Stay Ahead of Change

S  Janakiraman
S Janakiraman
R&D Head, 

We concluded that we need to reduce our over dependence on communications space and leverage our expertise (in the embedded and networking space) to other potential high growth markets. 9/11 taught one lesson for the enterprises that of vulnerability of information access when catastrophe occurs and the need for the ability to recover information online ensuring business continuity. This will depend on storage networking investments and strategies that include storage redundancy, backup–recovery, continuous data protection, remote access and storage management. Hence we decided to focus on the storage product companies to grow our future business.

Major challenge for us to enter the storage space was our credibility and track record since we were new to the space as well as acquiring necessary expertise in the storage domain. We mind-stormed on how to overcome those hurdles and concluded that we need to make investment in newer technologies in the storage space that will not only enable building expertise, but also provide level playing field to counter well-established competition. We did a quick analysis of the newer technologies and decided to focus on iSCSI, an emerging standard that will provide seamless access to information over enterprise storage networks as well as Intranets and Internet. We decided to build a show case technology called iSCSI Validator to demonstrate our expertise in the storage space.

The iSCSI Validator took six months of effort to develop with the best of the breed people working tirelessly and enabling us to build a technology that can be licensed to our prospects in the storage space. By April 02, when we started penetrating in to the product companies in the storage space, the technology we had built from scratch became key entry strategy and enabled multiple design wins. Today we are a leader in the storage space with more than one third of the R&D services business coming in through the design services and technology offerings to our storage customers.

The problem that cropped up with 9/11 through meltdown of communications market was converted into an opportunity for expanding into newer storage market. Also the approach we took of identifying a high growth market, building proof of concept showcase technologies and building credibility in the newer space has become a replicable process. Today MindTree R&D Services address six different product verticals and we have grown the business at an average of 75 percent plus year over year during the last three years.

The lessons I (and my leadership team) learnt with the above experience can be summarized as:

  • Never be contended with what has been achieved. One unexpected ‘change’ in the scenario can change the whole situation and can set us back to square one.

  • Every ‘change’ can be a problem as well as opportunity. It all depends on how we view it.

  • The ‘change’ in business or technology environment can provide level playing field to those who are nimble and willing to leverage the ‘change’.

  • Peter Drucker in a conversation with Peter Senge said, ‘Every organization will have to become a change leader. You can’t manage change. You can only be ahead of it. You can only make it.’ How true it is. Let us be ahead of ‘change.’

    S Janakiraman is the Co-Founder, President and CEO – R&D Services, MindTree Consulting Pvt. Ltd.
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    Reader's comments(8)
    1: Great, It is truly encouraging to enterpruners. I knew Mr. Janakiraman during my tenure at Wipro FEG 1982-91 and at R&D always he looks for .. what next ? Continuous improvements, changes(ECNs) etc.,
    B. Ramesh Upadhya (bru)
    Posted by:RAMESH UPADHYA - 08 Nov, 2010
    2: A well written article Mr Janakiraman. I definetly agree to stress upon the importance of "Futuristic scenario planning by every organization". Needless to say we need to start meetings with"What we should not do?" rather than "What we should do?" At the same time we should be always in a quest to discover our own blue ocean making the competition irrelavent.

    Posted by:sunil venkat - 13 Oct, 2010
    3: R&D to me is, 'Resolve' & 'Deliver'. It’s all about a strong ‘resolve’ to allay the fear of risks, hurdles for change and uncertainties to rest and 'deliver' the vision. This case just exemplifies it to the ‘T’. Associated with R&D, I empathize & appreciate the grit of your team as also the strategic leadership which backed you relentlessly. It also demonstrates a classic case of open innovation, wherein you were able to leverage your expertise in one area to another.Simple Narration..
    Posted by:Naveen Kashyap - 03 Aug, 2009
    4: really awesome ,it shows the way by which you can take a positive side of change and convert it into opportunity.
    Posted by:OmP Prakash - 03 Aug, 2009
    5: Started my career after Sep 9/11 attack with all my dream shattered of studying abroad. Got to work as a fresher in a small company where efforts were made to sustain project.It was the management who kept the employee happy and those who have worked in those company have flourished in their company.Hats of to my first starting company
    Posted by:Arun Jain - 24 Jul, 2009
    6: Perfect article. Truely encouraging.
    Posted by:Sandeep G Kashyap - 18 Jun, 2009
    7: a read on this has thrown a light on what and why change is?
    good eye opener to those who read this.
    Posted by:bala krishnan - 09 Jun, 2009
    8: Hi Janakiraman
    A very inspiring and encouraging information shared.

    All the best
    Cheers !!!
    Posted by:Bindu S Rathore - 15 May, 2009

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