At Shivaami, women lead the digital transformation process
“In 1997, not many talked about the internet, but I have been an internet enthusiast from the 1990s and I wanted to improve lives by harnessing the power of digital. I started a digital agency that was primarily doing web design. I started with multimedia CD-ROMS and then moved to web designing since that was the need of the hour at that point,” says Thakkar.
The business flourished, but Thakkar realized the need to evolve every 5-6 years, keeping in mind the path the IT industry traversed. “Every half a decade, we try to figure out if we are still relevant or are we outdated. We continuously look to reinvent and keep pace with the trend and in 2004, I started shivaami. By 2012, I could sense there would be a demand for cloud services and solutions and entered the space. Initially, people thought we were wasting our energy, but we are now reaping the benefits of investing in the right direction. We were probably one of the first companies to be listed as a cloud services firm in the MCA portal,” says Thakkar.
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Today, the company is primarily a Google Cloud solutions provider, accounting for 90% of its business. “We specialize in Google Workspace and because we have been in the business for so long, we have served over 15,000-16,00 customers. About 10% of our business includes AWS, Azure, and other cloud services,” says Thakkar.
digital transformation push
While it was not a buzzword in 2012, Thakkar slowly realized that his company was helping clients in their digital transformation journey. Many companies wanted to have an online presence and use the power of digital in their area of work, and Thakkar was the one enabling it.
Thakkar says after Covid, it has become easier for him to make a business case for digital transformation. “Before the pandemic, we were asking clients to adopt cloud solutions and undertake digital transformation. The post-pandemic situation is the opposite, where I do not have the bandwidth to cater to the ever-growing demand,” says Thakkar.
He adds that people have now understood the power of cloud computing. Thakkar says the pandemic forced people to be away from office for some time and they realized the importance of getting the job done from their home or any other location. “At the same time, they did not want to incur significant costs, and that is where we play a very important role. There are many instances where we have helped companies optimize by saving close to 30% of their cost by moving from a capex (capital expenditure) to opex (operational expenditure) model and still do a better job in delivering their services across the world,” he adds.
With technology undergoing rapid changes after Covid-19, Thakkar says the needs of the clients have also undergone a change. For example, Thakkar says, while e-mail across different solutions largely remains the same, the difference in collaboration tools, mobile device management, and aspects around document sharing is palpable after the pandemic.
“Before the pandemic, it was okay to come to the office and check your documents and have what you need on your desktop. However, in the post-pandemic world, you need to be able to access your data everywhere. We help clients with upgrading their mailing solutions to start with, but then progress to moving everything from files, documents and CRM solutions to the cloud. If, for example, a client has an SAP system and wants to integrate it with the mailing solution, we would be able to provide end-to-end service for this,” says Thakkar.
Transformation is a continuous process and as companies mature in digital adoption, their need for different solutions expands. Thakkar says companies need help in this process.
A leading integrated financial solutions provider dealing with startups, large enterprises, and retailers decided to try Shivaami to help store data. “We help our clients in solving their growth capital and working capital challenges. Since we deal with data regularly, we were looking for a solution that would provide storage for our data. We were looking for an all-in-one solution for which we got in touch with Shivaami. An authorized partner of Google Cloud, they helped us by moving us to Google Workspace, which resolved our storage issues. In addition, we got applications like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Chat for collaboration and content management,” says the spokesperson for the organization.
Chetana Chaudhari, CTO of Shivaami, says with hybrid work culture, the trend is now to provide flexibility to employees. “This, in the true sense, is transformation, where work can happen from anywhere. The digital journey of an enterprise on the cloud can be left to a service provider, while the firm itself can concentrate on their core business. While clients in the western countries are better in terms of their understanding of collaborative tools, clients in India need more hand-holding. In India, change management takes a lot of time,” says Chaudhari.
Needs can vary and an electromechanical equipment company was looking for a solution where its employees could access the required data without compromising security. “We were also looking for a collaboration and communication solution. We live in the digital age and everything has been digitalized to save resources and increase work efficiency. Our company could improve productivity through digital transformation and also offer better services to our customers. As a result, we underwent a digital transformation to improve our business,” says the spokesperson of the machinery manufacturing company.
Thakkar’s company also stands out because of the composition of its team. In the tech domain, where the ratio of men to women is generally skewed, about 80% of its workforce is women.
“This has been a conscious decision and a large part of it is because of Chetana, the CTO of the company, who started her career after her maternity break. We have always believed in giving opportunities to women who want to restart their career and for women who want to make a career in the IT sector,” says Priyanka Khanna, Chief Revenue Officer, Shivaami.
According to Chaudhari, bringing women in technology can work wonders in an otherwise male-dominated field. She adds that the company employees about 250 women employees in over five locations. “I would like to add that we do not have any gender bias and this is merely a means to provide women a chance. At the end of the day, everyone is equal in the organization,” says Chaudhari.
Khanna says even the leadership positions of the company are dominated by women. “The clients that we work with are impressed with our employee composition and many want to emulate it within their organization. Women are better at multitasking,” says Khanna.
Thakkar says a lot of emphasis is put on employees having the right skills and for that, on-the-job training is extremely important. “For the first 30 days, all employees are taken through a training course and certification. We have an internal training team that conducts daily sessions. We ensure that employees who join us get the necessary certifications that companies like Google and AWS offer,” says Thakkar.
Khanna says as a Google Cloud partner, the company can help clients with everything from email solutions to high-performance infrastructure for cloud computing. “Along with the GCP platform, we are also part of hardware, which is Google Chromebooks, and also help in optimizing SaaS solutions and providing security within the company. Today, we provide end-to-end cloud solutions,” says Khanna.
This financial year, Shivaami expects a turnover of Rs 600 crore, which Thakkar says would be in sync with industry growth rates. “Looking at the market scenario after the Ukraine-Russia war, a lot of countries are staring at a recession. In India, we have seen little dip in demand, but the challenge is customers are now more cost-conscious. Also, the funding winter for startups has meant smaller companies are tightening their belt. Cloud adoption is happening, but the pace has slowed,” says Thakkar.