Dhiraj Rajaram creates India’s first billion dollar analytics company

Dhiraj Rajaram, got featured in Economic Times recently as the CEO- founder of India’s first billion dollar valuation analytics startup.

Mu Sigma attracts a clutch of foreign investors, gets valued at $1 billion, Dhiraj Rajaram is now king of data

This year, the company which employs 2,500 people across a development centre in Bangalore and offices in the US, UK and Australia, will build a data analytics lab in the US and hire 400 data scientists there.

I first met Dhiraj in 2008 Q1 for a job. We didnt agree partly because I needed to be close to my son ( who was 4 mth old) and I ended up taking a contract with another Bangalore based company. What impressed me at that time was something I rarely see in India’s analytics entrepreneurs-

1)  A Grand Vision- Dhiraj said- I am trying to build the largest math factory on the world.

2) Focus- Dhiraj was focused only on analytics projects. No quick and easy outsourcing low end tasks and outsourcing for him.

3) Positivity- Not once during the entire two hour interaction did he say a negative word on competition, attrition, challenges, pressures.

4) Flamboyance- I wonder sometimes why a colorful culture like India’s end up with people being so meek in corporate culture. Dhiraj was probably one of the most flamboyant senior analytics leaders.

But there were some concerns I had in 2008 q1- including plans for IPO ( I thought that was early) and senior management flux ( the COO left in a few months).

Anyways Dhiraj grew the 200 strong team to around 900 by 2010 q3. This time again he called me for a job interview. This time we again found that there was nothing I was really good at in analytics company- with my interest in open source, blogging and writing books, and my morbid fear of managing people in operations. However I noticed some changes-

  1. There were greater signs of process driven orientation ( including messages to keep meetings short)
  2. There were newer people in senior management
  3. Dhiraj was slightly more restrained in his frank talk ( given his increasing stature and demands on his time and attention on him)
  4. I loved the sign on his Office- Jugad. Literally that means ingenuity in Hindi- and shows a glimpse into the maveric, brilliant and flamboyant nature of the CEO.

Again, there were some odd points. Mu Sigma continued to have the perception ( true or false, I dont know) of having a large number of attrition at junior levels. Again there were rumours that Dhiraj had become a bit autocratic in management ( which I found no clue of). I found that the biggest problem that Mu Sigma, Dhiraj had – they were creating enemies just by shaking up the slow IT Services mindset of India- where easy money was available just by low quality labor arbitrage. This cultural opposition to anything new (like a pure analytics company), or anything rapid ( like a company that scales up organically) could have stopped lesser men, but Mu Sigma moved on.

So it was quite nice to read the news, finally an Indian company , had broken the 1 billion mark. Allow me some leeway here. I truly believe analytics and maths have no nationality. But if you see the rampant poverty in India , what we need is more aggressive and impatient businessmen like Mr Rajaram, than the chalta hain _ ” it is okay” attitude.

Dhiraj and team, take a bow. You make us proud!

 

 

 

 

iPhones Siri to replace call centers . Is it doable

I was wondering why the planet  spends  so much money in the $150-billion business process outsourcing industry, especially in voice calls to call centers.

If your iPhone Siri phone can be configured to answer any query, Why can’t it be configured to be  a virtual assistant, customer support, marketing outbound or even a super charged call center interactive voice response .

Can we  do and run some tests on this?

Credit Downgrade of USA and Triple A Whining

As a person trained , deployed and often asked to comment on macroeconomic shenanigans- I have the following observations to make on the downgrade of US Debt by S&P

1) Credit rating is both a mathematical exercise of debt versus net worth as well as intention to repay. Given the recent deadlock in United States legislature on debt ceiling, it is natural and correct to assume that holding US debt is slightly more risky in 2011 as compared to 2001. That means if the US debt was AAA in 2001 it sure is slightly more risky in 2011.

