together we can change ourself

together we can change ourself

Interviewed with Mr.Abhijit Gangoli – Executive Director, QED

with one comment

• Can we have an overview of solutions and services provided by QED?
QED, started in 2000, was started as a Customer Loyalty Solutions provider and this enabled us to specialize in understanding niche customers and developing one-to-one contact programs for them in the most cost effective manner. We also commenced an arm of the business that specialized in digitizing their legacy data and collating the same into central repositories for easy access. Our next serious step was to take on technology marketing services for software companies. Today, these three form the core of our business activities. We decided to structure the services in a more defined manner to provide better value to clients, So today, QED has three SBUs, QED Baton- which is into niche technology marketing services, QED Carbone- Data Digitization Services, and QED Loyalty- Direct Marketing and Customer Loyalty Programs

In each of these cases, we have tried to retain focus and build value around the service. In the case of loyalty programs, we have refrained from getting into what is commonly accepted as “Integrated Marketing Solutions Providers”, where agencies get into everything from event management to fulfillment to market research surveys!! We focus only on Direct Marketing, Loyalty Programs and Sales Force Management.

QED Baton focuses only providing lead generation services to Software Companies. We believe that focus will help us build value around our organization as a whole.

•What are the expansion plans of QED?
Well, QED was started by three of us friends – we go back to the days of business school – with an initial capital of Rs 10000.00 each. The first couple of years were a sheer struggle as we were trying to prove ourselves in a knowledge-driven market. Today, QED has a healthy client base where

a) We have identified and built on our competencies
b) Clients appreciate the work that we have done, and respect us for our services

We have a strong platform to launch ourselves from here. We plan to grow in two main areas. Baton and Loyalty.. Today, we are a 30 member team, and our goal is to be a 80 member team by march 2006. Marketing efforts to achieve the same are on. As is the dream of most entrepreneurs in our space, our goal is to constantly move up the value chain. Thus QED Enabled Services caters to the possibility of us venturing into the KPO space in the future. As a company, we are not interested in quantity but in quality. The work we do is already quite specialized and we plan to keep it that way, not only in terms of the exclusivity of the work we do, but more importantly, the quality of the people who work with us in order to retain the high quality standards.

• What are the key skills in demand at QED? What kind of career guidance and career growth do you provide for your employees?
At QED, we look for people who have the right aptitude, attitude and the communication skills. For example, from the Baton perspective, which is the more people-intensive of our operations, the candidate should be able to represent a USD 150 Million company and conduct a one to one conversation with senior management personnel of prospect companies. While we prefer graduates from a technical stream, we are not very fixated on educational qualifications. Similarly, each SBU has its own requirements in terms of skill sets. But we are particular about the values and principles that the candidates carry with them.

As would be the case with most start ups we are very well aware of the importance of building a good competent team. And we are also aware of the pressure it puts on us to grow and show results so as to hold on to them !!!

• What can QED offer new recruits/ freshers?
I am very clear in terms of what QED can offer to the new recruits. In the tech marketing space, by the end of the first year, with us, an employee literally knows as much as a business development manager in any software company. There after, either the person grows with us, where we give him or her more responsibility and the opportunity to make a career with us, or the person uses the experience gained with us to join the IT field in the space of pre sales or business development. Most people who join us do not have any IT back ground and no MBA qualifications. IT companies generally look for people with MBA backgrounds, and a lot of people from QED go on to further do their post graduation, where again the experience at QED plays a huge role. In fact, a lot of our team members get absorbed by our clients themselves, and we take great pride in that.

I have no qualms about people using us as a stepping stone. After all, If we are adding value to our employees, then they will see no reason to leave us anyway. We need people who are ambitious and serious about their careers.

Bottom line is, we give direction to the people who join us. We make them realize that there is more to your career than simply joining a BPO outfit and earning Rs.12000 as pocket money. How far will that take you ???? It’s a scary thought!

• Compensation strategy adopted by QED..
At QED Baton, we have more of a self regulated environment. End of the day, our guys call posing as business development managers of large organizations, and they need to think and behave like that. They can’t be and are not treated like 18 year olds. Every one is made aware of their responsibilities and deliverables, and everyone works hard towards them. Which is not to say that we do not have any monitoring measures. There are the regular weekly reviews, monthly meetings and corrective measures taken to address deviations. With targets come incentives, and we have contests like best performer of the month, and many more to motivate the teams.

