In a contemporary industry overview, while having an exclusive conversation with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet, Johnson Irudayaraj, CEO, OptiKPI highlighted some important digital trends that are getting observed especially after the advent of COVID -19.
Here are the edited excerpts of the interaction:
Faiz: How has this COVID pandemic situation affected this industry? Data has become critical. As a digital organization, how are you experiencing all these changes?
Johnson: In the current Covid situation, people have changed. Businesses have changed the way they work. People are staying at home, getting different avenues, more Work-life balance.
If you look at the differences in the people who live in cities and rural areas, People in cities had been utilising more digital medium in comparison to rural before Covid. From banking to booking tickets online, food. All of these things people have been using effectively. Before Covid this was predominant in cities. Now Covid has put everyone in this space of using digital platform. Ex: education system is getting reformed. From small children, to college students to middle age students – everyone is online. This is a learning experience for teachers too. There is so much of data that is currently flowing all across digital platforms. This large amount of data – on tech side we call it big data- is stored in servers and you can mine this data for various reasons. You can study this data and come up with various analysis. On another side, from a business perspective, like a B2C business – like banking, ecommerce, gaming, courses online- they need to be in constant communication with customers. Every organisation spends so much money is pulling customers and acquisition, they generate data- but companies sometimes don’t utilise this data to make scientific sense out of the behavioural patterns and how to utilise the data and generate more businesses. Instead marketing teams go out and sell. Start spending more money on acquisition. So that is where I think our business models comes in.
F: Data has become critical – but moving forward how do you see data is becoming as an organizational asset? How companies should use data and how they are using now? What is the gap as you have observed? When we say data is critical, do you think data will definitely contribute a certain amount of – like data mining and big data analytics – these tools which are available to extract business potential from data – do you see that it will have substantial revenue in the near future?
J: Data mining, Data warehousing has been used in the past. Data warehousing has been used vastly in the early 2000s. Then big data analytics came into picture – it is a large spectrum and large organizations have been investing money to understand and analyse the data they have generated.
For ex: any hosting companies like Amazon has millions of servers. Each server generates millions of data. This they constantly study the data through AI or ML, which can tell this particular server has been running for so much of time, it is going to age. All kinds of predictions can be created through these data that is outputing. While this is hardcore tech, since more businesses are coming out and offering these services through B2C medium and reaching out to common people. Common people are doing various transactions through Digital medium, and these data are highly valuable to businesses and if we implement good retention practices where you can segment the data and group consumers in different buckets, then there can be a clear study and pattern that can be created through which you can go back to those segments and users with a precise, targeted approach.
F: OptiKPI’s Indian Market focus – can you let us know about the priorities that you have for the Indian market? And how important is the Indian market for OptiKPIin the global market footprint?
J: As a European company, we have been focusing on European market to begin with. Since the product is also based in Finland, it is produced in India – we understand the Indian space very well. It is an emerging market. We are focusing heavily on Indian market. We want to focus on various industries. Like Banking, healthcare, education, gaming, e-commerce, though we don’t want to begin with e-commerce.
F: In Indian market, education is top priority for the company?
J: Education will be a key focus. Since there is a new way. Since Covid has changed the education system in a new way. Universities, colleges can readily use our platform – students, lecturers, teachers. They want to do different analysis through AI about how students are progressing. We will definitely focus on Education and then move on to other B2C.
F: From a development perspective please highlight India’s footprint.
J: Design and architecture mostly Finland. In India, we do product development in Chennai and in south some smaller cities.
F: Challenges that we have observed in the last five months. In the phenomena of pandemic and covid, WFH has evolved. If we take experts opinion on this situation, it was forced WFH culture. Many people had to adopt this in their company. How do you analyse this transition?
J: If you look at our work style over the past few years, we have been working remotely with our Indian team. For us this hasn’t been a big challenge. But a lot of other companies based in India or local jurisdiction, today they have been transformed to working using digital platforms. Nobody would have thought this huge change would happen. Unless technology has not been in place, like video sharing technology or internet bandwidth, one of the major implementations across India. Go to any small city, internet bandwidth is available people are able to work from remote placed. More and more people will be technology dependent. And also, if you look at consumption of internet bandwidth and technology adoption by people who are highly skilled or low skilled- everyone uses technology and produces work output.