Trianz: digitally transforming technology solutions
With almost 20 years’ experience within IT consulting and services, Ganeshan Venkateshwaran, President at Trianz, understands the rapid pace at which his industry can evolve, driven by new and innovative technologies. He believes that, when it comes to the technology industry, “a key disruptor is the pace at which core businesses are getting disrupted. This, he says, means that the need for technologies to deliver faster, better and connected outcomes has never been greater in order to stay ahead.
“As early as 2013, Trianz Founder and Chairman Sri Manchala sensed new paradigms taking shape and spent serious time with clients understanding how it impacted them,” says Venkateshwaran. Before digital transformation became fashionable, he explains, Sri and the senior leadership team applied themselves to create the right portfolio required for multidisciplinary collaboration. “When we saw digital disruption coming, we consciously transitioned out from any legacy footprints we had, investing not only in creating digital assets but we trained and transformed our core assets, our people.”
In terms of that transformation, Venkateshwaran has seen multiple technologies drive digital disruption in the sector. These, he adds, include“Concierto.cloud, an integrated cloud and infrastructure operations management platform, to provide a unified and holistic view of IT operations, spanning infrastructure and applications; Arxway, a bastion host server that connects an organization’s VPNs to AWS Cloud's EC2 instances, enabling enhanced security and authorized user access from anywhere; Trianz Marketing Data Lake Solution, a unified repository for all customer data, combining internal and external sources to produce data marts in an analytical consumable format; and Trianz IoT Platform, the management layer Underlying IoT which has the capability to visualize device topology and rule chain analysis for predefined actionable patterns.
Cloud in particular is becoming increasingly important to companies worldwide, he states. For example, he explains how businesses of all sizes are increasing their investment in public cloud, taking a balanced approach that enables them to opt for a ‘multi-cloud’ strategy. The development of hybrid cloud solutions and innovations in containerisation “marks the next phase of cloud adoption,” he adds.
With the continuous increase in cloud and analytical technology driving mainstream businesses, Venkateshwaran discusses in more detail how Trianz works to leverage innovations such as chatbots (natural language processing), connected clouds (public, private, hybrid), blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, AIOps platforms, digital twins, serverless computing, DevOps assembly lines and microservices.
“Our digital transformation includes building a machine learning algorithm to classify legal documents for a leading law firm, leveraging Azure Cognitive services,” he explains. “We are also developing a chatbot that can retrieve data in conversional ways for insurers; building a network management system (NMS) solution based on an open source IoT platform, to monitor and manage patented BPL devices; an AIOps product, that ingests system services and application logs that uses predictive algorithms in an event management framework; and developing deep competency in areas of Modern data stacks and driving certification around Azure, GCP, Talend, Snowflake looker and AppDynamics.
“At Trianz, our ‘Innovation Labs’ are hotspots where new platform features and capabilities are evaluated and tested for specific use cases,” comments Venkateshwaran. “The company is constantly evaluating next generation technologies and developing POCs/Prototypes that enable technology based disruption.” In addition to its current projects in progress, Trianz has launched Trasers, “a syndicated, benchmarking and custom research service based on the world’s largest study in digital transformations, spanning over 5,000 companies across 17 industries.” The service aims to allow business leaders to develop visions, strategies and roadmaps with data driven insights for digital solutions.
Venkateshwaran also highlights the importance of crafting the right service model strategy alongside the right technology partnerships and the right culture, for multidisciplinary collaboration. If companies do this, he states, it can help to keep both themselves and their clients ahead of the digital transformation curve. “By investing in digital workplace technology” he adds, “we can provide operational efficiencies to our global workforce, to optimise synergies through seamless communication and collaboration.
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Leading the digital transformation race
Founded in 2001, Trianz has been solving critical challenges faced by business leaders through perspectives backed by experience and research for nearly two decades. Says Venkateshwaran: “we have positioned ourselves as next-generation leaders in digital transformation engagements.”
Trianz delivers to its clients business and technology roadmaps, business readiness and organisational adoption for strategic initiatives, as well as technology services ranging from platform selection and technology architecture, all the way through to solution implementations. “These services aim to facilitate, orchestrate and simplify the uphill task of evolving digitally and contextualise interactions with clients to personalise their experiences. To reflect this commitment, our business theme is ‘Digital Evolution Simplified’.
“We have carefully crafted an ecosystem engineered around our focus on digital evolution,” continues Venkateshwaran “we are committed to enabling business and technology leaders to drive transformations through simple, yet effective, techniques.” Venkateshwaran believes Trianz’s strengths are, its “exclusive focus on digital transformation, unbiased insights, global scale, values and culture.”
Over these years, Trianz has expanded its footprint to multiple global locations, with over 2,500 successful client partnerships and engagements with Fortune 1000 and emerging organisations in multiple industries.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.