Peeush Bajpai, CEO & founder of SpringPeople tells us about enterprise training and his take on the Covid-19 pandemic.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Peeush Bajpai: Covid-19 has been challenging for everyone, across the world and we have been no different – it’s been challenging on the family and business front alike, especially on account of severe restrictions on being able to meet people for work or pleasure.
Having said that, Covid-19 has presented unique opportunities to everyone as well – things which we would perhaps never have otherwise made time for, or pursued over other pressing day-to-day items – we have been able to spend a lot of quality time together as a family, discovered invaluable craft of being self-sufficient even in the most pressing of times and most importantly, rediscovered the true meaning of “connecting” with near and dear ones.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded SpringPeople.
Peeush Bajpai: I am the CEO, and Founder of SpringPeople Software Private Limited – one of the leading corporate IT training provider organizations in India. Before SpringPeople, I have been part of leadership teams at 3 startup organizations: at Talisma Corp, at SpringSource (now Pivotal Inc), and at Kaseya Inc. – where I helped grow revenues and drive customer/user acquisition; from setting-up, growing, and managing multi-million dollar business streams, through to a successful exit for the organizations (each $100mn+), all the way to business integration/merger with the buying-out entity, before transitioning out.
Back in 2009, while responsible for global expansion of Services & Training at SpringSource Inc, I was struck by the state of the training market in India – dominated by low-end, poor quality players and chaotic market practices – and bootstrapped SpringPeople to address this gap. Over the last 11 years, SpringPeople has stayed true to the simple formula of delivering high-quality training, organized through a process-driven setup, taught by highly-experienced IT experts and delivering world-class “experiential” eLearning; today, SpringPeople is a rapidly growing Training organization, with a wide portfolio of courses, partnership with global tech giants like AWS, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, RedHat, Mulesoft, Elastic, Lightbend, EMC, VMware, CompTIA, Axelos, Scrum Alliance, Chef, etc. and a wide base of Fortune 500 Corporate customers.
How does SpringPeople innovate?
Peeush Bajpai: EdTech is a fast-growing industry, fuelled by rapid advances in technology – more so in the world hit by the pandemic where technology is creating and driving new innovative ways of delivering and consuming training. We at SpringPeople have always leaned on technology to keep ahead of the game – be it through our automated training orchestration systems and processes in the beginning, superior quality training delivery experience for our learners through our advanced delivery platform, or now the introduction of cutting-edge “experiential” learning facilities bundled with all our eLearning courses.
At SpringPeople, the culture of carefully listening to our customers and learners is built in the DNA of the entire organization – employees are encouraged to bring ideas to the table and empowered to drive the best of the ideas to fruition.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Peeush Bajpai: Like most of the organizations across the world, our sales dipped at the onset of the pandemic-triggered lockdowns back in March-2020. We had to close offices and within no time or without any preparation, had to learn how to efficiently continue work from home and run a business without having the luxury of being able to meet customers or colleagues.
What’s been different with us as compared to several other organizations is that from early on, we saw the potential opportunity presented by the pandemic and managed to revive business back rapidly thereafter – by expediting the launch of our remote “experiential” learning features in our Digital Learning platform and making it available to most of our clients free of charge initially and monetizing it later when the benefits of our technology and approach were evident to all.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Peeush Bajpai: We have been a profitable organization from day one and never had to take on any debts to run business; in the initial few months of the lockdown, we faced a liquidity crunch for the first time and had to take a hard look at our organization and find ways to optimize costs – some of which included letting go of a handful of resources who had not been performing to the level expected, but perhaps in other times, may have had a little more time to bring their performance back up.
Although it felt terrible at the time, we started to see the benefits of a lean, agile team soon after – there were significant improvements in efficiency and task completion rates, as well as a new level of flexibility to our work and delivery. Needless to say, we learned the advantages of moving fast and losing baggage, not to mention the cost savings realized as well.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Peeush Bajpai: In our industry, networking and personal rapport with customers are key to continued business and in the post-pandemic world, we had to rapidly change from being face-to-face to remote meetings and managing over phone and email. It’s not an easy transition but with changed attitudes to remote meeting/collaboration where video calls were the new normal, our team learned the nuances of various tools and technologies involved very quickly and managed to bring the same level of customer support and advocacy, if not even better than before – which helped us start picking up more business from clients who were looking for innovative ways of training for their employees, without having to compromise on the hands-on ways of learning.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Peeush Bajpai: We had been in the fortunate position of not having to rely on Government grants to keep the business afloat; after the initial blip of a few months, thanks to our superior technology-powered learning solutions, we were able to bring increase the business and get back on the growth trajectory.
Your final thoughts?
Peeush Bajpai: At SpringPeople, we feel fortunate to have a fundamentally strong business, supported by an excellent team and driven by highly motivated leaders – with such a force behind oneself, all that’s needed is a clear focus on continually advancing the level and quality of one’s product and services, to grow. We have successfully navigated the challenges posed by the pandemic with our focus on using technology to deliver the most advanced training solutions to our clients, which has resulted in us getting to the strong growth position that we are in today.
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