Interview with Rajesh Sankarappan, the Co-Founder at Heptagon

SoftwareSuggest

SoftwareSuggest

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: December 8, 2020

Bringing digital transformation to an organization is crucial to its sustainment in the long run. Digitizing an organization makes it less susceptible to data threats and automates several menial tasks. Additionally, it offers organizations better control over their processes and helps them monitor different sectors simultaneously. However, digital transformation is easier said than done. It requires expertise, thought, flexibility, and finesse, which only a few organizations can provide.

Heptagon is one such organization that offers seamless digital transformation while also offering people and premise management solutions. It has received several awards and accolades from various corners due to its robust and user-centric solutions for assisting processes and personnel within organizations. 

In conversation with Mr. Rajesh Sankarappan, Co-Founder of Heptagon:

We are glad to have interviewed Mr. Rajesh Sankarappan, the Co-Founder of Heptagon, and know about his journey, mission, and vision for the future.

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

Firstly, a warm welcome from SoftwareSuggest Mr. Rajesh; our readers are eager to know about your & Heptagon’s journey so far. So tell us, how did it all start?

Heptagon was founded by myself (Rajesh Sankarappan) and 2 of my friends. Vignesh Rengasamy, Vijay Veera, and I had been close friends since our 6th grade. We’ve been building Digital Solutions since 2009 and we have been a part of the core team of startups backed by mega institutions like the New York City government and behemoths like BMW. We are first-generation entrepreneurs who took the road less taken pretty early on in our lives and had our share of challenges and achievements over the journey.  We got involved in startups even before the whole idea went mainstream in India.

What prompted your foray into Digital Transformation? When and how did you discover the need and opportunity behind it?

In 2015, we had the opportunity to meet Mr. Ajit Isaac, Founder & Chairman of Quess Corp. Ajit was another first generation entrepreneur, and we were inspired by the way he took his company from a 3 bedroom apartment all the way up to the stock exchange. We were smitten, and we wanted to stop doing startups and start building a proper enterprise. We chose Digital Transformation because of our vast experience in creating practical solutions for real-world problems.

To give an example, when we began with Quess Corp in 2015, they were India’s 5th largest private employer with technology on the side. Today, they are India’s largest private employer with technology on the forefront, and Heptagon is an associate company of Quess Corp.

Currently, Heptagon consists of 3 segments,

  1. The Digital Transformation vertical of Quess Corp
  2. Ready to deploy solutions in the people & premises domain
  3. Bespoke solutions for Data & Digital Transformation

What separates Heptagon from its competitors?

Though a large part of our revenue is from the IT services space, we are product people at the core. Before 2015, we were exploring, building, failing, learning & succeeding on mobile-first products. This helped us bring the product mindset to the IT services industry. And this USP though we recognized early on, was validated by a 20 year McKinsey veteran, Mr. Suraj Moraje, the current CEO of Quess Corp. The key differentiators can be encapsulated as follows:

  • Whatever project we take, we try to place ourselves entirely into the customer’s shoes. This comes very naturally to us because our DNA makes us see the project as our own product, right from the empathetic consultation to the holistic yet user-centric approach. This is something that we inherently bring to the table.
  • A bespoke solutions approach, combined with our ready to deploy solutions like SeQure (www.sequre.app) a robust premises management system, helps us to show real-world results in weeks rather than months.
  • Our ready to deploy solutions operate in the people & premises domain – the 2 main friction points or rather low hanging fruits that are ripe for digital transformation. In the Phygital world of the new normal, safely managing both should be the topmost priority for any business. 

What is your success mantra? Something you have followed personally that has helped you in your journey

The three of us, by nature and by socio-economic molding, are always grounded. Hence, we genuinely respect talent & people for who they are. Degrees & Institutions are things that we respect but cultural fit and hard work are things we respect even more. This essential element is something that permeates throughout the organization. 

How has your sales & marketing strategy evolved during the shift from normal to new-normal?

Being a digital solutions company, COVID-19 played a significant positive role in accelerating our growth. Hence, the new normal amplified our existing sales & marketing strategies especially for our SeQure (www.sequre.app)

What is your vision and plan for taking Heptagon to greater heights in the next 5 years?

As mentioned earlier, we embarked on this journey smitten by the obsession of building an enterprise. The next 5 years are going to be critical to the journey where we explore various new geographies and build the world’s most effective and optimal Digital Catalyst for business growth, specializing in Data Transformation, the first step for any Digital Transformation exercise.  

What is a Digital Catalyst? – Like any other catalyst in a chemical reaction, the Digital Catalyst aids in accelerating the process without changing the core DNA of the elements involved. 

Digital Transformation is a rapidly evolving field that has impacted several other industries. What do you think the future holds for this industry, especially with Blockchain, AI, and Machine Learning in the mix?

Digital transformation is like building a car. While Blockchain, AI, ML, or IoT can aid to make the various parts of the car, its fuel is going to be the most important. And the fuel for DT is Data. 

Processing the fuel has an L minus 1 and L plus 1 step. Data Integration, Data Transformation & Data visualization. The excitement begins when we start with converting atoms to bits, ink to zeros & ones. 

So, the below is more important for an enterprise even before they start thinking about Blockchain or AI. Hence, Data X Algorithms X Action = Revenue

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs starting out in this field?

Everyone has their own timeline and journey. Don’t worry about what other people are doing – just focus on what’s right for you.

Tell us about the biggest learning you have gained from your journey so far.

People before profits. If you respect your people, your colleagues, your clients, your investors, give them your unbridled support and live up to their trust, then that’s the best investment you can make. The returns from that investment will power your exponential growth. 

What motivates and strengthens you to keep up with the competition?

Our main motivator is the COMVID, the Complacency Virus, which stalls the growth of the business. Complacency usually stems from organizations’ inability to leverage valuable data and derive insights out of it. This is what we don’t just preach but also practice.

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