Archive for the ‘Guest Lectures’ Category

Knowledge influences practice.
Practice refines knowledge.
Let industry and academia integrate.
Let ignited minds ideate.

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Strategy – Art of Selling – II

As a part of our guest Lecture series “Samvaad” we once again had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Sanjay Ray who is Director, Solutions Engineering and Pre-sales at SAP India.

This time he spoke about “Strategy – Art of Selling”, role of Business Development and Sales team in an IT company. He started with the example of Cisco whose latest product offering Human network, suggest the way in which a company can relate to the needs of its customer. Sanjay’s Lecture started with “The customer Engagement Lifecycle”,which can be represented as below:

VIP MAP–>Qualification MAP–>Value Proposition–>Differentiator Matrix–>Presented Contracts

VIP MAP is a jargon used to express three key parameters:

Vision: This means understanding the vision of your customer. What they want to achieve.

Indicator: To know how are the customers progressing?  How are they doing in strategy?

Pain: Indicates reduction in pains of your customer. The IT product map you give should be aligned to the customer’s vision map.

What is Lead generation : The Business Development Team and Sales team sit together at the start of the year and decide on number of leads in year.

  • Don’t focus at “Pains” of customer but focus at their “Vision”.
  • The Lead should be validated through value assumption
  • Until you have clarity that your product is feasible and aligned to customer’s vision, don’t take it up.
  • Even if you have a proposition but the chances of conversion are lower in customer then it is better to DROP.

You drop a customer if there is


Risks are bigger

Opportunity &

Potential then


The Qualification MAP asks to check on following:


  • Customer Profile: Example “Selling of ERP to Real Estate or Jewellery Industry”.  Few years back Real Estate felt no need to implement any T solution to maintain their projects and work. However the long term vision and increase in sector was perceived well and today most of the real estate business going global know how important it is to implement ERP system.
  • Financial Situation of customer: In most cases the customer won’t buy your Product if his financial situation is grave. However in few cases if customer’s need is critical and your product feasibility aligns with customer’s vision and his survival then it is sure the customer would accept the offer. Example: Eureka Forbes struck a deal with IBM
  • Project Framework: Make sure the customer has a team or Project that can evaluate your product
  • Drivers and Requirements
  • Date of Rating


  • Customer Relationship: One of the most important criteria. It is actually the relationship that makes the deal work. In most of the cases the Technologies are more or less similar eg. Outsourcing capabilities of WIPRO and Infosys are similar but who would get the deal is decided by customer relationship.
  • Political Situation: This is another very important criterion.For eg, “You have good customer relationship with CIO . But your competitor gets the deal.Why? He knew the CFO. And unfortunately CFO is the decision making.” Bottom line : Understand the Politics of Customer’s Organization.
  • Expectation Matching
  • Decision Making


  • Prospect Resources: If customer doesn’t has the right kind of people who can use your product and services then better drop the customer.
  • Competitive Differentiation
  • Relative Value Add
  • Our resources

Solution Selling Phase

  • This is the showcasing of Products and services.
  • Make sure you don’t showcase all features here.
  • Identify specific areas and specific indicators here.
  • Customer seeks in you the capability they want.

In fact if customer sees the number of computers, the number of people, and the number of systems you have deployed then he may actually assume his costs for implementing your product may be higher and the customer may divert.

Value Proposition:

Few Questions to ask and remember in Value Proposition are:

  • Understand the value for customer
  • Convey to the architects: The architects are actually the technical people. You are required to give them briefing note
  • Why us and not others (competitors)
  • Which factors are decisive for success of project
  • What is our solution
  • What is the prospect aiming to achieve
  • Why does Prospect need to act

Identify–>Evaluation Phase–>Solution Selling–>Decision Making–>Implement

The SAMVAAD for 13th June 09 ends here. Waiting to hear soon from Mr. Sanjay Ray soon on further phases of “The art of selling”.

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Mr.Sanjay Delivering the lecture On Strategic Pre-Sales

Mr.Sanjay Delivering lecture On Strategic Pre-Sales

As part of our Samvaad Series, we had an opportunity to listen to Mr. Sanjay Ray who is Director, Solutions and Pre-sales Engineering at SAP India.

His lecture provided us great insights into strategic pre-sales cycle and how there are different level of pre-sales consultants operating in the market. The most important point which came to forefront was that you should know your customer for sales and business development. It is not about selling product and services but about selling “value” to the customer. This is one aspect which is evidently visible when you take a pass on different type of sales guys present in the industry, namely technical (level-1), capable (level-2), strategic (level-3). As one tries to distinguish between these three types of sales consultant one would see that there intent to sell moves from product & features to the customer and that is where the difference lies.

