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Empowering Individuals – Envisioning Innovation : Rahul L. Kanodia – Entrepreneur of the Month

Great managers turn hard times into opportunities for change. Likewise, generals are proven only in the heat of battle, not on the parade grounds.

Under Rahul’s aegis, Datamatics has become one of the fastest growing IT/ITeS companies among all the listed out sourcing companies on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange.

Success Mantra
All of us, as is the human nature, want to become successful and everyone strives for enduring success. Rahul L. Kanodia is no exception to this innate human desire, but he knows too well that there are no shortcuts to success!

Rahul is the Vice Chairman and CEO at Datamatics Global Services Limited. He heads all strategic and corporate initiatives globally, and has over 25 years of professional experience. He is responsible for driving the company’s strategic process to identify, evaluate and integrate organic and inorganic business growth options, including mergers & acquisitions, partnerships and alliances.

Rahul also serves as the Chairman for the Western Region of ESC (Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council, Government of India’s largest Electronics and IT trade facilitation organization), and is a member of NASSCOM’s Regional Council. In addition to this, he serves on the Advisory Board of Columbia University’s India Business Initiative (New York), and the Client Advisory Board of Citi Commercial Bank Asia (Hong Kong).

Rahul, who is also an avid sports person, equates life and business to a marathon. During the course of the marathon, you will have successes and failures. In order to succeed, you cannot give in or give up; but have to stay on the course; and make best of the situation by learning from your mistakes. Only a single minded focus on the finish line will keep you on track. Just the same way, businesses will have its ups and downs. And focused approach towards the end goal will bring you out as winner!
He surely lives by this philosophy.

Beginning of Professional Journey
At the age of twenty-five in 1992, he established Datamatics America in New York. When he returned to India, Rahul forged alliances with global leaders in networking, mobile computing and security solution providers. He soon became the Managing Director, contributing greatly to making Datamatics a pioneer in leading edge IT solutions. His lateral approach led Datamatics to enter into global strategic alliances with leading technology providers, like IBM, Filenet, Microsoft, HP, Sitecore, to name a few. It is these initiatives that have resulted in Datamatics becoming a trendsetter in harnessing the power of Information Technology into opportunities for growth.

While conceptualizing and implementing growth strategies, and forging strategic alliances with Fortune 500 companies, Rahul initiated organizational restructuring and financial re-engineering for supporting rapid growth. These initiatives provided the platform for Datamatics to establish operations in USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and Australia. In the past decade, he has played a key role in re-positioning and transforming Datamatics from a Service led organization to a Solutions and Product led organization focused on delivering next-generation business solutions to address its customers’ strategic and operational challenges.

Under Rahul’s aegis, Datamatics has become one of the fastest growing IT/ITeS companies among all the listed outsourcing companies on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange. Recognizing his contribution, in the year 2014, he was presented with ‘CEO of the Year Award’ for his exemplary leadership amongst organizations from across 41 Asian countries.

Strategic Direction
A quote from one of the books which has inspired Mr. Rahul Kanodia reads,
“When you marry operating excellence with innovation, you multiply the value of your creativity.” ~Jim Collins, Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck- Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

This is exactly the crux of Datamatics’ journey, from a services company into a business solutions company. As the customer’s prerogative shifted from simplecost savings to encompass a holistic solution for business growth; Datamatics, under the leadership of Rahul, well positioned itself to provide ‘Data-to-Intelligence’ suite of offerings across verticals.

Rahul emphasizes that customer satisfaction is the most important component in Datamatics’ success story. We have been able to set new milestone by delivering excellence in technology to help our clients meet their business objectives.

People Centricity
Rahul believes that Datamatics’ ability to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the new millennium comes from the people, its most valuable asset. Very early on, he realised that employees, with their skills, dedication and commitment; rise to face every challenge. He emphasized this fact by encompassing people in the quality processes, through the People-Capability Maturity Model (P-CMM), a model aimed at empowering employees and creating an institutionalised way of developing, managing and delivering competencies. Through his initiative and guidance, Datamatics attained the distinction of being one of only three organizations worldwide to achieve Level 5 of the P-CMM and SEI-CMM across the enterprise.

Rahul fully appreciates the value of good education. He himself holds an MBA degree from Columbia University (USA), with a major in Business Strategy & Marketing and a minor in Mergers & Acquisition and Turnaround Management. He has 2 Bachelor degrees from H. R. College (India), with specialization in Finance & Accounting, and Babson College (USA), with specialization in Management Information Systems.

At Datamatics, to continuously ensure a steady growth, Rahul focuses on nurturing innovation and excellence through training, research & development initiatives. He instituted the Datamatics University (DU), to enrich Datamatics’ human resource with knowledge and skills. The DU regularly conducts technical and personal development training to keep employees abreast with the latest developments worldwide.

Learnings along the road
According to Rahul, it is very important to know where you are headed. He shared with us an incident highlighting this virtue, an incident that left an ever lasting impression on him.

“Once, when I had just learnt how to drive, our family had gone to our farm. Since I had just learnt a new skill, I was always ready to jump behind the wheels. On this occasion it was raining heavily so I took it upon myself to turn the car and drive it under the porch so that family members could board without getting wet. In the process of turning the car, I ran it into a large tin can of pesticide. My father then told me – what’s more important than putting the car in gear and moving it is seeing where you are going. This of course was a very simple lesson at that time. But today it carries a very different significance when I apply the rule to business. What’s more important than running the operations of the company is seeing where it’s going? This is very important as it constantly forces you to look ahead, look outside the organization, at the environment around, and at the direction the company is taking. And this element is central to ensuring that the company is always going in the right direction and does not run into an unexpected accident.”

Rahul also gave wise counsel, from which we all can learn. He advised that three things will help the next-generation CEO’s surge forward in their career, which are-
• ability to think ahead of visible challenges
• ability to strategize beyond short-term goals
• ability to visualize the change and drive it

The Road Ahead
Rahul is proud of his legacy and connects with his learnings from the past from time to time. But it’s the possibilities of future that IT and digital revolution is redefining each passing day that excites him.

He, along with his team, is focused on helping its global clients transform into truly digital, data-driven enterprises; empowering them to take advantage of the digital revolution to innovate, differentiate and grow.

We wish him and his company all the very best and success in future endeavours.

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