2) Politicians are criticized the world over in democracies including India, UK and US. This is natural , healthy and enforced by checks and balances by constitution of each country. At the time of writing this, there are protests in India on corruption, in UK on economic disparities, in US on debt vs tax vs spending, Israel on inflation. It is the maturity of the media as well as average educational level of citizenry that amplifies and inflames or dampens sentiment regarding policy and business.

3) Conspicuous consumption has failed both at an environmental and economic level. Cheap debt to buy things you do not need may have made good macro economic sense as long as the things were made by people locally but that is no longer the case. Outsourcing is not all evil, but it sure is not a perfect solution to economics and competitiveness. Outsourcing is good or outsourcing is bad- well it depends.

4) In 1944 , the US took debt to fight Nazism, build atomic power and generally wage a lot of war and lots of dual use inventions. In 2004-2010 the US took debt to fight wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and bail out banks and automobile companies. Some erosion in the values represented by a free democracy has taken place, much to the delight of authoritarian regimes (who have managed to survive Google and Facebook).

5) A Double A rating is still quite a good rating. Noone is moving out of the US Treasuries- I mean seriously what are your alternative financial resources to park your government or central bank assets, euro, gold, oil, rare earth futures, metals or yen??

6) Income disparity as a trigger for social unrest in UK, France and other parts is an ominous looming threat that may lead to more action than the poor maths of S &P. It has been some time since riots occured in the United States and I believe in time series and cycles especially given the rising Gini coefficients .

Gini indices for the United States at various times, according to the US Census Bureau:[8][9][10]

  • 1929: 45.0 (estimated)
  • 1947: 37.6 (estimated)
  • 1967: 39.7 (first year reported)
  • 1968: 38.6 (lowest index reported)
  • 1970: 39.4
  • 1980: 40.3
  • 1990: 42.8
    • (Recalculations made in 1992 added a significant upward shift for later values)
  • 2000: 46.2
  • 2005: 46.9
  • 2006: 47.0 (highest index reported)
  • 2007: 46.3
  • 2008: 46.69
  • 2009: 46.8

7) Again I am slightly suspicious of an American Corporation downgrading the American Governmental debt when it failed to reconcile numbers by 2 trillion and famously managed to avoid downgrading Lehman Brothers.  What are the political affiliations of the S &P board. What are their backgrounds. Check the facts, Watson.

The Chinese government should be concerned if it is holding >1000 tonnes of Gold and >1 trillion plus of US treasuries lest we have a third opium war (as either Gold or US Treasuries will burst)

. Opium in 1850 like the US Treasuries in 2010 have no inherent value except for those addicted to them.

8   ) Ron Paul and Paul Krugman are the two extremes of economic ideology in the US.

Reminds me of the old saying- Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Both the Pauls seem equally unhappy and biased.

I have to read both WSJ and NYT to make sense of what actually is happening in the US as opinionated journalism has managed to elbow out fact based journalism. Do we need analytics in journalism education/ reporting?

9) Panic buying and selling would lead to short term arbitrage positions. People like W Buffet made more money in the crash of 2008 than people did in the boom years of 2006-7

If stocks are cheap- buy. on the dips. Acquire companies before they go for IPOs. Go buy your own stock if you are sitting on  a pile of cash. Buy some technology patents in cloud , mobile, tablet and statistical computing if you have a lot of cash and need to buy some long term assets.

10) Follow all advice above at own risk and no liability to this author 😉

 

Oracle launches XBRL extension for financial domains

What is XBRL and how does it work?

http://www.xbrl.org/HowXBRLWorks/

How XBRL Works
XBRL is a member of the family of languages based on XML, or Extensible Markup Language, which is a standard for the electronic exchange of data between businesses and on the internet.  Under XML, identifying tags are applied to items of data so that they can be processed efficiently by computer software.

XBRL is a powerful and flexible version of XML which has been defined specifically to meet the requirements of business and financial information.  It enables unique identifying tags to be applied to items of financial data, such as ‘net profit’.  However, these are more than simple identifiers.  They provide a range of information about the item, such as whether it is a monetary item, percentage or fraction.  XBRL allows labels in any language to be applied to items, as well as accounting references or other subsidiary information.

