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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
Purna Chandra Mahato
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Atul Mathur is a Senior Director, Customer Success, at Microsoft, one of the largest cloud providers in the world, among many other things. In his current role, Atul focuses on making sure customers move forward in their cloud journey and are well supported on all Microsoft technologies. A veteran of the software industry with a career spanning more than two decades, Atul believes that people always come first. He is passionate about technology, people, and the art of possible. A lifelong learner, he reads about the latest innovations in his free time. Atul is an avid saltwater coral aquarium hobbyist, which takes up a lot of his time.
Interviewed by Nimish Vohra
What significant challenges are you facing as a result of COVID, and how do you work around them?
The first challenge is related to our own team working remotely. Normally, field teams spend most of their time with the customers, and due to the nature of their work, they are very social. Keeping team morale and motivation high during this time of isolation is very important. It includes remote happy hours and finding any reasons for people to be together, albeit remotely. We are also cutting down on internal meetings to allow people to focus on their own work. People are facing various challenges in their personal lives, such as young people stuck in small apartments, parents with kids, and people who are caregivers. We are giving people time off to focus on their own and their family’s wellness.
The second challenge is connecting and serving the customer in a virtual world. We are using various technology solutions to connect with our customers. Conference call fatigue is very real. In a virtual setting, every conversation needs to be planned and scheduled, resulting in a manifold increase in formal meetings. Consolidating conversations wherever possible to avoid repetitive conversations with different people is also part of the solution. The pandemic is affecting different industries differently, and our approach is to provide industry-focused solutions to each customer.
// Has COVID changed the way you interact with your customers?
COVID has brought a lot of changes in the way we interact with and support customers. We make sure to start with empathy and help the customer through whatever they are facing currently. We also work with customers on long-term planning and their changing needs for the future. As we are 8 months into this pandemic, there are long-term changes in technology planning and solution requirements. It constantly makes us rethink how we align with customers’ changing requirements. Initially, tools that enabled remote work took precedence and urgency, as the customer’s workforce started working remotely. Now, our focus is moving towards the changing habits of the customers of our enterprise clients.
// Have you noticed any difference in how prospects evaluate your offerings since the arrival of COVID?
There is a lot more focus on cost and value. The economic uncertainty is bringing a lot of attention to cost vs value and how we define value. It is even more important to provide clear value in our offerings and help customers with the changing needs and environment in their industry. The customer is looking for us to help them make decisions using our technology and then help them execute those decisions
// Has the shifting business environment exposed any shortcomings in your technology or processes?
Our strategy has evolved with the shifting business environment. There is a lot more focus on delivering the products that enable remote work (conference, information-sharing and cloud solutions). There is a race to deliver more and more features on these products with a great customer experience. The customer expects us to not only deliver on all the features they are expecting but also executing the solution well — something which is intuitive and improves their experience. Moving forward, software vendors need to solve the emerging problems with these tools while building upon great customer experience.
// What have been your main focus areas during this period? Are you looking forward to a return to business as usual? Please expand on this.
There are two major focus areas: Motivating our own people and engaging with the customers.
We need to make sure our own people are motivated and comfortable with their work environment. Remote work is causing productivity gains, but it also means that the people are overworked. We cannot deliver on customer expectations until we have a highly motivated workforce.
The other focus area is on the customers, working with them to find solutions for the rapid changes in their business and anticipate their future needs based upon our experience, so that they can compete effectively in their own markets. We make sure that we are doing the above with empathy and a keen awareness of what customers are facing in their personal and professional lives.
// What are the lasting industry-wide changes that you expect to see staying beyond the COVID phase?
This is going to have a lasting effect on all aspects of our lives. All of us are looking forward to the end of this and going back to normal life. My belief is that it would be a different normal. Normalcy as we knew it in the pre-COVID era is gone. It will affect how we do business and the customer’s expectations from solution providers. Remote work is going to be more prominent and technology vendors need to step up to make remote work more efficient and effective. The pace of innovation in conferencing solutions is indicative of customer demands for better solutions for remote work. Innovations will gain momentum and speed in cloud and data solutions as well, providing tremendous value to the customers.
// If you could share one piece of advice with the industry at large during this time, what would it be?
My advice is that the industry needs to rethink customer value and solutions very differently. These solutions need to be disruptive to the current environment. It also means that major technology companies need to disrupt their current business model, which was meticulously built and perfected over a period of time. The technology industry should be anticipating and solving the problems of tomorrow, the unmet and unsaid needs of the customer.
Businesses are increasingly open to bold ideas
Santosh Sahoo, Senior Director, Customer Success, MuleSoft
Reaching decision-makers is getting harder
Steve Beamer, VP Customer Success & Transformation, Element