Some key parameters on which you can classify these consultants are as follows:

Level Outlook Timing Alignment
Level-III Outcomes Proactive Executive
Level-II Process Response Management
Level-I Event Reactive Operations

 A strategic sale is like a game of chess and playing it the grand-master style is what makes you cut the deal. You need to make the customer play to your game-plan to crack a deal. Alignment with the customer is what can lead you to success. The opportunity to align with the customer either lies in the initial phases of the deal or at the end of the deal. In middle phases when technical evaluation is being done, it is not possible to establish relationship with the customer to the extent you would desire. Level-I sales guys operate during the operational phase of the deal which actually tends to make them not think beyond the operational silo where as a level-II or III sales guy would think make interface with the customer at the stages mentioned earlier during the deal roadmap.

 There is another matrix which distinctly explains the different facets of the various levels of sales guys which exist in the industry:

Level Perception Resources Performance
Level-III Business Meeting High On Customer ROI Reliable/Exceeds
Level-II Reasonable sales call Timely / judicious Consistently Achieves
Level-I Technical alternatives Premature / Excess Marginal / inconsistent

Don’t consider technical alternatives for the customer but treat it as a meeting where you can highlight the value proposition to the customer which can come in many ways & most importantly pricing is not a barrier, you would get the right price if customer perceived value is high. Even if the customer does not have the kind of money to buy the solution, you can make him go for it if you are able to identify the impact points for the customer and how it can help turnaround tables in customers favor if he were to buy the solution. It is necessary to understand the buying process and what are the sync points of it with the Customer Engagement Cycle (CEL). For being a successful strategic sales guy you don’t need to “sell” but help the customer “buy”.

The sync points through which helps develop the value proposition consist of:

Value Assumption ↔  Assessment and understanding customer needs

Value Proposition ↔ Identifying solutions to suit the value proposition of the customer

Value Proof ↔ Justification

Value Delivery ↔ Implementation

Customer management would be a continuous process all through the buying process. There was lot to offer from my Mr.Sanjay’s side but we were constrained by time and that was the most unfortunate part. I would leave his trail with this parting point; understand the concept of VIP while dealing with the customer view point.

V ↔ Vision ↔ where do I want to be ↔ customer vision

I ↔ Indicator ↔ How do I know that I have arrived?

P ↔ Pain ↔ what keeps me from getting there?

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An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of detection and correction when it comes to organizational security” By Ayushman Baruah

This statement clearly emphasizes on the importance of having an Information Security policy within an organization. Security Policy is the sum total of the rules that regulate how an organization manages and protects its information and computing resources.

As a part of the SamVaad(Industry-Academia interaction) series, Mr. Vishal Salvi (Chief Information Security Officer(CISO) – HDFC Bank) was invited to SPJIMR campus to present on the topic of “Information Security Trends and Role of CISO” on 5th April ’09.

Vishal Salvi

Vishal Salvi

Mr Salvi has 15 years of industry experience having worked in Crompton Greaves, Development Credit Bank, Global Trust Bank, Standard Chartered Bank before taking on the role of Chief Information Security Officer & Senior Vice President at HDFC Bank. Prior to joining HDFC Bank, he has worked in Standard Chartered Bank for eleven years and played variety of roles in IT Service Delivery, Governance and Risk Management and Information Security. At HDFC Bank, Vishal heads the Information Security Group and responsible for driving Information Security strategy and its implementation across the Bank & its subsidiaries.

Mr. Salvi, an erudite speaker, started the discussion on emerging IT models – Cloud Computing and SaaS (Software as a Service). He discussed how Technology is changing with a rapid pace and very soon “IT will be commoditized” as “Ration is commoditized” or it will be something similar as selling water from the tap. Through his simple yet effective presentation, we were exposed to emerging trends in the Information Security. Some of them were as follows:

  1. Cat n Mouse – Information Security and IT are like Cat and Mouse where Information Security is trying to keep pace with IT and chase it continuously

    Cat n Mouse

    Cat n Mouse

  2. Real Risks vs. Perceived Risks – Relating it to the perceived/actual risks while flying or driving. Many people perceive flying as high risk and driving as low risk.
  3. Sellers know more than the buyers – It’s like the knowledge of a vegetable vendor about the vegetables will be more than the buyer of the vegetable. The same concept applies to Information Security as well. This fact highlights the fact that Outsourcing information security is a huge opportunity to large companies. Today when you call a 1-800 or other free phone customer service number you may be seamlessly routed to a call center across the world. There will be a time soon when an identity management system or vulnerability management system may automatically route an issue to be dealt with in the most effective way (cost, quality or speed) for the company.
  4. Organized Cyber Crime – Cyber scams is quickly converting into an organized sector of Cyber crime. Organized crime groups are using the Internet for major fraud and theft activities.

