Datawise: Offering Strong Modelling Based Data Analytics Solutions

Vinay Kumar ,CEO Datawise - Interview with Fusion Analytics World

In a conversation Mr. Vinay Kumar, Founder and CEO, Datawise divulged Fusion Analytics World how data analytics is helping businesses make informed decisions based on actionable insights.

Please introduce yourself to our readers.

I am Vinay Kumar, the founder of Datawise. I am an engineer from NIT Rourkela, and a PGP from IIM Ahmedabad.

Would like to know how the idea was born and what made you chose that particular idea? Did you had previous background in research & analytics?

The idea of Datawise was born while I was waiting for my flight at the Chicago airport, while I was the CEO of Vasant Scribes.  At a management discussion with my company President, and Chairman the previous evening, a serious point of discussion was that there was no way it would be possible to understand the customer’s behaviour and therefore, it would never be possible to satisfy the customer’s needs.  This left me intrigued as well as frustrated. How could one service a customer if it was not possible to understand their needs? And how could then one satisfy ones’ customers?  These questions bothered me so much that I started doing my own research and I came to learn more about the field of analytics. I followed it up with visits to multiple to smaller companies in the field of analytics.  This increased my resolve to start a company that could offer business analytics.

What is your opinion on how analytics is having an impact on the way businesses work?

Analytics has become a very big leveller. Smaller companies have now become nimbler thanks to their early adaption of analytics, and this has made all industries sit up and take notice.  Having said that, a large chunk of business analytics is still confined to dashboards and MIS reports and has not really moved into the realms of decision analytics.  Improved, and real-time dashboarding has definitely contributed to improved decision making – a study by AT Kearney has established that at least 60% of companies believe this.  But the real potential is in building analytical decision models.  Companies in India are currently moving from the phase of experimentation to self-belief and that is a positive for the analytics industry overall.

How are businesses making use of analytics? How DataWise is adding value to them?

As I mentioned, most companies today have adapted some form of dashboards or the other, and these are supported by a robust back-end software or ERP.  At the other end of the spectrum are companies that use one-off modelling to solve a real life business problem.  A third emerging trend, which is catching on now, is the use of machine learning, or AI for analytics.  The market continues to grow in each of these three areas.

Datawise’ strengths lie in offering strong modelling based data analytics solutions to companies.  Every one of our projects has ended up in delivering significant value to our customers ensuring superior decision making.  This is also borne out by the fact that many of our clients are repeat customers and keep coming back to us for their various requirements.

How difficult it is to convince clients about the benefits of undertaking your research and analytics services OR do you feel they have a fair understanding of the value they will derive?

Ten years ago, we had to literally go to companies and teach them about analytics.  The word Analytics was practically unknown.  Many times, our clients did not even care to know understand the meaning of analytics so long as they received a solution to their business problem. Today, CXOs demand business analytics.  I believe that many of them still do not understand the meaning of it completely, but it has become a buzzword and a standard part of board room discussions.  This is good because at least at the highest levels within companies there is a realisation that analytics is necessary.  However, most companies in India are barely scratching the surface of the potential that analytics has to offer.  I suspect that many of the business leaders still look at analytics as a means to control the data within a company, rather than as a means to unlock value and to stimulate higher growth.

What is the USP of DataWise and how does your engagement model differ from your competitors? Please give a brief about each of your products and 3 service areas?

Datawise offers services on top of strong analytical models that we have created in-house.  Very often our service offerings are on top of these models.  It would be unfair to say that our models achieve results that are different from what our competitors could achieve; however, our model designs are unique and we would like to believe that they are more effective.

Two of our well established products are Dattab, and SatisACTual.  Dattab (data on a Tablet), as the name suggests, improves the field collection of data and dissemination at the click of a button in the form of ready made dashboards to the boardrooms of companies, through a cloud based service.  Companies are able to obtain near real-time information in a easy and effective manner through Dattab, significantly reducing data processing as well as reporting time and cost.

