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Executive Interviews: Interview with Sreenivasan Ramakrishnan on Knowledge Process Outsourcing
May 2006 - By Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary

Sreenivasan Ramakrishnan
Co-founder and CEO, Marketics

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  • Many economies are shifting their focus from manufacturing to services. Is the emergence of KPO an offshoot of this trend?
    Difficult to comment. KPOaids manufacturing as well as services. Marketics' clients are both services companies as well as manufacturing companies.

  • Can the rise of the KPO industry be interpreted as an integrating mechanism/ driving force for the knowledge economy? Or, is the KPO industry to be looked at as an enabler or deliverable output ofmanufacturing and services economies?

    The former. KPO can drive the knowledge economy. Analytics (which is the top of the KPO value-chain) is today a proven business driver (vs. just a cost-saver). The world's leading firms sustain their competitive advantage via analytics. It's not just a support tool it's a strategic weapon. Organizations like Google, Amazon, P&G, Cendant, Harrah's, Capital One, and the Boston Red Sox (a leading US baseball team that uses analytics to recruit players!) have all dominated their fields by deploying industrialstrength analytics to their businesses.At a time when firms in many industries offer similar products and use comparable technologies, analytics is among the few remaining points of differentiation to wring every last drop of value. Companies that have expertise with numbers or trained to recognize their importance are armed with the best evidence and the best quantitative tools. As a result, they make the best decisions.

    India as KPO destination

  • What is your assessment of India as a favorite KPO destination? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
    India is a great KPO destination. There is no country in the planet that produces professionals of literally every type. You name a sector and there are a few lakhs students graduating every year! Yes, they have to be trained on professional client servicing and leadership skills but that's an easier task than acquiring the fundamental hard skills (i.e., domain) and having the numbers (quantity of trained people).

    India also has a reasonably mature domestic industry that is professional owing to the presence of MNCs. These could further fuel the manpower required to drive the KPO industry.

    The high-end KPO opportunities are immense for Indians firms and with its diverse knowledge base and lower cost will attract global companies outsourcing their high-end knowledge work to India. And India with its immense knowledge base will certainly going to have a big pie of the global KPO.

    Finally, India is already an acknowledged technology powerhouse (there are more engineers in Bangalore than the Silicon Valley). The confluence of technology and domain expertise/KPOcould throw the Indian KPO industry into another orbit.

  • What according to you is the potential of this industry? And how much of it is being realized? Are there any hurdles in achieving this potential and how to overcome them? Do you think KPO will replace IT in all the dimensions (Export earnings, Employment levels, Salaries, etc.)?
    We are scratching the surface. There is no clear demarcation between IT, BPO and KPO they are not mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. There will be overlaps but a domain differentiated, not necessarily cheaper, value-proposition is sustainable and scalable.

  • Since KPO is country/industry specific. What steps need to be taken to impart the required skills to the industry employees? As the industry is bound to attract intense competition from many other countries, what lessons can be learned from the Indian IT industry's experiences?
    Create domain specific intellectual capital.

  • About scale and scope of company operations

  • Could you briefly tell us about the background of your company? Comment on your operations, expertise, clients and any M&A plans, adding new services, etc. How do you see your company in the next 5-10 years?
    S Ramakrishnan (Ramki) co-founded Marketics in 2002 along with Shankar Maruwada (ChiefMarketing Officer) and Vinay Mishra (VP-Operations) with goal of measurably increasing marketing effectiveness of global marketers.Headquartered in Bangalore, with a team of 170 professionals,Marketics has offices in the US and the UK. Marketics is poised for rapid growth through growth in their existing clientele as well as new client acquisitions in the US and the UK. Marketics' current clients include world leaders in the area of Consumer Packaged Goods, Food & Beverages, Apparel, Sports& Entertainment, ISP/ Internet, Travel & Leisure, Retailing, Consumer Financial Services, Office Products, Telecom and Technology.

    Our clients are the world's best marketers:

  1. We work with the first or second of each vertical.
  2. We provide highly innovative Actionable Analytics that helps measurably increase their marketing effectiveness.
  3. We convert their "under utilized data into actionable insight" via Actionable Analytics .

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