The Silicon Review
“We at Sage IT believe that for us to survive, innovation is a must.”
Companies today are going through digital transformation with data being an integral part of the business growth process. There is pressure to decrease costs and increase sales in every company. This can be done through the employment of services that reduce human labor and decrease the margin of error i.e., the automation process. IT companies across every sector are working hard to deliver the demands placed to innovate and redesign technology to perform better than before. Sage IT, Inc. is one such IT firm that has been striving to achieve great feats for the past 16 years.
Sage is an IT services, solutions, products, and professional services company that helps fulfill its clients’ business goals. It has a deep understanding of business and IT complexities and helps its clients strategize, architect, deploy, secure, and manage difficult enterprise solutions. It was founded in 2004 and currently has offices in Frisco (Texas, USA), Reading (UK), and Hyderabad and Chennai (India).
AravindKashyap: Interview Highlights
Q. Explain the history of Sage IT from conception to date.
Sage IT is an innovative IT solutions, services, and products firm that has been helping small, medium and enterprise-sized customers over the last 15 years. We have strong technical expertise combined with a deep understanding of domain knowledge and offer a wide array of customized solutions to help customers in their digital transformation journey.
We help solve business challenges through deep technical expertise while applying Cloud, Integration, IoT, Mobility, UI/UX, Analytics and Automation technologies in smarter ways. We move forward with our customers to crush costs, grow sales, and transform. Sage IT is a fast-growing organization and was listed by Inc 5000 as an honoree in 2016 as one of the fastest-growing company with 179 percent growth. Sage IT is recognized for its strength in extended-enterprise applications, automation, and fast data applications, as the undisputed leader amongst similar sized companies. The company was recognized as the 2019’s ‘Innovative Partner of the Year’ award by TIBCO and has been the winner of 2019’s ‘IQBot Challenge’ by Automation Anywhere.
Q. What is the impact of big data and technology on businesses? And what do you think is the next big thing in the IT sector?
The most fundamental change we are seeing is the availability of data. Businesses have long been accumulating data for years – be it Sales data, customer data, or product data. It is now being put to use within the business. The use of such data has become the biggest differentiator for successful businesses. Platforms that aggregate, correlate, and attribute data at scale have been built by organizations. Companies have started to realize how they can use past historical data to have actionable insight for impactful decisions in the future. Businesses are now able to use AI and algorithms to crunch the data, extract meaning out of them, and allow decision making to happen in real-time. Product placements, product pricing, supply chain sourcing, shipment optimization, customer churn management, and margin optimization are all use cases of how big data, AI, and ML algorithms are helping companies. However, the future is even brighter and bigger. The future of IT is to create systems that correlate multiple input variables, systems that self-heal and self-correct, and systems that act in real-time at scale. Imagine in the future, doctors can be equipped with information to make real-time decisions on patients’ diagnosis, marketing managers equipped with buying patterns to make real-time decisions on product launches, and supply chain managers equipped with global disruptions to make real-time supply chain changes.
Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years?
I would not necessarily call what we faced as ‘challenges’. I will call the initial years as an exciting learning period. The initial years were all about building a foundation of understanding and seeing what it means to our customers. We started by looking at what brings maximum benefit to the customer and how we can differentiate ourselves from the crowded market. Defining value propositions, identifying business benefits, institutionalizing them through accelerators, solution components, building human capabilities through training, and certification are all the activities that we did in the initial years. As you see, it is all a part of the learning curve within the organization.
Q. Automation is the new buzzword; do you think businesses must embrace automation to achieve higher operational efficiency?
It is an interesting topic to consider. Automation is necessary for businesses to achieve higher operational efficiency; however, it is not all that sufficient to achieve higher efficiency. I’ll break this down further.