The people joining QED need to have a good command over the domain they work on. We provide them with the basic training and inputs for them to get a grasp over the job profile. However, a lot of the learning is also self driven. And what a person learns is what he/she takes active interest in. Besides this, we have regular presentations by team members, helping them improve their domain knowledge and communication skills. We also have people from the industry come down and give talks on specific technologies, management concepts. Besides this, our executives work very closely with the client teams, and thus get a lot of exposure from them as well.

Work pressure and stress are things which cannot be avoided in a professional environment. Besides the regular one to one counseling and motivational talks, what works best at QED is the sense of ownership and self regulation that we inculcate into our people. For example, we do not believe in micro level monitoring of people. We would rather believe that they realize what is expected of them, and they know best what needs to be done to achieve the same. Of course, we also have a lot of fun at work, which makes the office a preferred destination for people even on their off days. In fact, being an entrepreneur, one of my dreams was to be able to get my dog to office, which I do some times, and that is a big stress buster. Maybe some day, as we grow, we will encourage our staff to get their pets to office, and create an environment very different from most other organizations.
• Your dream as the Director of the company?
To put it in simple words, we wish to retain a strong focus on every service offering we provide, and we do strive to be the best in the field. At QED, we do not believe in justifying our value to our clients. Our clients see it in the performance we deliver. It does not matter what we think about or work. What matters is what the client thinks about us.

On the services front, there are obvious pressures on us in terms of increasing profitability and realization per resource. One way to do that is to: create a niche for yourself, where you can command a healthy service retainer from your clients purely based on the quality of your service. Another is to move up the value chain into again specialized services that demand a high level of domain specialization and therefore command a higher level of profitability. My dream is to create a company, where clients are happy and see complete value in working with us, and where employees are proud to be a part of the QED team. No matter how big we get, we shall retain these basic values.

• Most unique policy at QED?
The HR policies at QED are unique and we hold them very dear to us. We believe policies are one thing but empathy is the most important policy and this helps us to be flexible and attentive to the needs of our people, whom we invest in and cherish.
• What is the mission statement of the company?
To provide quality service to our clients, while adding value to every process that we take on.
To become more of a value added partner vis-a-vis our clients rather than pure vendors.
To go beyond the call of commitment and take up ownership for every project, assignment that we take on.
• What is the company’s vision?
We want to build a company, where every member of our organization realizes the importance of professional delivery. Where every member has the space to learn, innovate and grow both personally as well as professionally. Very clichéd statements……… but while this might be possible when you are a start up company with 30 people, the challenge lies in maintaining the same values and business ethics as you scale up, with multiple levels of hierarchy. That’s why it becomes even more important to cultivate these values into the people working with us, because tomorrow they would be handling people under them, and would need to proliferate the same values to the people down the chain.

• How do you describe the organisation culture at QED………….
QED is great place to work at. We allow people to be themselves and be comfortable in the space that they are in. We make our people realize that work can be fun, and more importantly unless you push yourself you will never experience satisfaction. Our people are simply driven to prove themselves. Not because they have some one sitting on their heads, but because they want to perform for their own self. Moreover, the competitive spirit is so high that people are motivated to deliver purely on the sight of others around them. Something I picked up from my stint at Xerox. At QED, we encourage people to learn all the time. We teach them to accept their weaknesses and work towards overcoming them rather than sweeping them under the carpet. Realizing and admitting your weaknesses allows you to overcome the same and get rid of all insecurities that exist due to this. Insecurities are one of the prime reasons for power games, internal politics and thereby inefficient work environment. We ensure that does not happen at QED by maintaining a complete open door culture. And this is what helps people grow as individuals. They realize their strengths, their weaknesses. In a span of six months you start seeing a sea of change in the way they think. Overall, this also creates a strong sense of loyalty towards the organization. Our people love working at QED, and its great fun to listen to their conversations when they are approached by head hunters

RECRUITMENT PHILOSOPHY

Being a small and compact team, it becomes that much more imperative that every person who joins QED has the required skills to be among the best. At QED, we take care to bring on only those that we see fit to work with us. There are no compromises. And attracting good manpower is a daunting task for any company. More so for a start up.

The procedure for recruitment is well established. The candidate initially goes through a telephonic screening, where he/she is gauged on his/her communication skills and phone etiquettes. There after the candidate is asked to come down to our office with a clear warning not to expect a large glass façade building with a 2000 square foot reception. This helps coz, we have actually seen candidates come to our office, glance inside and be on their way pretending they were lost . Lets face it we have our limitations. But we make up for them in more than one ways.

