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Suresh Sharma
Suresh Sharma

Suresh Sharma

Author of "The 3rd American Dream", and more

Innovolt Inc

After few years
I plan to continue to do the same i.e., help businesses grow, possibly more of them. I really have no plans to retire. I enjoy doing this. Growing a business is very soul-satisfying and joyous experience. Not only one creates wealth for all the stakeholders, catalyzes economic development but you also create jobs where a person takes a paycheck home and a family lives around him or her! To me, creating new jobs, is my direct contribution towards the larger good of the society.
I was born in India, started my career as an Officer in the Naval Aviation. Later, I made a transition to aerospace industry working with some of the leading organizations like British Aerospace & Rolls Royce in England, and later with NASA & GE in USA. We are what we are as a set of circumstances in our lives. On hindsight, it has been a journey for professional excellence. As an officer in uniform, I learned fundamentals of 'leadership from the front'! I realized that your soldiers or sailors do not give their life in war just because you put-on stripes on your shoulders, but they will sacrifice everything of theirs, if you are; genuine, honest and lead them with integrity. Later, England taught me how wrong we were in India following and working with an inherited British-legacy system that anchored on "mistrust" - between a 'ruler' and the 'ruled'. Over last 2 decades Companies like GE and the 'American way of life' taught me the dignity of work, and pursuit of excellence continues!
Important Decisions
There were THREE. First, I transitioned from a Naval Aviation Officer to an Engineer in the Aerospace Industry (as it was virtually impossible for an engineer to rise the top of the Navy due its inherent legacy command and control structure). The switch was very refreshing. While the years in Naval Aviation taught me field operations and people leadership, the private-sector aerospace industry complimented me to leverage my full potential. It helped understand manufacturing, testing, and production of a high-tech product like a jet engine and an aircraft. This phase motivated me to pursue deeper level expertise. My second change was to work for NASA & GE R&D programs enabled me to do cutting edge work. I learned to solve tough problems. However, GE career also helped me discover the 'business person in me'. I came out of R&D and joined their Energy business. Growing businesses, I realized, was my true passion. Hence, out of my own choice I stepped out of GE to become an entrepreneur!
Role of BI
Understanding the underlying drivers for success of a business is absolutely vital, and BI is indeed the enabler for that. One of biggest risks to your business really comes from not knowing your customers, competition, and costs. Having mechanisms for gathering good data, analyzing them intelligently, and then applying appropriate rules-engine takes out all emotions from your decision-making and grouts your actionable roadmap on a solid foundation.
Tools of BI
Depending upon industry - there are many as the rules-engine to derive meaningful intelligence will vary. Some companies has used in-house tools too very effectively. However, several out-of-box tools use the well-known data-science to analyze. Thats a good start if you do not have nay. But, the tools will come and go but the business of BI is always there to stay.
New trend
Simulation and predictability of large data is a key emerging technology trend. One's ability to analyze and process large amount of information in real time, and then applying it for steering business decisions can be your competitive advantage.
Recommending Specialization
To be able to see trends with sparse useful data but in large pile of unidentified data can be a game changing specialization, especially with social media where the connectivity can be multi-dimensional.
Measures to be taken
Create and retain a talented team of data analysts as an integral core competency of the company. I see the role of a 'Chief BI Officer' evolving from building a foundation of big data analytics.
Comparison of current work from previous one
Earlier I grew one business at a time, now I do several, in multiple ways. Scale and bandwidth has gone up. However, the 360 degree engagement in various business is not fundamentally different. An insightful and very enriching aspect of this work is to be able to cross-pollinate cross-industry best practices. For example, the Healthcare Industry can learn a lot from more mature industries to improve quality while cutting down the costs! I see numerous such examples every day.
Personal Information
A former GE executive-turned-entrepreneur, my passion is to grow businesses profitably including turnarounds - big or small; be it in a Fortune 50 multi-billion dollar global corporation, a family enterprise, a Start Up, or my own several successful entrepreneurial small & medium enterprises. I've successfully led numerous businesses to significant growth creating value of several billion dollars for stakeholders. I like to share what I do and learn. Most recently, I published my second book - “The 3rd American Dream” (2013). This book details how innovation and entrepreneurship, are yet again, transforming the next global economic expansion. Well-known for my sharp sense to – “smell and step-change” any business’s DNA - necessary for its growth, I've contributed extensively to Energy, Aerospace, Advanced Materials, Defense, e-Business, Healthcare, Six Sigma Quality, Network Security & Analytics, Global Sourcing, Info Technology, Supply Chain, and FMCG industries.
Describe your struggle of achieving success
Integrity, being genuine, and respecting all humans regardless of their position on the ladder comes first to my mind. Then, I would say: Execution, Energy, and an ability to Energize my peers and colleagues were key to performance and success in various assignments. Learning from others has to be your second nature. If you are a resource to the team and the organization in multiple ways, the success in any organization is bound to come. Last but not the least, I would say is your ability to make a tough call when the going is rough. That is the ultimate test of your character and leadership
Your Role
My current primary engagements include being a "CEO-In-Residence" of a Venture Capital firm, and being an "Industry Fellow" of Georgia Research Alliance: here is to nurture, lead as necessary, and help grow many of the portfolio companies. These cut across several industries and also include some disruptive technology startups.
Definition of BI
Making meaningful sense out from multi-dimensional and multi-functional data of your entire business ecosystem, and not just your own company.
Book and websites
Having authored TWO books myself, I've come across a large amount of literature in this space. My suggestion is, first understand the macro picture by reading some of the good quality research reports/studies. Then, one should deep-dive into specifics in a very iterative and dispassionate way. Question the source, and understand the limitations of the data quality. Trust but validate.
Decision taken
These essentially are the same that I responded earlier in my interview questions.
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