrix and how we present the report. When we work on solutions, we create technical solutions in collaboration with Technical Institutes that are then presented to prospects and similar other strategies. Innovation is in our DNA, and that has helped us to work on newer services and solutions for clients.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Debajyoti Basu: The lockdown in India was a major step taken by the Government to save human lives and contain the spread of the disease. As a result, like every other business, we were also jolted. Therefore we had to size down and move our work model to work-from-home mode to avoid any crisis. Additionally, we had to resort to right-sizing our team and made certain tweaks to our operating model to ride over the crisis but at the same time keep on delivering results to our clients.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Debajyoti Basu: Yes, difficult choices were made. Lessons learned include: You have to downsize businesses in times of crisis, the most critical resources need to be identified so that work delivery is not hampered, in services businesses investments in huge rents is a no-go and a relatively functional office space is fine, and you need to reassess your expenses and investments from time to time.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Debajyoti Basu: Regular work tools like MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Google Meet for communication. As for management skills, we are limiting the amount of work that we can execute, and mostly 80% of the work we are doing is from existing clients. We are limiting our sales effort at this stage.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Debajyoti Basu: Any consulting company that supports small businesses is our competition. We are focusing our effort on high-margin projects but a lesser volume of work.
Your final thoughts?
Debajyoti Basu: Covid 19 has changed the way in which companies do their business. Especially for the services business in which we are in, work-from-home has become more mainstream and is delivering almost the same level of results that we used to deliver pre-pandemic. However, many of us are missing the office work atmosphere and we all hope that we can get back to normal work mode soon.