    Devil @ Cyber Crime

    Devil @ Cyber Crime

  5. Diminishing Network boundaries / outsourcing – The industry is still in band-aid mode. It is still evolving and needs to move from Band Aid mode to prevention mode. In this global environment, there is a need for security on Replicated/Federated environments.
  6. Prove Security – How do make sure that the lock was not broken? Audit mechanisms and Digital Rights Mechanisms (DRM) are upcoming fields in this area.
  7. Is compliance still driving Security? – Compliance is more important in mature markets where governments are increasingly enforcing laws and regulations. IT security spending is driven from a business perspective rather than a regulations or standards perspective. That means businesses are more paying attention to customer needs like privacy, and critical information like financials, than to external factors.
  8. Drivers of the Security – Cost, Risk and Compliance
  9. Technology Focused or Business Focused – Information Security is moving from Technology focus to Business Focus. In today’s collaborative business environment, organizations need to integrate their business processes, both internally and externally across the value chain to maintain their competitive advantage. Enterprise Business Integration (EBI) links the IT applications driving these business processes together providing complete, transparent and real-time access to information, in order to realize financial and operational advantages.
  10. New Frameworks – Due to increased regulatory drivers as SOX, BASEL II, need for advanced risk management capability using ERM (Enterprise Risk management) and ORM (Operational risk management) frameworks is rising

A complete jargon free, simplistic chat was what we got with a clear picture on the changing trends in the Information Security. He also covered 21 building blocks of Information Security and the interrelation between each of them. He was absolutely brilliant, in the message he was trying to deliver, the method how he delivered. What was really unique was his blending of humor into his speech and the use of analogies to explain the concepts.

In a nutshell it was very stimulating session which both the students and Mr. Salvi enjoyed. After the stimulating session on emerging trends of Information Security and the challenging role of a CISO, I am sure many of us might consider Information Security and Risk Consulting as a potential career post MBA.

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MBA is all about getting to know beyond what we are already practicing and one important aspect which facilitates this learning is the industry academic interaction. Participants of 2009 PGPM batch got a taste of first such interaction on Saturday when Mr. J Rajagopal (EVP & Global Head – Consulting – TCS) was invited to present on “Side Effects-The Challenges Facing the Global Pharmaceutical Industry”.

Global Pharmaceuticals industry is going through a churn because of primarily two reasons global meltdown and more importantly the approaching dates for patent expiration of some major blockbuster drugs owned by the big companies. The latter is a grave cause of concern as block buster drug account for major chunk of revenues that would cease to exist once the patent expires and generics at very low competitive cost get available in market. There is lot of strategic thinking which is going on in board-rooms of large pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer to counter this serious issue.

Mr. Rajagopal who now heads the Global Consulting Practice at TCS has had a very rich experience in consulting domain for pharmaceutical industry vertical and prior to his current role he was heading the life science & medical devices practice in TCS. No one more apt from the industry could have been chosen to interact with us to discuss the challenges being faced by the Pharmaceutical industry.

Mr.Rajagopal Delivering Lecture

Mr.Rajagopal Delivering Lecture

Through this interaction we were exposed to pharmaceutical industry in a simple yet effective manner by Mr. Rajagopal. The learning was immense because we could gauge from his interaction the process followed for drug discovery and how research goes through “five” phase trials before it actually hits the market. The process itself is very prolonged with the actual molecule hitting the market only after 15 years spent in trials at various stages. In addition to this it may still so happen that you may have just missed the most critical sample that could spell doom for your dream research on a wonder drug within minutes. Mr. Rajagopal shared with us such mishaps that have lead to immediate loss of life during trials phases and some experiments gone horribly wrong leading to permanent impairment in new born. Such incidences have lead to strengthening of FDA bodies across countries and stringent procedure makes drug discovery an ever more difficult procedure. One the most difficult FDA bodies to get across your drug approvals are Japan, US & Europe.

One of the other challenges which stem out of trials mishaps is the litigation & law suites faced by Pharmaceuticals in conjunction to a released molecule having adverse side-effects. The financial burden stemming out of this and growing competition from generics manufacturers is putting lot of pressure on big organizations to move fast which they inherently are not able to do because of bureaucracy and slow response to industry challenges.

Given such a situation, this real life case transforms into a good classroom discussion on what big companies like Pfizer should do to wade of looming crisis. Mr. Rajagopal keeps his presentations very interactive, which gave us a good opportunity to introspect in an incremental fashion and allowed us to take the pill of pharmaceutical industry gradually!!!  A lecture which was initially intended for one hour lasted for about two hours with questions pouring from all corners of the class ranging from “why we can’t patent in phased manner” to “innovative strategies that should be adopted to carry M&A activities”. Some participants were also suggestive of “outsourcing clinical trials to low cost destinations” and cut down on the “trial phase time by adopting efficient research techniques.”

Through his discussion Mr. Rajagopal initiated a thought process in our mind to think of various strategies which could be adopted by Pharmaceutical companies to come over these crisis and some of the above quality responses are reflection of this discussion. The inputs made by us are also indeed being adopted by companies like Pfizer in reality.

My take … I think so we may not have yet bloomed into complete managers but have started showing seeding signs for the bloom…

As we were pressed for time for which we showed total disrespect!!!…overshooting by an hour we converged the session by giving a vote of thanks by Anjana, one of our class participants to Mr. Rajagopal for sharing his rich experience with us.

Vote Of Thanks To Mr.RajaGopal By Anjana Rao

Vote Of Thanks To Mr.RajaGopal By Anjana Rao

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