Date:   Tuesday , May 03, 2016

It was 2008, a time when the market was abuzz with a string of technology trends like big data and cloud. When enterprises were busy trying to migrate their systems to a much evolved species of machines, they were forgetting the elephant in the room: devising appropriate business-focused strategies that would embrace this change. Several experts arose to tide over the impediments revolving around technology, but the lack of a specialist to guide organizations along their transitional routeson a business perspective was a growing concern. \"Locus Solutions was established on a mission to fill this gap,\" recollects Jeetu Lakhotia, Founder and CEO. What started as an effort to assist organizations with reporting and data warehousing, the company today offers its broad portfolio of services in a spectrum of business analytics, data mining and cognitive intelligence.

The Evolving Landscape

In a time, where spreadsheets arethe prevalent norms for aggregating data pertaining to financial planning, budgeting, and reporting, enterprises are forced to deal with its cumbersomeness, at the same time eliminating data redundancy. Across the board, businesses in many industries are witnessing a fundamental shift-from process automation capabilities like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Material Requirements Planning (MRP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to data and analytics. With this, the role of the CIO is undergoing a sea change to include more responsibilities on making outcome-based decisions, organization impact, and operational efficiency.

In this scenario, \"Locus Solutions\' focus is on educating the customer, by working with them to build an outcome based strategy, and then bring in technology that would only add value to their business,\" affirms Lakhotia. Enabling a paradigm shift for organizations, the company realizes a strong current around machine learning and cognitive intelligence and the ability of machines communicating with each other through M2M and IoT. \"That is where we are heading,\" says Lakhotia. With the company\'s partnership with IBM that supports customers in the technology and analytics front, Locus offer solutions wrapped with strategic business focused plans to facilitate their customer\'s transformation.

Locus Solutions in Action

Financial Performance Management-a key offering from Locus Solutions\' suite of services- includes planning, budgeting and forecasting assistance for customers. \"When we engage with a customer, we begin by understanding their business processes, followed by putting together a strategy for process improvement, and automation,\" Lakhotia explains. Locus Solutions incorporates methodologies that are aligned with that of IBM. \"We adopt the technology, and we understand where the customer is on a maturity curve,\" notes Lakhotia. The actual strategy is built around the IBM Planning Analytic stool, which is an Enterprise Planning Software platform. Locus Solutions offers a complete package of planning analytics, customizing the platform, and developing training sessions for knowledge transfer (KT)-allowing the customer to own the solution by the end of their engagement. From a post-deployment aspect, Locus Solutions aids the organizations with support issues, and also augmenting new capabilities to the tool. On another note, they offer service around consolidation and reporting, closing books on monthly or quarterly basis, and management reporting as well.

In the business analytics area, Locus Solutions focuses on customers that are trying to gain insight on their sales, marketing, and supply chain data. By helping them bring data from disparate systems onboard, the firm defines baselines for optimum business and delivery metrics.

In the recent times, Locus Solutions has also emerged into the managed service market, serving large enterprises, who are challenged with matching required skills with resources. \"Organizations who don\'t have the budget to hire a full-time workforce for managed services seek Locus Solutions, where we work with customers, hand-in-glove to realize their operational needs,\" remarks Lakhotia.

Painting a picture of how Locus Solutions had worked alongside a customer to enhance their business, Lakhotia illustrates Alaska Airlines\' success story. The airline company, upon careful investigation observed that some of their internal functions were not keeping pace with growth. The Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) teams were dissipating time in data aggregation, quality analysis, and reporting, yet yielding unfavorable results. They were on the hunt for a system that would integrate budgeting, revenue, and operational data. Locus\'s proficiency had made the client opt for Locus Solutions and IBM Planning Analytics that was offered on the cloud. The implementation spanned through a substantially lesser time of ten weeks and was completed on promised budget. \"After the project, Alaska Airlines realized agility in their ability to add users and build planning models with minimal IT intervention,\" extols Lakhotia.

A Glimpse into the Future

Locus Solutions emphasizes on building a work culture that appreciates the business-oriented approach toward bringing about organizational change, which perches them a step ahead their peers. \"Another key differentiator is our industry-specific skillset, which enables nimble service to our customers,\" delineates Lakhotia.

True to its name, Locus, a mathematical convention for a set of points that cover a particular range on a plane-is at the epicenter of the company, focused on converging differententities together. The company is driving a steadfast campaign to promulgate cognitive intelligence as a technology, promoting organizations to adopt it. \"The next three years will mark a definitive change and we are at the forefront of enabling organizations to accelerate the pace for a truly cognitive intelligent ecosystem,\" assures Lakhotia.