XBRL can show how items are related to one another.  It can thus represent how they are calculated.  It can also identify whether they fall into particular groupings for organisational or presentational purposes.  Most importantly, XBRL is easily extensible, so companies and other organisations can adapt it to meet a variety of special requirements.

The rich and powerful structure of XBRL allows very efficient handling of business data by computer software.  It supports all the standard tasks involved in compiling, storing and using business data.  Such information can be converted into XBRL by suitable mapping processes or generated in XBRL by software.  It can then be searched, selected, exchanged or analysed by computer, or published for ordinary viewing.

also see

http://www.xbrl.org/Example1/

 

 

 

and from-

http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/xbrlextension-354972.html?msgid=3-3856862107

With more than 7,000 new U.S. companies facing extensible business reporting language (XBRL) filing mandates in 2011, Oracle has released a free XBRL extension on top of the latest release of Oracle Database.

Oracle’s XBRL extension leverages Oracle Database 11g Release 2 XML to manage the collection, validation, storage, and analysis of XBRL data. It enables organizations to create one or more back-end XBRL repositories based on Oracle Database, providing secure XBRL storage and query-ability with a set of XBRL-specific services.

In addition, the extension integrates easily with Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition to provide analytics, plus interactive development environments (IDEs) and design tools for creating and editing XBRL taxonomies.

The Other Side of XBRL
“While the XBRL mandate continues to grow, the feedback we keep hearing from the ‘other side’ of XRBL—regulators, academics, financial analysts, and investors—is that they lack sufficient tools and historic data to leverage the full potential of XBRL,” says John O’Rourke, vice president of product marketing, Oracle.

However, O’Rourke says this is quickly changing as XBRL mandates enter their third year—and more and more companies have to comply. While the new extension should be attractive to organizations that produce XBRL filings, O’Rourke expects it will prove particularly valuable to regulators, stock exchanges, universities, and other organizations that need to collect, analyze, and disseminate XBRL-based filings.

Outsourcing, a Bolt-on Solution, or Integrated XBRL Tagging
Until recently, reporting organizations had to choose between expensive third-party outsourcing or manual, in-house tagging with bolt-on solutions— both of which introduce the possibility of error.

In response, Oracle launched Oracle Hyperion Disclosure Management, which provides an XBRL tagging solution that is integrated with the financial close and reporting process for fast and reliable XBRL report submission—without relying on third-party providers. The solution enables organizations to

  • Author regulatory filings in Microsoft Office and “hot link” them directly to financial reporting systems so they can be easily updated
  • Graphically perform XBRL tagging at several levels—within Microsoft Office, within EPM system reports, or in the data source metadata
  • Modify or extend XBRL taxonomies before the mapping process, as well as set up multiple taxonomies
  • Create and validate final XBRL instance documents before submission

 

The impact of currency fluctuations on outsourcing businesses globally

 

The impact of currency fluctuations on outsourcing businesses globally.

If you have a current offshore team in a different country/currency zone then you may find that the significant cost savings from outsourcing have vanished due to currency fluctuations that occur for reasons like earthquakes, war or oil- something which is outside the core competency of your business corporation. As off shoring companies incur cost in local currencies but gain revenue in American Dollars and Euro (mostly), they pass on these fluctuating costs to their customers but rarely pass along discounts on existing contracts. Sometimes the offshoring contract actually gains from currency fluctuations.The Indian rupee has fluctuated from  43.62 Rupees per USD (04-01-2005) to 48.58 (12-31-2008) to the current value of 44.65.This makes for a volatility component of almost 10 percentage points to the revenue and profit margins of an off shoring vendor. Inflation in India has been growing at 8.5 % and the annual increase in salaries has been around 10-15 % for the past few years. Offshoring vendors have been known to cut back on quality in recruitment when costs have risen historically, and the current attrition rate in Indian ITES is almost 17%.
This raises important questions for companies going for global bids for the offshoring contracts. Should macroeconomic indicators like currency fluctuations, wage-inflation be part of the request for proposal process (RFP). Would vendors be comfortable in disclosing the ratio of salary costs to billing revenue. Should dips in service quality be penalized by customer. Most importantly, while going in for a multi year contract, the projection of fore-casted savings may vary greatly due to extraneous factors.
(this article was originally written for and published by http://www.indiasoftwarebrief.com/ in their daily newsletter and their socail media channel- see http://www.linkedin.com/groups/impact-currency-fluctuations-on-outsourcing-3825591.S.48411960)

