From IIT to IIM to being a Managing Partner in California to seeing initial stages of the IT industry in India too and now finally being the owner of his own consulting company, he has made the best use of every opportunity during the course of his life. Manoj Tandon, person to look at if you are a budding professional or a new start-up or an already existing corporate struggling to work your way out during this lockdown or otherwise.
Manoj Tandon talks to us about his own journey of growth and what inspired him to quit his well-paying corporate job to be an entrepreneur. He also gives advice to the businesses and discusses how technology is and will always be the savior for mankind.
Exclusive Interview with Mr. Manoj Tandon – CEO at Dalitso (formerly TMTC)
Q1. Tell us about yourself and your company?
A1. By Mr. Manoj Tandon, I have been in the industry for almost 35 years. I went to IIT Kanpur, passed out in 1983, went to IIM Lucknow after that. Post IIM, I joined the IT industry. At that time, the software industry was just starting out in India with just 2000 odd people all over India. There was TCS with around 1400 people and CMC with approximately 600. So, in a way, I have seen the industry growing from almost nothing to an extremely flourished and mega-sized one that it has become now, in true sense.
I was in the US during most of the 90s, was a Managing Partner in a consulting company in California. Later in 2000 was the time when I came back to India and started working with CSC, where I was also a member of the Executive Committee for Financial Services Group for Europe in India, for some years. We got them huge profits.
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Then, in 2013, I quit my job entirely and started my own consulting company with the aim of helping and guiding small startups and SMEs who need help and cannot really afford a consulting company to hire an experienced individual from the industry. Having been a part of the corporate world for most of my life, I really wanted to help them at a low cost and become their guide. I have been fortunate enough to have helped and worked with 30-35 companies so far. One of my passions is writing. I have written 2-3 books and many articles in popular media papers as an expert and feature writer.
Q2. Being an experienced professional who has been a part of the industry for so long, what is your opinion on the current situation with this whole COVID-19? How do you think that the businesses will operate as the lockdown is about to be lifted now? And what next can we expect out of the industry?
A2. We all know that the industry has suffered losses because of the COVID situation, even before COVID the growth had slowed down because of demand dropping. Of course, this lockdown has accelerated the downfall and has made the situation of the industry even worse. Even after the lockdown is lifted, the industry will still not recover in the short term because people will wait and watch before starting to spend.
I expect that businesses will have to go through this slowdown till at least the end of the year. I don’t see any major recovery happening any time soon. It will mostly depend on how the COVID case numbers go after the lockdown is lifted. Only that will determine the future of the industry in the short term.
Q3. What is your advice to the startups, SMEs, or corporates during this slowdown in the economy?
A3. I would like to give two suggestions:
The first and the most important advice I would like to give to all the businesses is to start operating on the core activities, spend on the essentials activities and functions. They should also look at their product lines and decide which ones are more profitable and which ones aren’t. They should produce accordingly.
The second piece of advice that I would like to give them is, due to this lockdown situation, some new opportunities have cropped up for example, sanitizers, masks, apps which help in ensuring proper social distancing etc. While these are mostly short term opportunities but the demand volume is very high. Therefore, if a business has resources and/or expertise to take advantage of it, they must.
Q4. Has the IT industry responded well during these times of COVID 19 crisis?
A4. Yes, it has. Things like, work from home, developing tools and instruments to facilitate remote working, etc. are some of the things that the industry has done to deliver to its commitments. They have been able to come up to the client’s expectations and have delivered their best using advanced technology.
Q5. How can technology boost businesses? And, what role can data serve for minimizing losses and maximizing profits?
A5. To be honest, technology is the only savior right now
For example, all the restaurants are closed but people can still order food using Zomato or other similar apps, the list is almost endless groceries, medicines, clothes, and so on. If not boost, technology has helped businesses to survive.
Even the schools, colleges, and other educational institutions have made the best use of technology by organizing online classes and making use of LMS and e-learning platforms.
Q6. What will be the long term opportunities that will make their way out after say a period of 2-3 years and which industry in specific will profit the most?
A6. The technology industry will bounce back really big soon, as they have already shown that technology can play a key role in solving problems of the 21st century. It Is said that many inventions happen during the times of crisis, this COVID situation is no less a crisis.
Manoj Tandon said – “I feel that many new inventions will happen in the area of BioMedical Engineering including Genetics. Things like AI, Big Data analytics, etc. will get a major boost.”
Q7. What are the suggestions for the employees and employers who have been laid off during this time?
A7. Laying-off employees is a huge mistake that many employers have made currently.
What many of my clients have done, instead, is to reduce the salaries of the employees, temporarily, to sustain the businesses during this time of difficulty.
Their plan is that as soon as the business comes back, the salaries will come to normal.
While this will not only help the businesses in ensuring huge cost savings, at the same time it will also help in employee/talent retention and winning employee loyalty.
That’s all for today. We had a great conversation with Mr. Manoj Tandon