Interview with Rajesh Phadke Co-Founder of Kloudq

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SoftwareSuggest

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Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: December 21, 2020

“Bollywood,” “Cricket,” and “IT” – It won’t be an exaggeration to say that these three terms summarize “India” for many in the western world. For several decades, services companies dominated the Indian IT industry. Several Indian IT companies delivered services through the outsourcing model. However, very few IT companies thought of creating their own products for the global market. But Kloudq, a company in Pune, has chosen a different path and has established itself as a leading IT product company in two of the most cutting-edge technology areas – Internet of Things (IoT) and Sales Force Automation (SFA).

In conversation with Mr. Rajesh Phadke Co-founder of Kloudq

We recently had a conversation with Rajesh Phadke, Managing Director of Kloudq. 

Here are the excerpts of the conversation.

What prompted you to start Kloudq and what was the thought behind its name?

When we started, Kloudq was a pure services company only for Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd. (KOEL), which is the flagship company of the Kirloskar Group. The technology solutions we implemented at KOEL delivered tangible ROI to the company and created a positive business impact. 

That’s when we thought that if we make these solutions available as products, other companies like KOEL could also benefit from the same, and that’s how we became a product company. 

To be honest, we always had the ambition to become a “Product Company,” so we had started building the team as well with the “Product Mindset”.

Today, Kloudq offers very innovative technology solutions in the emerging sectors of IoT and SFA and are being used by hundreds of companies worldwide.

Kloudq has made it big in SaaS and IoT. Tell us about your journey so far. 

If I have to summarize it in one word, I will say “incredible”.

You know you have done something right when leading names in the industry use your solutions, you see revenue growth, industry bodies recognize you, and the team continues to innovate. 

  • We have been successful in doubling the Y-o-Y topline growth 
  • Leading companies like Godrej, Europa, Hindustan Composites Ltd, NRB Bearings, Praj, Varuna, etc. and hundreds of small enterprises are using our solutions  
  • Gartner selected our IIOT system as one of the top Global Industrial IoT systems
  • We are the only company in India offering a 5th generation IoT product 

Of course, we continue to innovate and improve the products. 

We launched new Sales Force Automation solutions to help manufacturers and FMCG companies better manage their sales operations during the COVID lockdown period. 

We are the only company to offer an end-to-end Industrial IoT solution for manufacturing companies, from implementation and analytics to the most advanced AI engine. 

How is the Industry 4.0 Solution transforming the way organizations function?

We believe that Industry 4.0 will soon be the norm. Worldwide, companies like Schneider Electric, Siemens, Haier, Procter and Gamble, and Bosch have already leveraged the power of digital technologies in their plant operations. 

Industry 4.0 solutions enable – 

  •  Real-time visibility into shop floor operations from a centralized location 
  •  Smart equipment monitoring 
  •  Automated quality control  
  •  Proactive alerts leading to preventive maintenance 
  •  Supply chain optimization and better utilization of inventory 
  •  Plant safety

All these things lead to increased productivity, reduced maintenance costs, higher capacity utilization, better utilization of resources, etc.

How has Kloudq been impacted by the Covid-19 situation? Do you see a change coming in the way we work? 

COVID-19 has impacted organizations of all sizes across all industry verticals. At Kloudq as well, we had to navigate unchartered territories. But I think we were better prepared for it because of the use of technology in our day-to-day operations. 

I believe that COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of digital transformation. From a mere buzzword, it has moved to actual implementation. Even traditional industries in India like FMCG and manufacturing are looking for technology solutions to help them address their business challenges in the new normal. 

Sales organizations were majorly impacted because of the national lockdowns and social distancing norms. To help organizations maintain a healthy pipeline of leads and conversations, we launched new solutions. For example, one of our solutions helps sales executives in contactless order taking. Our app for retailers allows them to place orders right from their mobile phones. We also launched Telebeat as a service that allows organizations to complement their sales force with telephonic multi-channel demand capture by trained tele-calling executives. Organizations can automate calling queues for the tele-caller for outlets that could not be covered by sales executives or are not covered in their beat plans. Auto-dialer integrations help drive productivity and help organizations get more orders with less travel and fewer expenses.   

Now that SaaS, Process Automation and IoT have become pretty mainstream, what new innovations can the industry look forward to in the coming years? 

Yes, as we discussed, digital is the way forward. While these technologies are gaining momentum, I think it will take some more time for them to become mainstream with wide adoption and penetration. But even in such situations, our Distributer Management System is seeing an extremely high adoption. 

While we have our product roadmap clearly defined, we are also a very agile organization and are open to tweaking the roadmap based on the changing market conditions. As we all understand, the economic and business needs keep evolving and customer expectations keep changing. I believe that the key to success for any organization to be nimble and agile.  

One of the solutions that we are excited to launch soon is a Modern Trade Solution – with that, we will be the first company in India to create an effective solution for modern merchandising.  

For an organization this big, many of your services seem to cater to SMEs. Is this a conscious choice?

I think this is a misconception that advanced technology solutions can be useful only for larger enterprises. In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of SMEs who can benefit significantly from technology adoption. Especially post COVID, when technology has become at the heart of almost all businesses, SMEs have been extremely open to adopting new technologies. We would love to help thousands of SMEs in their digital transformation instead of focusing on just a few big brands. 

Today, we have the expertise, experience, and knowledge to address the needs of large enterprises. At the same time, we are agile and approachable for SMEs.

What would you advise and suggest to the young entrepreneurs and other aspirants in the industry?

Entrepreneurship is very glamorised, however in reality, it is a lot of hard work, patience, teamwork, and many a times, failures. It is all about being nimble, having a clear vision, not being afraid of taking risks, and most importantly, not getting comfortable. 

IoT and Sales Force Automation are sunrise sectors. India has one of the largest penetrations of mobile and a very high internet user base. There are several challenges that are very unique to India, and if you can solve those, the market opportunity is humongous. Just ensure that your products/solutions to deliver measurable ROI.  

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

To be honest, I think I am still learning. Every day teaches me something new. But one principle that we have followed at Kloudq is to build the right team. I (and the other founders of the company) believe that people make all the difference in the company and as leaders, your job is to select the right people for the right job. When they are happy doing the work, success for them (as well as the organization) will follow. As a team, we spend a lot of time building the right team and the right culture. 

Have you heard of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s belief that “human being is more than a resource” and “Organizations have to transition to become organisms based on key five pillars – purpose, structure, processes, inspiration, and culture.”? It’s quite a fascinating concept. Do read it when you get an opportunity. 

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

It’s all about people. Now that we have robust technology solutions already built, my focus will be on strengthening the leadership teams for our IoT and SFA business. With digital becoming a priority for businesses, we intend to tap the untapped market needs. While having aggressive growth and expansion plans, we aim to be firmly rooted in our core principles and core values of providing value to our customers, partners, and employees. 

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