asheesh-mehra-ceo-antworks

"I believe in simplicity."

Asheesh Mehra, CEO, AntWorks in an interview with Nasscom

Whether it be bringing people closer or ideas together, to me, simplicity is at the heart of experience.

I’ve seen the power of technology to change and simplify lives.

I’m fascinated by cloud, analytics, artificial intelligence and robotics.

I love traveling, Formula 1 and scuba diving.

I believe in starting with the right intention. To me that means creating a company that will reimagine IT. In ways that will be fresh, fearless and fast. Today this urge to simplify the world around us is what leads us forward, tomorrow it shall reshape the way we perceive technology

Here’s what it’s all about – www.ant.works

In the past 18 years of leading and managing global outsourcing operations, I’ve been associated with Infosys BPO as the VP and Head – Asia Pacific, Japan and the Middle East and have worked with some of the biggest names in ITES such as Mphasis, TCS and WNS in various leadership roles. I was conferred with the prestigious ‘People’s Choice for

Personal Contribution to Industry – APAC’ Award by The Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON) in 2011 and ‘Thought Leader of the Year – Asia’ Award in 2010.

But the best is yet to come.


Q: What are the major changes that are driving the BPM industry? What are the key trends that are shaping this market?

A: The simple answer would be the technological and digital disruption driven by the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning, Evolution, and Future-proofing. But that’s barely scratching the surface. With the world getting increasingly digitalized with each passing hour, these ‘trends’ – if you can call them that – are driving deep changes in consumer behavior. This in turn is putting immense pressure on enterprises to deliver increasingly superior customer experiences across the board, while ensuring that their internal processes are resilient and efficient enough to support that change. From a technology perspective, these innovations have transformed the BPM industry as much as the BPM industry has raised the need for improved and more efficient business operations.

It’s very much like the chicken-end-egg situation now. You can no longer pinpoint what exact change is happening where and is driven by who or what. External factors and organizational demands are forcing enterprises to reinvent themselves and their purpose, while driving change with new processes, technologies and modes of operation. This means that unlike earlier, BPM is no longer a disparate organizational function, but an integral component in its core business, strategy and continuous transformation.


Q: How have you leveraged the experience you gained within Infosys to set up AntWorks and differentiate it within the BPO space?

A: Infosys is just one of the organizations I’ve worked with in the 18 years that I have been a part of the global BPM industry. I have been with Mphasis, TCS and WNS, gaining experience and learning with these large ITES organizations. This has stood me in good stead and provided me the impetus to start AntWorks. I have seen closely how the BPM industry works and how it has evolved during the time I have held leadership positions across these companies. AntWorks is the result of a collective vision about what a really good BPM company can do. The organization follows a hybrid delivery system, offering clients the technical expertise they expect from a large enterprise coupled with the speed and agility of a nimble start-up. That’s why at AntWorks, the aim is not to be the next ‘big’ thing, but the next ‘great’ thing! And we’re getting there – slowly, but surely.


Q: As a new age company that has been set up in the era of digital transformation, how is your focus different from that of companies being established say, even a decade ago?

It’s an understatement to say that the world has changed in the last decade, but at the same time, it’s underwhelming to see how companies that started 10 years ago have not kept pace with the implications of this change. At AntWorks, we aren’t burdened by the past or weighed down by the ingrained and outmoded ways of operation that older companies are grappling with.

For instance, companies set up a decade ago put together three- and five-year strategies, executed them, and they continue to do so. Three years is a lifetime in today’s Digital economy! At AntWorks, we put together six-month strategies, with a 12 month vision, and execute rapidly given the rate of change taking place. Another difference lies in how AntWorks works with clients. We don’t just work with our clients to solve today’s problems (that’s too easy!). The larger goal is to help them become ready for tomorrow’s challenges through innovations in Robotics, Machine Learning and Future-proofing. You could say that our focus is more on the war than the small battles.

We are a lot more nimble, agile and ready with new ideas, compared to larger organizations. These companies are sometimes slower due to their size, a little risk-averse in terms of adopting new methods, cannot change quickly and are still trying to make the old ways work today. All of this aligns beautifully with the three pillars we are based on—Fresh, Fearless, Fast!