The candidate then undergoes an aptitude test, which is followed by an interview. Our interview panel always consists of 2 or more people, so as to eliminate any form of bias. Over and above this, the candidate if approved is further interviewed by the team leader. If the team leader is not comfortable with the candidate we try and fit them elsewhere, and in the event they do not fit in anywhere, they are not made an offer. This is important because once the candidate is assigned to a team, his/her performance is the complete responsibility of the team leader/manager. No excuses are entertained after that.

We pay reasonably better than the industry standards. And we expect nothing less than complete commitment from the candidates. They are clearly told about the benefits of working at QED, the advantages, the short comings, what they can expect to take from this experience and what we expect of them. Our processes are extremely knowledge intensive, with a high level of client involvement. Hence Attrition is something we simply cannot afford. Fortunately, so far we have practically zero attrition. If people leave us, they are mostly for higher studies or because they get absorbed into their respective companies, about which we have no qualms

Our expectations are very clear. We look for candidates who are mature and sure about where they are heading in life. We come across a lot of people with unconventional ideas about their careers, but as long as they are passionate about it, we respect their ideas. In fact, unconventional guys seem to do better at QED. We clearly expect our candidates to commit 8 months to a year to us. Beyond that, if the candidate is happy with us, and we give them the opportunity to grow, they would stay anyways.

COMPANY PROFILE

Started in the year 2000, QED comprises of three main SBU’s catering to a focused set of services. For strategic reasons there are two companies a)QED Loyalty Management Private Limited b)QED Enabled Services Private Limited

A part of QED Enabled Services Private Ltd., QED Baton provides specialized technology marketing services, the effective B2B Lead Generation for Software Product and Services Companies. This SBU was effected in the year 2003 ( http://www.qedbaton.com)

QED Carbone provides professionals with state-of-the-art systems and technology to provide data entry, digital document archiving and document digitization & conversion services, thus offering a one stop solution to all your data capture and processing needs. Our solutions help firms reduce costs, increase revenue and better manage their information. ( http://www.qedcarbone.com) QED Loyalty is a new age Direct Marketing and Customer Loyalty Management Services Company which uses innovative strategy and technology to identify, keep and optimize customers. We focus purely on Direct Marketing, Customer Contact & Loyalty Programs- for internal or external customers .(channel partners, influencer groups or end customers) (www.qedworld.net)

Interviewed with Mr. Devesh Upadhyaya – Proprietor, iQuest Consultants.

http://www.timesjobs.com/JobFair/PuneJobFair/iquest_interview.htm

• Can we have an overview of services provided by iQuest?
iQuest consultants is the biggest IT recruiting company under one roof in Maharashtra. We have 40 highly qualified and experienced recruiters with us in our Pune office, and 10 in our Bangalore office .

We are primarily an executive search company, which supplies best of talent available in our market, to our clients.

We specialize in the IT, Telecom and KPO sector. We have over 75 clients all over the world that we service from our Pune and Bangalore office.

• What are the key skills in demand in the IT Sector?
iQuest has a tremendous database of its own .We have over one lakh CV’s of IT professionals, which are not available in the various portals. We service our clients on all the latest technologies in the gamut of IT and ITES. Some of the technologies that are in demand these days are Java, J2EE, J2ME, UNIX, SIP, SYMBIAN, BREW, ORACLE 11i, SAP, Siebel, embedded technologies, etc.

• Is there any kind of career guidance that you provide to jobseekers?
Yes we do counsel them on the market needs and how their career should be profiled.

• Your dream as the Proprietor of the company?
After spending 22 years in the Army, iQuest was started by me 5 years back when the Internet bubble had just burst. It was a one-man army for 3 years. 2 years back we decided to expand, in a matter of 2 years we have become 50 times our size. We plan to be a 100 people company by the end of 2006. My aim for iQuest is that within next 3 years we should have our offices in all major cities of the world and be the no.1 preferred recruiting partner for all the IT companies of those countries.

• Most unique policy at iQuest?
The most unique policy of iQuest is to be absolutely transparent within and outside the organization.

• What are the strengths of iQuest Consultants?
The strengths of IQUEST are as follows:

1. The ethics
2. Transparency
3. Highly Qualified Professionals (huge database)
4. Headhunting skills
5. Speed and quality

• What are your views and comments on the Placement consultancy market in Pune?
With the advent of lot of small time consultants the market is getting more and more congested by the day. Infact for big time operators like iQuest the market is booming. iQuest has made its own space and hence all our clients give us repeat orders. As the IT jobs keep moving from West to India the market is only likely to grow.