 

 

American Decline- Why outsourcing doesnt make sense

Bureau of Labor Statistics logo RGB colors.
Image via Wikipedia

Here is a celebrated graphic from an American journalist using U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is a good example of using time as a dimension for animation- and heat maps for geography enabled visualizations.

————————–According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 31 million people currently unemployed — that’s including those involuntarily working part time and those who want a job, but have given up on trying to find one. In the face of the worst economic upheaval since the Great Depression, millions of Americans are hurting. “The Decline: The Geography of a Recession,” as created by labor writer LaToya Egwuekwe, serves as a vivid representation of just how much. Watch the deteriorating transformation of the U.S. economy from January 2007 — approximately one year before the start of the recession — to the most recent unemployment data available today. Original link: http://www.latoyaegwuekwe.com/geographyofarecession.html. For more information, email latoya.egwuekwe@yahoo.com

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31 million unemployed- Does a US corporation seriously think that it can build everything OUTSIDE America and SELL INSIDE America. or who think it is okay intellectual property continues to be stolen as long as labor is cheap.

Shame on you if you outsourced your neighbour’s jobs- or would rather hire in a geography where they steal your intellectual property.

 

This Christmastime – May the Ghost of  the Unemployed Family Christmases visit you in your sleep instead.

Hey Americano- outsource your job here

Mystiq (Raphael-Raven Darkholme). Art by Tom G...
Image via Wikipedia

Yup Yankee Doodle. Welcome to India. Ancient Land of Mystique. Modern Land of taking your job.

Let me give you how many jobs we created in India from you.

“Generation of employment

The rapid growth in IT-BPO industry has created large number of jobs for the expanding employablepopulation. The employment provided by the industry increased more than 8 times over FY2000-2009and reached 2.2 million in FY2009.”

Thats stratight from the horses mouth  from http://www.nasscom.in/upload/68924/Impact_Study_2010_Exec_Summary.pdf

2.2 million jobs. Assume 50% of jobs catered to US. Thats 1.1 Million . Assume lower productivity by Indians of 10%.

That’s a million jobs, Americano. Thanks for nothing.

Thats 1 million people who went from taking a paycheck and spending it (on Chinese manufactured good) to 1 million welfare checks.

Comprende?

Now I wish we could drink more Coke, buy more Levis, or even more Fighter Aircraft using our 250 $ billion reserves, but we follow China the leader.

See

http://www.stats.gov.cn/english/newsandcomingevents/t20101021_402677638.htm

6. Foreign trade grew rapidly and trade surplus was reduced to some extent. The total value of imports and exports for the first three quarters of this year was US$ 2,148.7 billion, up by 37.9 percent year-on-year. The value of exports was US$ 1,134.6 billion, up by 34.0 percent, and the value of imports was US$ 1,014.0 billion, up by 42.4 percent. The trade surplus was US$ 120.6 billion, a decline of US$ 14.9 billion over the same period last year.”

Thats a lot of money employing a lot of Chinese, maybe even more than the 1 million American jobs that went to India.

From http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/bp260/

The computers, electronic equipment, and parts industries experienced the largest growth in trade deficits with China, leading with 627,700 (26%) of all jobs displaced between 2001 and 2008. As a result, the hardest hit Congressional districts were located in California and Texas, where remaining jobs in those industries are concentrated, and in North Carolina, which was hard hit by job displacement in a variety of manufacturing industries

NOTE- Thats also a very sensitive area in terms of security cyber et all

Anyways, thats all now. Thanks for the jobs Yankee boys

(written by an Indian who dislikes job losses anywhere)