Higher efficiency is always driven by lean operations, optimized resources, higher throughput, best practices, and knowledgeable operators. All of the above factors are needed to achieve the highest level of efficiency. Automation enables this to happen – if we address the conditions. At Sage IT, we strongly articulate a 4-step methodology to achieve high operational efficiency – eliminate, re-engineer, re-architect and automate. Every one of the steps in the methodology has enhanced the operational efficiency curve and has helped our customers. One thing to note is that automation results in quick benefits, which can be sustained by taking steps to eliminate, re-engineer, and re-architect systems, and processes.
Q. A tech company needs to be very agile with product and service innovation to withstand the competition, what is your approach towards innovation?
We at Sage IT believe that for us to survive, innovation is a must. We also believe that innovation is not something that is grandiose and requires millions of dollars and hours to achieve. Innovation starts small with one thing at a time leading to enormous benefits. Innovation is also not an invention. Innovation is making changes to something already established, which brings added value and benefit to the customer. Such change can be through the introduction of new methods, ideas, or products. In every single project or program that we undertake, we insist on smaller innovations – either in the process, technology or in the solution. Sustaining innovation is very important for our organization. Innovation must be showcased, leveraged, and used across the organization. Through a rewards and recognition program, we can make this happen. It is a part of the Sage IT culture.
Q. Please explain your products and services in brief.
Sage IT services are logically grouped under three major categories — Cognitive Automation, Digital Modernization, and Customer Interactions. These three services help our customers to crush costs and grow sales.
Cognitive Automation service brings together automation and AI, with services like automation advisory, establishing centers of excellence, business analysis, and ROI articulation, developing cognitive automation programs, and managing and supporting enterprise automation.
Digital Modernization service brings together the platform to modernize applications, data, and processes. This includes integration services, API management services, legacy modernization services, data-to-value services, cloud adoption services, and application development and maintenance services.
Customer Interactions service brings together the platform for 1-1 interaction with the customer. This includes SFDC implementation, support and consulting services, dynamic CRM services, mobility development services, and chat/voice interaction services.
Q. Most of the tech companies invest more than a reasonable part of their profits in R&D, which sometimes is not a better option. What is your approach to keeping your company standing?
We have been successful in managing this through a combination of working with our OEM technology partners and engaging in developing solutions/accelerators. We are constantly working with our partners including TIBCO, MuleSoft, GCP, AWS, Microsoft, Automation Anywhere, UiPath, and SFDC at an engineering level to keep ourselves updated on new products, enhancements, and implementations. This has helped us to fuel our efforts in R&D, keeping our technology practices team forward-looking.
Q. Customer service varies, but companies can still be successful. How do you maintain your customers’ trust and loyalty?
Our growth is only possible by managing customer service and keeping the highest level of customer satisfaction. We have done this successfully by investing in designated account managers and service delivery leads, which not only work on the services delivered but also engage with the customers proactively. We constantly bring new ideas, solutions, and ways of doing things to the customer. This combined with cognitive automation and digital modernization becomes even more powerful in bringing business value to our customers. Putting the customer first and delivering true business value demonstrates our commitment to our relationship with our customers and their success.
Q. Do you have any new products ready to be/getting ready to be launched?
Yes. We are constantly bringing out solutions and accelerators to the market. Last year saw the launch of Marlin™, TibTrack™, and AutomatiQC™ as solutions to address the API management, integration, and clinical research space respectively. We will continue to make these world-class products to improve and extend their functionality this year. Besides, we have plans drawn up to look at how we bring automation to address the key area of sales growth. Traditionally, businesses have used automation to crush costs. We have an antithesis approach to this. We believe that the next wave of automation is to help customers grow sales and revenue. Automation moves from back office to front office and even within the core competency of the business. We are developing some advanced capabilities and solutions in this space.
AravindKashyap: A Formidable Leader
AravindKashyapis theCEO of Sage IT Inc. He has been leading global IT organizations, scaling innovative business solutions, and delivering exceptional corporate results. Mr. Kashyap has a proven executive management track record with over 25 years of experience in driving growth in the IT industry. He has set up a strong foundation of growth for Sage IT.