Co-Founder of Reflexis Systems, now part of Zebra Technologies
Frustration is an integral part of business life. Emotional roller coasters are a way of life, especially for a startup. Typically, frustration is either external or internal. External frustration could be due to slow speed of customer decision process and similar other factors. Internal factors could be colleagues who drag their feet, poor quality coding and so on. With my vast experience, I am confident I can guide you in your times of stress and distress.
Everyone wants to grow and grow fast, rapidly. Particularly, when you land some early big deals (bigger than what you can handle) you get into the 'everything is green' mindset. Growth, at whatever pace, has to be deliberate, planned and sustainable. I believe in fundamentals - such as fulfilling a need for customer(s), adding high value, being unique and first-amongst-peers, etc. - that enable growth, hacked or otherwise!
I am a firm believer of 'get the right people into the company and allow them to figure out what needs to be done'. So, mindset, which I also call the do-what-it-takes approach, is the backbone for successful growth when you are a young company. Pretty much like moulding a child before it becomes an adult with all the biases and idiosyncrasies. I am a very hands-on guy, leading from the front, perpetuating a culture of customer-first and team-above-individual.
Product Management is a function that grows in size, complexity and importance as your organization grows. While serving your first customer, product management usually consists of fanatically saying 'yes' to everything the customer wants. Making the transition to building and servicing hundreds, even thousands, of customers with a single version of your product, while retaining the same fanatical customer service is a huge challenge that is capable of making or breaking your company.
Customer Success Management in a sense defines the very existence, viability and growth for the company. If you dont identify and take care of your customers and their needs and do not convincingly and unambiguously bring business benefits and desired ROI with your products/services, everything else you try to do does not add up to much.
Used it as an executive user to keep track of sales leads, sales campaigns, key contacts, sales campaign strategy and progress. Also used this in the context of voluntary work undertaken for the Red Cross.
Used Jira extensively for general issue tracking, product management, implementation projects and customer support. Customer review meetings were centered around one version of the truth (and status) as logged into Jira.
Senior Vice President, Professional Services and Operations; Co-Founder, Reflexis (Mar, 2001 to Oct, 2020) Fully involved in the conceptualization, design and development of the Reflexis suite of products. Responsible for all customer facing activities and operations within the company. Professional Services & Customer Service activities Responsible for 10+ million dollars of annual revenue from implementation, support and other professional services Responsible for Customer Success activities to achieve high customer ratings and retention (90-95%); farming revenue from customer base (60% or more of the total company revenue); consistently high rankings in the industry Deployment of multiple Reflexis products and solutions – from requirements gathering to final acceptance and sign off All customer support activities to strict SLAs; performance reviews and value add services to customers Pre-sales support (proposals, RFPs, cost estimates, presentations and demos) Operations responsibilities • Setup and administration of offshore facilities • Budgets and Operations for multiple organization units and global locations • HR policies • Customer contracts, SOWs, invoicing and payments Head of Software Services Business (Aug 1998 – Mar 2001) Under Techlead Corporation (within the Reflexis group of companies), managed software services business of around $ 5 million per annum Onsite and offshore projects involving a variety of software technologies (mainframes, client-servers, web-based) in different verticals including retail, financial services (banking, insurance, plastics processing, etc.) Responsibilities included cost and budgets management; projects estimation, execution and control; customer training and support Responsible for support to global customers in the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas Other responsibilities included Customer/User group management, solution consulting, product roadmap planning based on customer feedback
Techlead Corporation was solely in charge of software services offered by Fujitsu-ICL, the leading IT vendor in the Caribbean. Director Projects, the Caribbean (Aug 94 – Jul 98) As the senior executive member from Techlead management, was based at the Caribbean headquarters in Jamaica and was responsible for major software development, implementation and support services to the largest organizations in Retail, Financial Services and the Government in Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and other countries Was responsible for coordination of offshore development teams in India and delivery of services to customers using onsite resources Managed inter-disciplinary project teams consisting of staff from customers (banks and other financial institutions, Government, etc.), Fujitsu and other hardware vendors and Techlead’s own software personnel Was responsible for customer support of all implemented applications Country Manager, UK (Feb, 93 – Jun 94) Joint-owner of the start-up company (Techlead which later evolved to become Reflexis), heading the UK operations. Initiated and built up a customer base. Managed resources and projects and helped build the offshore unit in India. Set up processes and procedures and other infrastructure required for a new company. Personally involved in managing the first few turnkey projects.