Q: What are some of the challenges that you are facing as a new company entering a highly competitive marketplace?

If you look at today’s diverse technology and business landscape, the niche and really unique technologies and more importantly, fresh ideas are coming from new, smaller companies, like AntWorks. These companies are challenging the status quo. However, the buy side is yet to come out of the legacy procurement bubble with respect to the parameter that the vendors they buy from need to be of a certain size, have particular certifications, etc. This needs to change at a far greater pace, especially when you take into account the speed at which the Internet of Things is driving forward the technological evolution. Sooner or later organizations will have to embrace new tech for their very survival.

That perhaps is the only minor hiccup we at AntWorks have faced with regard to our age and size. Otherwise, everything else is working in our favor! Being new and small has only helped us grow at a quicker pace and capture a certain space in the market, because, nimble as we are, we can react much quicker that the 400-pound gorillas out there. We are able to bring technologies, services and fresh ideas to the market a lot faster. AntWorks doesn’t have the lengthy internal processes and bureaucracy that plague the larger services providers. Decision making is a lot quicker. So in that sense, the fact that we are a new company isn’t so much about challenges, as it is about opportunities that we are fearlessly grabbing with both hands right now.


Q: What is the kind of opportunity you are seeing within the healthcare and BFSI verticals? How are you addressing it, particularly with offerings in the areas of Robotics Process Automation, Future-proofing, Analytics, Consulting, etc.?

As the Healthcare and BFSI verticals get ready for a massive digital disruption, we see our biggest opportunities to create the technology and process backbones that will drive the next wave of growth for our clients in this these two sectors. All our offerings are future-focused – be it RPA, Cloud Computing, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, TaaS, or BPaaS. We follow a consulting-led approach when it comes to delivering high performance solutions to our clients.

Healthcare is an extremely resilient sector, where offering services, such as patient management, billing services, and disease management, require the use of predictive analytics and machine learning to offer preventive management and care. In this space, our specialized technology and revenue cycle offerings analyze the key financial and clinical trends to help improve the operational performance of the healthcare cycle.

The BFSI sector is today looking at BPM as a way to survive and thrive against market volatility, increased regulation, shrinking demand, globalization, and competition. Therein lies our play. We can help financial organizations – irrespective of size – to expand through our deep domain expertise, global delivery network and strong focus on operational excellence. Whether it is end-to-end Consumer, Retail and Commercial Banking Services, Finance and Accounting, Banking Research and Analytics or Mortgage Services, we provide solutions in these spaces. Additionally, we are focusing on those areas that the markets have hitherto ignored, but where we feel there are tremendous opportunities, especially in emerging geographies such as Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Philippines.


Q: Do you have a game plan for the domestic BPO market, which is on a growth path?

You mean the business process technology and services market, because AntWorks is not playing in the traditional BPO space as it exists right now. We’re trying to change the game, and the plan is to do it with robotics. It’s no longer about doing it cheaper as there is no labor arbitrage at play. The focus is on eliminating effort while increasing accuracy and cost-efficiency and that’s exactly what our Robotics Process Automation or RPA services seek to achieve. Through future-proof technologies and artificial intelligence powered by the Internet of Things, our RPA systems eliminate the need for extensive business processes. This enables them to serve as a central platform that performs rule-based and knowledge-based work, eliminating the need for dozens of data extraction tools and delivering smart, accurate, and scalable insights.


Q: What are the advantages that your Cloud based solutions bring to customers? What is the value add?

Organizations across the globe are shifting from CAPEX to OPEX, and this is where AntWorks’ Cloud-based solutions and platforms truly come into their own. Our offerings intersect with the needs of our clients in this space as the age of enterprises wanting – or owning – large data centers slowly come to an end. No one wants them or has the huge CAPEX dollars to invest in them. Moreover, our solutions also eliminate the associated infrastructure costs and the need for large internal IT teams to maintain these centers. The market at large wants to pay only for what they consume and this is where our value-added As-a-Service solutions and subscription-based pricing model comes into play. By providing data accessibility to organizations when, where and how they want it, we are adding value to our strength and service differentiators. Our customers are in the market to win and we’re here to make it happen.

Article Source : http://www.nasscom.in/asheesh-mehra-ceo-antworks

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Dexter Villota

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