RECRUITMENT PHILOSOPHY

In today’s competitive environment, time and cost have become important aspects of recruitment for every company. iQuest can helps its clients in saving these when it comes to selection and recruitment of the right people.

As a client, this is what you look forward to:
An excellent databank because your organization always needs talent.
Filtered resumes according to your requirements.
We offer an entire gamut of recruitment based activities which include gathering information about the client in terms of their standing in the market, the domains, the company’s line of business, market standing, the verticals they work on, their work culture.
Understanding the requirements, and defining the channels of sourcing for the same like headhunting, referrals , networking, databases, advertisements.
Short listing according to the job specifications.
Conducting psychometric and technical tests for clients on request.
Scheduling interviews.
Conducting reference checks.
Follow up with candidates & clients at all levels.
Feedback of recruited candidates on a regular basis.
Thus through our recruitment process we look towards a long term association with our clients, were in we can work as a team in achieving the goals.

Interviewed with Anand Kumar , Director, La’venir Consulting
http://www.timesjobs.com/JobFair/PuneJobFair/lavenir_interview.htm

” A Serious Business ”

Anand Kumar, La Venir feels that there is more to placement agencies than just catering to the recruitment needs of the clients. An IIT graduate and an MBA, Anand Kumar has too many credentials to be on the other side of the fence. “This began as an experiment when I was studying for MBA in Pune,” says Anand Kumar of La Venir, consulting firm in placements. “It was after I realized the scope of the work and the challenge of giving a new dimension to the Recruitment consultancy he picked up the gauntlet and decided to jump into it full time. He believes that recruitment is a serious business and prefers calling himself a consultant than a recruitment agency. “That is because we do not want to restrict ourself, but plan to move into the entire gamut of HR operations he says. “When I started this company, I looked around and found that the most of the existing recruitment consultancies would do nothing more than just acting as a catalyst between the employee and the employer, where in the scope of a recruitment consultant has to be more than that .

In a short span of two years lavenir Consulting has been able to established itself as one of the favoured partners to its existing set of clients acting not only as a sourcing machine for them but also being a consultant to them and being a part through out the hiring process. which according to us does not end at the joining of the prospective employee but continues to ensure that the employee and the employer are satisfied with the mutual relationship. Growing from a one man army the team is now 10 and by 2007 we see ourselves at a strong resource pool of 100 resourcing consultants serving the industry with a difference every one can feel.

Lavenir Consulting currently operates in IT, ITES, Telecom and in next two years plan to add Manufacturing and Banking industry consolidating itself strongly in all the fields

Lavenir Consulting is a journey to catapult the world of recruitments to new horizons, giving new dimensions and setting new benchmarks for those in the industry, carrying not only the employers but the whole Fraternity of professionals along with it.

Website: http://www.lavenirconsulting.com

RECRUITMENT PHILOSOPHY

If we all thought recruitment is just getting the right person at right time at right place and at right price, its time we rethink if its that simple. Recruitment is not just getting vacancy filled. In our opinion that is just halfway through recruitment, because the problems start after that , they are
Attrition
False Commitments
Discrepency in perceived role and responsibility .
Increasing Market and opportunities .
Interpersonal issues with peers and superiors .
Work delegated not in tune with the professional interest .
Hence our recruitment philosophy takes into account all these parameters while hunting a prospective employee for any employer.We at lavenir consulting conduct an extensive screening process to ensure the current requirements and the future anticipated problem, are taken care of.

We have a seven-stage recruitment Process:
Understanding the employer in terms of Brand acceptability, Market standing, Work Culture, Employee Policies and Benefits .
Nailing down the job requirements to the minutest of details vis a vis – Job Profile , Responsibility , reporting structure , Expectations on the job , deliverables, salary bracket for that particular level , salaries of the would be peers.
An idea from the employee as to any specific companies should be targeted .
Hunt for the candidates begins with a 360 degree approach , i.e. through databases, referrals , advertisements , Head hunting .
Once the pool of prospective employers is generated the extensive screening process at our end starts vis a vis the job requirements , personal and professional skills needed so that the employer does not face any problem with the employee in future.
Then the profiles are recommended to the prospective employers and we coordinate the interview.
Once the employer accepts the candidate as an employee there is a mechanism of being constantly in touch with the Employee check on the satisfaction levels and any arising is brought to the notice of the employer .
In all our recruitment philosophy is a 360 Degree approach to selling an employer to an employer and vice versa, Cautious enough not to undersell or oversell anyone and making the facts as it is , available to each so that the relationship of theirs last longer

Interviewed with Mr.Sandeep Phadke General Manager, Ensim India

http://www.timesjobs.com/JobFair/PuneJobFair/ensim_interview.htm

• What are the issues you face with regard to attraction and retention ?
Given that the demand for software professionals outstrips the supply by a huge factor, we are faced with the problem of attracting and retaining good employees. While we are not a big brand name in India yet, being a product company helps in attracting good talent, something unique in India based IT companies. It is a little easier to retain as employees are convinced of our potential once they are on board.