A second product of ours, SatisACTual, is designed to improve customer experience management.  In a world where customer retention is becoming more important than customer acquisition, SatisACTual has become a very important tool for most companies.  The product is designed to gain feedback at various touchpoints in a customer’s journey with a company and ensuring that suitable triggers are generated to alert the client about the need for intervention.  All of this is done through real-time dashboards and built-in escalations.

Finally, we have designed Infinity, a FinTech product that is capable of significantly improving the process of identifying borrowers’ borrowing capacities, and creating user-defined credit risk models that will ensure lower delinquencies.

Can you give an insight into your client list by verticals, geography, revenue size and the kind of projects that you typically engage with? Are they one off engagement or ongoing engagements?

A majority of our engagements are continuing engagements.  Most clients either enter into Master Service Agreements (MSAs) with us, and then keep providing us with assignments as a part of this agreement, or sign up on long term contracts with us.  This ensures a continuing relationship for both of us.  We also have one-off engagements, but our experience has been that these one-off engagements usually lead to more engagements for other requirements for the same clients.

Currently, we service clients in the healthcare, financial services, technology and government functions.  Our clients are spread over Europe, Middle East, India, and the USA.  The pains of each client are very different and while it will be difficult to identify any one specific insight, we have invariably been able to deliver that “AHA” moment for most of our clients.  An interesting project that we did for one of our healthcare clients was where we used our optimisation tool, Optilix to help identify the optimum solution for their diagnostic centre.  Initially, the client did not reveal the specific solution that they had considered as the best.  It was most satisfying for us, when our report came with exactly the same solution that they had intuitively thought as the most appropriate.  This reaffirms the faith that if we know how to create a good models, the results are bound to be actionable.

If you elaborate with few case studies how you have helped your clients through your offerings?

Most of our analytics work happens to be either customer facing or financial analytics.  When we perform financial analytics, we are usually able to provide insights that are normally not easily available to the Client, and invariably that creates a sense of satisfaction.  In one specific instance, we developed a very complex financial model for a government client which helped in reducing the financial costs of a purchase program by many million dollars.

Our customer focused analytics helps clients in realigning their priorities to ensure that their engagements with their customers remains strong.

If you can let us know the challenges/hurdles faced till now by DataWise team and how those were overcome successfully and the lessons learnt.

The field of analytics has changed rapidly over the last few years and we have continuously invested efforts in developing our products and models.  A challenge that we are only now learning to overcome is the constant new developments in the field, including new languages, and technics.  It has been challenging for us to remain focused on our strengths while at the same time ensuring that do not become fossilized.

We encourage new blood as well as new ideas, and in Analytics, perhaps that is the only way to remain relevant and alive.

How your company is scaling up and what its future goals is and if you would like to share anything else which can inspire our readers then please do it.

Right from the start of our journey, we have been very clear that we are not going to be in the people business.  Our growth has followed a non-linear trajectory, and the future is not likely to be any different.

We have had an amazing journey the last couple of years, and growth rates have nearly doubled every year.  I believe that part of this growth is because the markets have started becoming more receptive to business analytics and as one of the early movers, we are reaping the benefits.

Which Analytical Tools and software’s do you use for your business on regular basis?

We have been, and shall remain technology agnostic.  Every time a new technology emerges, we are eager to see whether it has applicability to the problems our clients give to us.  In addition to our own tools, we use open source R, for analytics, and Tableau for data visualisation.

How do you source talent for your organization and what kind of expertise do you look for. What are the vacant positions available currently? Are they full time or contract/remote positions? How can our readers apply for these positions?

There is no mantra for hiring talent.  Good talent is difficult to come by, and therefore we prefer to take bright candidates and provide them the right ambiance to ensure that they are able to add value to the company.  We also do not necessarily hire against a requirement – our preference is to hire the right people and not just filing up positions in the company.  The more diverse the backgrounds, the better it is for our Company.  Readers can apply through our website, or by dropping a mail to hr@mydatawise.com.

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Kalyan Banga200 Posts

I am Kalyan Banga, a Post Graduate in Business Analytics from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, a premier management institute, ranked best B-School in Asia in FT Masters management global rankings. I have spent 6 years in field of Analytics.

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