IT Services Organizations have the challenge of meeting market expectations, hence if they invest ‘X’ in a skillset or expertise, they expect is to derive ‘5X’, essentially draining the skillset or not giving enough headroom to adapt and scale with changing times. Consumer organizations’ ability to attract talent at the price points the IT industry offers is minimal and their own mindset of cost. Versus the value is an ongoing tussle. Even if they cross this, it becomes extremely difficult to retain these talents and derive optimum value, for they will the right investments in the right areas to achieve their desired goals.
Chennai based NetworkGain, is a peer-to-peer network with a positive culture, highest standards of integrity and ethics, right corporate governance, and most importantly giving back to the society. The community of experts does not have the baggage of operational costs and overheads, yet have the right access to right talent on-demand, making it completely affordable and value for money. The company has formulated the successful concept of the digital world into real world ‘LinkedIn’, in action. R Koushik, Managing Partner, NetworkGain, explains this concept and its offerings.
These days, many seasoned individuals are becoming subject-matter-experts. However, NetworkGain seems to be the collective effort of many individuals. Please explain in detail.
Our thought of NetworkGain stems from the fact that for accomplishing something meaningful, it requires all experts (read Stars) to come together and perform together. We are inspired by a few elements – a) Domestic Help: They emphasize the fact that expertise and smartness matters, and focus on their core area of expertise. Ex: The one who sweeps and mops the house, or the gardeners. They perform the same action across multiple entities. Similarly what matters is the expertise, and availability of that expertise on demand rather than whom do I work for. b) Spirit of collaboration: While it is important to have deep knowledge, it is equally important to have wide-appreciation to be a full rounded consultant. When such experts come together, the solution sets well. and Finally, c) Everyone should benefit from the whole transaction, rather than just base pay and incentives.
Ideally, what type of companies approach you for consulting and what are the unique aspects of NetworkGain?
Both a) End-User Organizations and b) Service Provider Organizations, and typically from start-up to large enterprises to conglomerates find value in our approach. Given that, we are leading the ‘Workforce of the future’ and our ability to find the connection between seemingly disconnected ideas are turning out to be effective and measurable, the network gives us access to a variety of industry domains and corresponding solutions. Our journey starts with ‘data’ – ‘information’ – ‘knowledge’ – ‘insight’ – ‘wisdom’ – ‘impact’. Our experience and expertise, as individual contributors provide us an ability to compete with the likes leading Management Consulting firms, and our focused on BizTech Consulting, helps us to define the blueprint as well as break it down into smaller pieces of the larger puzzle. We don’t reinvent the wheel, however, the pieces of the puzzle are addressed by the right solutions approach powered by another start-up or enterprise services or COTS solutions.
I believe our USP is true, in rolling up the sleeves and getting to chunks of work that can be executed and result experienced and progressively marching towards the larger goal.
While the need for technology has been understood by most at least by compulsion (like GST filing), what challenges a consultant will have while advising the companies?
I believe that is the part of every role and every function, and that one has to face and address, is the real adrenaline that keeps us going. Typically, these vary by industry groups and geographic locations. In today’s time, there is too much information overflow and almost all of them have a point of view on a given technology or business problem. It is important to segregate wheat from the chaff, and move deeper than what meets the eye to derive the right value.
Sometimes, some of the actions that we advise to execute are not directly related to the problem statement but you might have to have those in place before you address the real problem and then derive value. It is also important but quite challenging to have a good grasp of the changing patterns of the business and the unpredictability surrounding the global impact. We need to be continuously learning and practicing and have a knack of connecting seemingly disconnected dots.
Many business owners were approached by many ‘business strategic consultants’. Many had bitter experience with them when it comes to results. How much you think the influence of IT consultants like you.
Typically, CXOs have ‘access-to’ or ‘proactively-fed’ with information overload. In such information explosion – ‘creation is far too quicker than actual consumption’. The key is knowing when to embrace change and this is where the NetworkGain Experts/likes of our organization play a vital role. We’re living in an era of continuous change (at least for the foreseeable future) and change is the new normal. Our experience, combined with expertise assists in taking a data-driven decision, to determine when to embrace change or when to stay the course. A professional outside-in view can make all the difference in these decisions. Preparing for and embracing these changes by investing in the right kind of advice is the best way to meet these challenges head-on.
Another challenge companies face is when the credible factors of the consultants. Many are yet to dive into pure entrepreneurship and few leave projects incomplete if they get a job. How different are you?
A very important and key question. Obviously, ‘once bitten, twice shy’. It is the previous experience that stands as a measure for future engagements. First off, consulting organizations have come of age. We now have very good organizations and classes that have been built. In the case of NetworkGain Consulting, our network has been carefully curated by peers, and experts are on-boarded based on expertise and ability to keep up the commitment. All of us could have stayed in our respective high-paying jobs, however, the attitude to achieve outcomes and enjoy the fruits of efforts, combined with the aptitude to make it work is what makes us different.
What are the expansion plans you have in terms of technical, geographical, and your team?
As of now, our peer network is across the South (Chennai, Bangalore) and West (Mumbai, Pune). Our access network (2nd and 3rd level) is global, and our current focus is on Indian Enterprises and Start-up Eco-Systems. In my view, at the peak of operations, we will be a team of 125 experts or about that, and I envisage that it is going to take about 4 – 5 years to be this size. Most importantly, we are focusing on achieving results for our clients in scalability, reliability, and performance.