• Compensation strategy (contribution analysis). Some details about reward and recognition, training, stress mgmt., work under pressure, motivation, creativity and initiatives.
Ensim has a compensation structure that rewards performance. Ensim has a sound awards and recognition program. The culture and work environment at Ensim provides a lot of opportunity to be creative and take initiatives too. Every employee gets salary as well as Ensim stock options. Ensim India encourages its employees to participate in lots of extracurricular activities (sports/picnics/etc.) to help employees reduce stress as well as maintain the creative edge.

• Role of your HR is it different from other industries?
The role of Ensim’s HR is similar to other IT organizations which operate on the same scale. It is certainly different from the role played by HR in other industries.

• Your dream as head of your company?
Getting to extremely satisfied customers, motivated employees, trusting and supporting stakeholders.

• Most unique policy of your Company?
We trust our employees. We pay for performance. Transparency in decision making and openness to new ideas.

• What is your customer profile?
The entire gamut of hosting service providers – Web, Broadband/Telecom and Mobile service providers

• How do you source talent? What according to you is the most effective method?
Various sources – Employee referrals, Job portals, Recruitment agencies, Campus and Newspaper ads. From retention perspective we have found that our referral scheme has been the most effective.

• What is the mission statement of the company?
Ensim’s mission is “To ensure the speedy and uninterrupted growth of business with innovative products. The company will always seek to help businesses to penetrate the market with great ease but with high sophistication, launch diverse services from a single platform, reduce costs through automation and obtain tiered services to meet their budgets”.

• What is the company’s vision?
Our vision is “To become the leading provider of software solutions that enable service providers to accelerate the creation, control and delivery of high-value applications as hosted services”.

• How do you describe the organisation culture?
Employee friendly, Customer focused, Fostering innovation and creativity. We offer flexi-hours and tele-commuting.

• What does the company do for corporate social responsibility ?
In the past we have done our bit for national causes – contributions made to various relief funds. We hope to be involved and support more in specific causes over a period of time.

• Whats the future for VOIP in India?
Ever since the government deregulated Internet telephony three years back, more and more Indians are turning to this new technology to keep in touch with their loved ones abroad as it is far cheaper than the normal telephone calls. Taking advantage of the economics involved, large Indian corporate’s are already using this technology to their advantage. Despite tight regulations, bandwidth problems and the quality of service issues, it is estimated by 2007, about 70 per cent of all long distance calls would be made through Internet telephony or Voice over Internet Protocol. As the PC penetration at homes is continuously increasing and consequently the Internet usage, we can only envisage growth in usage of this technology. India is the second largest market for VoIP services in Asia after China. The Indian IP telephony is expected to register an average growth of 60 per cent over the next 3-5 years. This is one communication revolution waiting to happen.

• How’s acquiring Telegea going to help?
The acquisition accelerated Ensim’s foray into the VoIP domain by about two years. And the synergy is already working. We already have several large customers using our products.

• Do you think India is ready for this?
Yes People are looking forward to easy-to-use, low-cost long distance calling options.

•What would you say makes Ensim superior to other hosting automation solutions?
Ensim offers the most secure, stable and scalable solution. We provide out-of-box solutions which reduces the time to revenue for service providers. Ensim has been the market leader in the hosting solutions space and continues to outpace the competition.

•What is the most exciting and challenging part of your job?
Growing a company that builds/markets/maintains cutting-edge high quality products in India for a world-wide customer base is a very exciting job.

Written by Bhushan Kulkarni

February 9, 2007 at 5:37 am

Posted in Management

Tagged with ,

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  1. […] Interviewed with Mr.Abhijit Gangoli – Executive Director … – • What are your views and comments on the Placement consultancy market in Pune? … In the past we have done our bit for national causes … Brain Teasers; Buddha; Credit cards; Daniel Goleman; English Laungauge; Freud; Help for MS Office; Humor; […]


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