We talked to Santhosh Palavesh on how UMM digital is a partner to businesses, corporates, entrepreneurs, visionaries, consultants and gamechangers. Here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Santhosh Palavesh: Thank you, we’re all safe and sound. Thanks again for your concern. I hope you’re doing well too.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded UMM digital.
Santhosh Palavesh: I started the UMM digital as a start-up back in 2008 when I was in the second year of college as a design thinking firm and transitioned it to a technology firm around 2013. It was an internet boom back then in 2013. Broadbands, Websites, Smartphones were all booming, and I believe I was at the right place, at the right time. We scaled our technology business to over 4 Countries, India, Dubai, Singapore & the UK. By 2018, we have London our HQ and renovated our theme to “Innovation.”
By then, we were 150 members in our team with innovation as the centre focus. We primarily work on open source projects, design thinking UXUI projects, AI & Data, Blockchain projects.
How does UMM digital innovate?
Santhosh Palavesh: Innovation is a framework-based approach according to us. It all starts by hiring the right team with good technical expertise. At UMM Digital, we help our clients innovate to make their solutions better. So, we innovate based on problems, opportunity, internal strengths and external strengths. We even have 3 patents filed by us till date, leave alone the numerous innovations we have devised and implemented across various solutions.
Some of the innovations we have brought about are KYC based blockchain, Video-commerce platform, AI-based music learning coach etc.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Santhosh Palavesh: Being a 100% digital firm. Honestly, we haven’t felt much effect. We were agile enough to quickly transition to a 100% remote company, prioritizing our team’s safety over everything else. Corona was a devil in disguise for the digital industry, when suddenly everybody wanted to go digital. So we had a surge in project enquiries and solution required. We continue to cater them till date. We are even happy that our revenue tripled in the year 2020.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Santhosh Palavesh: Transitioning the firm into a full process-driven organisation was the most difficult task I have endured, but now with the right tools, we are completely process-driven. We have all sort of workplace & efficiency tools put in place to drive results.
We have also pumped up our digital marketing exercises, as now physical meetings are happening less, we have to completely market and find opportunities online. So we’ve learnt some lessons trying to transition.
Also, having seen a lot of start-ups fail in the market, including the ones we’ve serviced, we have learnt a lot. That’s the primary decision to move more towards innovation because unless our app/technology is innovative, users don’t want to use. And it’s very tough to market a mobile app unless it carries a good innovation & utility value.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Santhosh Palavesh: Physical exercises have helped. And we try to spend enough time with family, friends & pets, which gives us a good relief. The fact that travel is limited is definitely causing a lot of stress, which we are now coping up with learning, and enjoying digitally at home.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Santhosh Palavesh: Some of our competitors are Photon Interactive, Happiest Minds, and Thought-works etc. Compared to them, we are smaller but better in terms of agility & innovation. We follow a hybrid model of operations that naturally enables us to give our client an edge on the costing as well.
But we firmly believe by truly helping clients succeed as a partner, rather than treating them as clients, we can keep our edge in the market. We are proud to announce that most of our clients are fairly successful and valued from 2 Mn$ to over 400 Mn$.
Our success truly lies in helping clients succeed digitally through our 360-degree approach.
Your final thoughts?
Santhosh Palavesh: World has changed and during such tough times, always comes good opportunities. Innovations like Uber, Airbnb, Robinhood all came during the 2008 financial crisis. Similarly, during this pandemic, there are so many opportunities opening up, and we’re more than happy to help our clients and partner in leveraging those opportunities with innovative technology services.
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