Country/Regional Manager, Europe (UK) (90-93) Based in London, UK and was responsible for all overseas software services business for ICL, India in Europe. Major clients were customers of the parent company ICL, UK – British Gas, London Underground, OXFAM and Marks & Spencer to name a few – as well as ICL, UK’s own internal business units. Was in charge of both the technical and business aspects of all software projects undertaken and grew the business from half a million pounds to well over 3 million in 3 years. Specifically spent a lot of time coordinating with the software headquarters in India in respect of • resources to various clients for onsite work on a time & material basis • management of fixed price software development and support assignments with an optimal mix of onsite and offshore work Manager, Banking Services, India (88-90) Was in charge of a specialist division responsible for all software development and support activities for multi-national banks such as Standard Chartered and ANZ Grindlays as well as the largest banks in India such as State Bank of India and Bank of India. Was awarded the prestigious, ICL Managing Director’s Award for Excellence, given annually to a handful of employees across the world. Area Services Manager, India (83-88) Responsible for all software support activities to a client base of over 50 customers. Activities included the full software development life cycle (SDLC), implementation support, training, documentation and resource management to a spectrum of customers in different verticals operating mainframe, client-server and other hardware/software environments.
Systems Manager in charge of various systems such as financial accounting, distribution and warehouse management, inventory management. Started as an Analyst/Programmer and worked my way up to Systems Manager.
I am a certified PMP professional. Throughout my career I have handled IT projects involving 5-50 people, USD 10,000 - 5,000,000 in several verticals such as Retail, Banking, Credit Cards and other Financial Services, Insurance, Government and Utilities.
Post-graduate diploma in Industrial Engineering (equivalent to an MBA)
Bachelor's Degree in Engineering (Chemical)
Awarded by the Managing Director of International Computers Ltd (ICL), UK to a select group of employees with extraordinary achievements
Distinguished Alumnus Award for Entrepreneurship from my alma mater, NIT, Trichy (India)
Certified project management professional
Another amazing hour that just flew by. I learned so much, and got a lot out of our time together. 10/10, would recommend a meeting to anyone!
Thanks for such an insightful discussion. Very helpful in shaping the future path.
I had another excellent call today with Raghu. Today, my call was about improving my ability to identify opportunities and leverage points in my existing role to better help my company. In both calls I've had with Raghu, he has helped me identify the question I need to ask myself first in order to better understand where I stand in regards to the challenge I'm facing. He also gave suggestions about actions I could take depending on my answer to that question and shared some of his own experiences with me. Thanks again for your time and insight, Raghu!
Really enjoyed my 2nd session with Raghu. He did a great job of listening and providing some frank and practical advice based on where I currently find myself.
Raghu is a fantastic wealth of knowledge and really helped clarify the problems and concerns I should be thinking about. He has a tremendous amount of experience and success and so was able to help steer me in the right direction. HIGHLY recommended mentor.
I just had a meeting with Raghu and our conversation exceeded all expectations. I wanted to learn more about maintaining a can-do mindset and focusing on what is important, and I feel a lot better after our meeting. Raghu gave me a tonne of insight, and even looked into my background and prepared ideas for me BEFORE our meeting. Raghu is seriously great, and would recommend a meeting to anyone.
Wow, Raghu delivered a whole books worth of information to me in half an hour, I made alot of notes and feel alot more confident speaking to my audience! Highly recommend him for public speaking confidence. I will be rebooking him in 4 weeks to feedback everything I've actioned from our meeting today.
I had a great conversation with Raghu! He is generous, thoughtful, and was extremely well prepared having reviewed my background websites and articles. Despite having limited direct knowledge of my specific industry, Raghu offered extremely helpful insights that helped me get a better perspective on where I am headed and how to get there.
Thank you for the helpful discussion! I've got important actionable insights and I understand my role as a founder much better now. Left feeling more optimistic than before the call, ready to brainstorm the next steps.
This was my first session with Raghu and the biggest compliment I can give, is that our hour together just flowed by, almost as if I was talking to an old (and much wiser) friend. I am also extremely appreciative of the fact that he took the time to prepare some comments beforehand, all of which were extremely insightful and have given me a lot of ground to cover. I will definitely be reaching out again.
I had a very valuable call with Raghu. He immediately identified the root of the challenges I explained to him and was able to share a wealth of insight based on his own experiences with similar situations. I came away with exactly what I was looking for: greater clarity around the challenge, a solidified understanding of the decision-making that brought it about, and a set of questions to ask myself in order to better analyze potential next steps before proceeding. I hope to check in with Raghu again in the future - thanks again!
Learned a lot from him in the first session, We talked about starting from sales strategy to hiring. Amazing conversation will definitely again book him.
I did have an amazing experience getting feedback from Raghu. He shared very valuable suggestion on how we can better reach out to customers and to better tell a story about our product. Would highly suggest him.
It was again a very fruitful discussion. From idea validation we have moved now to getting a definitive action plan with a clear focus on metrics to be achieved. Thanks sir for your support and guidance !!
A great call with Raghu. He understood exactly where I am with my business and gave some great suggestions on a strategy forward. Looking forward to our next call.
The session with Mr Raghu was fantastic. Mr Raghu helped me in getting clarity on my approach to product and market fit. Asked the right questions to help me develop a concrete business plan and I am looking to connect with him soon to take it further.