Mr Rakesh Rathi is an MBA/Engineer from leading #1 institution from Switzerland and India. He is based in Europe since 28 years and recipient of multiple corporate awards including a prestigious Presidential Award for engaging with C-Suite executives and also the AsiaOne/CNBC Global Indian Award. He has featured in leading publications such as Forbes, Fortune, Business Today and also in CNBC. His core areas of expertise include transformation (business and technology), SMAC (Social, Mobility, Analytics, and Cloud), Robotics and Wireless (Wifi6, 5G), IoT (Internet of Things) et al.
Mr Rathi is also a humanitarian supporting rural schools for underprivileged children facilitating on-line mainstream education (MOOCs) using remote digital tools and has received recognition from the state for this initiative collaborating with the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) efforts of a leading global Fortune 100 corporate firm.
TAKING A BALANCED APPROACH
Rakesh believes “Business transformation is a long-term marathon, not a sprint. Companies require to balance innovation and technology with enhanced and new business models to gain competitive edge, revenue and customer experience.” According to him, this facilitates “operational efficiency resulting in better management of working capital / OPEX and inventory / CAPEX, maturing customer experience (CX).” Sharing similar viewpoints of some of the top business leaders, he elaborates, “During a recent interview, Mark Schneider (CEO, Nestlé) said ‘….when it comes to safety in the pandemic, we want no stone unturned if we send hundreds and thousands of people to work every day.’ Similarly, Vas Narasimhan (CEO, Novartis) has advocated ‘unbossed leadership’ at Novartis which resonates well given healthcare sector has accelerated significantly due to the pandemic.
He rightly concludes, “So, clearly while Revenue and Profitability is important for any business, leaders nowadays also look at the holistic ecosystem across corporate ethics, fairness to their employees, D&I, empowering talent, inspiring workers, creating a purposedriven workplace and having empathy, which has taken a precedence in their narrative and is now the accepted norm as compared to controlling by ‘old-style’ power.”
CARVING A DIGITAL ROUTE TO SUCCESS
His vision for future is that “technology has evolved from a business enabler to a critical driver for all organizations. Organizations that understand this fundamental shift must learn to navigate such challenges as modernizing platforms, leveraging data and analytics to improve operations and products, building capabilities, creating a software engineering culture. Business and IT leaders have to deliver end-to-end techenabled transformations by focusing on IT infrastructure, architecture, operations, and overall tech strategy. Every company wants the power of insights-driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence. But like any complex undertaking, making that wish a reality involves specialized expertise and a lot of investment … unless someone else will do the heavy-lifting for you”
He vehemently asserts that “IT (Information Technology) is the backbone of all business functions and we are looking at a seismic shift in the scaling of digitization, at a pace never seen before. Technology spend is expected to increase to more than $2.9 trillion by 2021, so clearly IT will be key for any business to drive competitive edge since every company now is a technology company driven by customer centricity (CX) and this resonates across B2B and B2C.” He further elaborates, “Role of a CIO (Chief Information Officer) and CDO (Chief Digital Officer) have moved beyond being a cost-center and their point of view are being discussed in board-rooms as part of corporate strategy. Cloud is at the center of digital transformation and in parallel we have to build a strong infrastructure for a digitally empowered ecosystem”.
An ardent advocate of customer centricity, he believes in aligning customer service with organizational goals. In his view “there will be 50 billion connected devices in the world in the near future. As such, high speed network and internet mobility (Wifi6, 4G, 5G) and an automated ecosystem ‘technology as a service’ around PaaS/SaaS/IaaS (i.e. IoT, Cloud, Data Centers, Robotics, Mobility, Analytics, Computational power et al) to accelerate transactions in every business will be the centre stage of digital revolution where innovation has become the norm as a game-changer. A customer-centric firm is the catalyst on how new technologies are deployed as such it is imperative we listen to our customers & ensure we align to their objectives.”
SPINNING A GREAT SUCCESS SAGA
He derives his motivation to excel from his close and active engagement with CXOs of large global MNCs around their corporate strategy driving innovation. He believes that Covid-19 pandemic is a monumental changeover for business as usual and a launching pad for organizations to become virtual, digital-centric, and agile – and to do it all at lightning-fast speed. As leaders look ahead to the future, they ask: How do we keep this momentum going? How do we take the best of what we’ve learned and put into practice through the pandemic, and make sure it’s woven into everything we do going forward? Speed is of essence and is unleashing a wave of innovation unlike anything we’ve ever seen before! Even before the pandemic, over 85% of the companies surveyed thought that this business model would not remain viable at the rates of digitization. The pandemic just put that whole scenario on steroids. The companies that are leading the way from the crises, the ones that will grab market share and set the tone and tempo for others, are the leaders. The fundamental reality is that the accelerating speed of digital means that we are increasingly living in a winner-take all-world. However, simply going faster isn’t the answer. Rather, winning companies are investing in tech, data, processes and people to enable speed through better decisions and faster course corrections based on what they learn.
DEDICATED TO SOCIAL WELFARE
Rakesh considers CSR as an important attribute for every firm. He asserts, “Leaders today look beyond Revenue & Profitability. They have the advantage of being in influential positions of large firms with abundance of resources (financial, manpower, expertise) and are socially obliged to use these resources to empower those with limited means.” A humanitarian at heart, Mr. Rathi has been involved with ILO, Switzerland and World Bank for the development of Re-insurance in India & Philippines. In his free time, he also supports development of schools for underprivileged children in rural country-side using on-line digital technology and has received state recognition for this.