Agility is a precursor to innovation: Jay Pullur, Pramati Technologies

Jay Pullur, Founder and CEO, Pramati Technologies, discusses how disruptive technology is changing business today

Jay Pullur Pramati Technologies

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A tech savvy humanBOT, Sharmistha is a professional writer

Today’s business exists in a complex, unpredictable and dynamic environment. The volume, speed, and scale of change is so impactful that it is disruptive and can derail an organization’s strategy. As such, organizations are faced with this question: How do we progress and stay competitive in this environment? The answer: Enterprise Agility.

Pramati Technologies, an Indian Product company with expertise in providing technology and engineering support to companies across verticals, is focused on powering enterprise agility of the companies they support. Jay Pullur, Founder and CEO, Pramati Technologies, in an exclusive interview with Techseen, discusses how disruptive technology is changing business today.

Techseen: You have recently partnered with International Institute of Information Technology – Hyderabad (IIIT-H) to foster startups. How has the progress been so far? Are you looking at startups from a specific space?

Pullur: The response has been encouraging. We have so far received interest from 14 startups and have finalised 3 to be part of the innovation hub at IIIT. We are focused on startups that help enterprises innovate their business processes because that is the need of the hour. Enterprises need to cope with rapidly changing markets and technology is a big enabler. However, businesses may not always have the time or the resources to innovate continuously. Technology incubators can play a big role here.

Techseen: Pramati Technologies started in 1998 and is still continuing to hold a competitive edge. What is your formula to stay relevant and successful in this dynamic world of software tech?

Pullur: Pramati started as a software product company and stayed as such. Although services business became lucrative and dominated the bulk of Indian IT, we stayed on course and our decision to stay true to our roots has worked well for us. Even when we ventured into services with Imaginea (our services business), we made a conscious decision to stay away from the support, BPO and KPO routes, even today the bulk of our service business is about product engineering and helping clients build products that really make a dent in the market.

Every facet of Pramati has been about building/ helping build quality software and that’s the competitive edge with which we succeed in these state of market flux. As they say “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, having built the right culture we could expand.

Techseen: How is disruptive technology driving business today? What challenges have driven enterprises to embrace agility?

Pullur: It’s no news that every business is a technology business of some sort today. Tech competency is mandatory for survival and every enterprise we see today are forced some way or the other to unite their talent, innovation potential and user experience into a seamless whole which is why we are seeing increased partnerships dominating the ecosystem. It isn’t usual to find the banking majors of India working closely with a blockchain startup to implement a vendor payments solution, but these are happening today and indicate something important.

– Enterprises find it hard to bubble up innovation, often their org charts come in the way and make them inflexible.
– Innovation is becoming broad based and requires multiple skill sets. Baseline tech and design skills have become table stakes.
– Technologies are emerging at a staggering pace and companies ability to evaluate and adapt to them are trailing behind.

Which is why there is an emphasis on being nimble and agile. Agility is a precursor to innovation. The considerations are more technical. We speak of intra-departmental APIs, rapid app building platforms and collaborative microapps.

You could say digital transformation is about the market facing side and Enterprise Agility is more inward looking. EA is what allows the enterprise to ‘do’ something about market needs. EA is about organisational mechanics.

Techseen: How do you help in powering agility in enterprises?

Pullur: Our primary focus is de-siloing departments within an enterprise. To this effect, we are presently working on an end-to-end product suite that will help businesses become agile. We are very excited about this because we think it will be a game changer. We will make announcements very soon.

Techseen: At a time when Asian markets have become a key focus for many global players, which region in SEA do you think is best suitable for digital expansion? Why?

Pullur: When you say global players, today you can mean anything from taxi-hailing service to self-driven cars. This is because technology is at the heart of everything. And every country is at a different maturity level when it comes to digital technologies. It’s important to consider this. That’s why Singapore may be better to try out driverless cars, but India may be a better playing ground if you are looking at fintech.

For us, we are neutral about geography because our tech works at a fundamental level for the business, not so much at the customer interface. Business agility is a core capability, irrespective of verticals or geographies.

Techseen: There’s a traditional view that to decrease risk, you must reduce change, and manual or large changes can cause increased risk. How true is this? How can the risks be minimized while welcoming change?

Pullur: It isn’t always true, staying within comfort zone is the biggest threat to any business today. I think the technology market has come to a phase where controlling the rate of change is no longer an option. There is only one pace ahead and it is acceleration.

To cope up with this making changes in the realm of just customer experience is not going to cut it anymore. It isn’t about porting applications to cloud, but dockerizing them. It isn’t about doing away with systems of records (ERP), but linking them with a system of engagements (CRM). It isn’t about an ‘app for everything’ but technologies that infuse unsupervised efficiency and collaboration.

And lastly, being digital isn’t just about technology. It is about consciously deserting the comfortable old way and being able to create enough disruption to bring in change across people and processes. Transformation is always inside-out and digital is no different.

The risk associated with transformation can be minimized in multiple ways:

Change where it is hardest, mostly it is where change is right too – Half-hearted digital washing legacy systems isn’t adding value and change need to be made where it matters – in processes and systems.
Consolidate efforts – Evaluate vendors who bring end-to-end value to the table. One for API, one for apps and another for cloud makes the effort fragmented.
Stop paying for aimless explorations – Tech landscape has way too many rising stars. An internal lab initiative that sucks up a lot of budget is usual. Focus on your core and for the rest, go the PoC and partnership way. Test waters before you scale and test it realistically.

– And lastly, make the old and new available in parallel – some way of making them the old and familiar available, while new is being adopted. This calls for old data being made available through an API and innovative new strategies being unleashed on top of the API.

Techseen: What are the 3 things you could have done differently in the company that you are running?

Pullur: Actually, we have no regrets. Like I said earlier, we have been quietly working on an Enterprise Agility product suite for a few years now and I don’t think we could have done it without a certain level of certainty and conviction. In fact, we are so excited about it’s release that we would rather look ahead than look back.

Techseen: What are you plans for the future? Any new product or service coming up?

Pullur: We are looking forward to introduce an end-to-end Enterprise Agility suite that will transform the way businesses are run today. It will enable business process innovation at a scale that wasn’t possible before and it will be a powerful tool for creating fresh forms of business value.

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