Avaali is a consulting and professional services organization focused on supporting upper mid to large enterprises to create and execute their Digital roadmap. Started operations in January 2013, headquartered in Bangalore, the organization works on a firm belief that Digital is going to be the biggest enabler of revenue for enterprises. “We support our customers to maximize value from digital and help them translate this value in the form of innovative customer experience, highly engaging customers, internal process efficiencies, reduced costs and delivering your organization’s stated objective,” says Srividya.
Here are the edited excerpts:
Faiz Askari: What are the key uniqueness of Avaali?
Srividya Kannan: Our teams are completely focused to deliver the best solution to the customer, on time and on budget. Our mission is to enable enterprises to accelerate the execution of their stated business goals with the help of digital tools and technologies. Our spectrum of services not only help enterprises in putting together intelligent internal business processes but also engage with their customers in completely newer ways and provide great customer experience.
We’ve worked with over 45+ large enterprises to leverage digital technologies to transform their internal business processes as well as customer facing processes in powerful ways. Our customers are market leaders in their respective industries and can leverage these technologies to run their business more efficiently than before, generating better topline for their organization as well as reduce their costs in differentiated ways. We evaluate our success based on the extent to which our solutions have brought about the desired business outcomes to our customers. We’re an agile organization, completely focused on delivering results for our customers and partners.
Our foundation principles are not only built on providing best in class solutions to customers but also on some very basic and fundamental values around treating our employees, customers and partners with pride and respect.
Faiz Askari: What was the top three challenges for you as an entrepreneur? How did you overcome that?
As we started Avaali operations, the challenges were many – we’re a bootstrapped organization and it is not easy to juggle the multiple facets of finances, customer acquisitions and talent attraction all the same time. Getting across as a trusted partner to large enterprises was a huge task. These organizations already had various large incumbent vendors and in addition, had no dearth of large and mid-tier vendors who wanted to work with them. Building something from ground-up in such an environment and winning the trust of large enterprises has been one of the toughest things that my team and I have done. Today we have over 45+ large customer accounts with ongoing engagements across India, Africa, Asia and Middle East. We have supported enterprises set-up and transform shared service centers and various business processes. It has been a fulfilling journey so far.
It has been an interesting journey with a long list of learnings. The way customers engage with solution providers has changed immensely in the last couple of years. Gone are the days where customers would simply look to engage with large brands. Given that the digital space itself is very new, it doesn’t really matter to customers whether an organization has been in existence for 4 or 40 years. What they are increasingly looking for is two things – what the solution provider can offer in terms of knowledge and good practices and how their consultants can deliver desired business outcomes. The important thing is for them to trust and believe that Avaali will deliver the stated outcomes. In the initial years, we set up meetings with several CXO’s to help them envision the change with our solutions, and did regular meetings and follow-ups to get them interested. The first 18 months were really trying – we kept persevering and got our first win in about 15 months from kick-starting our operations. Talent attraction is the other big challenge with start-ups that are bootstrapped. There was this whole start-up craze during 2013-14, but people wanted to join start-ups that are funded. On the other hand, we were clear that we would not compromise on the quality of people we hired. It is ironical that our reject ratio at that time was far higher even though we were small. We were really filtering out people and selecting only the very best. Selling to these prospective employees was as tough as selling to prospective customers. But, we didn’t compromise. And I would like to believe that this strategy really paid well to give us a good head-start.
What is your advice to fellow businessman/woman?
There are no short cuts. Building trust takes time and keeping it requires a lot of hard work and consistency.
Please highlight your business priorities through Avaali.
We want to be the chosen partner for digital transformation for enterprise customers. We’ve built thought leadership in this space via our publication – Illuminar. This is a digital enterprise digest, a monthly publication that provides ideas, good practices, views and opinions from CXO’s and business leaders around various digital transformation topics. With Avaali Academy, we’d like to play a key part in addressing the digital skill gaps and support in job creation.
How do you compare digital transformation in Indian enterprises compared to their counterparts globally?
Indian enterprises are on par with their global peers and are focusing on areas of business process efficiencies, customer engagement and performance improvements. Several enterprises are putting in place required infrastructure and solutions to understand customers better through analytics and social platforms. They clearly recognize the immense opportunities for performance improvements via understanding and automating unstructured content, workflows, and integrate that with structured data from transactional applications. There is a lot of market opportunity.