Customer Experience Leader Discusses Future of Data Analytics


Sandeep Sharma is managing director of South Asia and Middle East Operations for NICE, a global data analytics firm helping organizations improve their business performance, increase their operational efficiency, and prevent financial crime. A 2001 graduate of Fuqua’s Weekend Executive MBA program, Sharma’s career has taken him from engineering to business, including experience in research and development, marketing and product management.

Sharma shares his perspective on his industry, his region and leadership in this Fuqua Q&A.

Q: What are the biggest challenges currently in the data protection and analytics industry? What do you see as the next leap forward?

The biggest challenges are security and deriving real-time actionable insight from massive amounts of data. Analytics makes sense of big data, mounds and mounds of data that spans terabytes or petabytes of information. With the recent press coverage around Hillary Clinton’s email hacks by the Russians or Yahoo’s public acknowledgement of millions of its user accounts being compromised, the role of robust security frameworks to protect data is well recognized and understood. Given the scale of data under consideration, a small security breach can potentially compromise information for millions of us. Data protection is hence of paramount importance. Usually, big data is characterized by the three Vs: volume (the petabytes of information that continues to increase in volume with each passing second), variety (data is gathered by ever increasing number of sources like emails, phone calls, social interactions, videos, and photos) and velocity (the intent to make sense of the data in an ever increasing trend towards real-time). Adaptive analytics platforms allow us to work with huge volumes of data that come from a variety of sources and are pushing the envelopes of velocity to make decisions in real time. A good example: Imagine shopping for car insurance on a website and simultaneously talking to a call center agent to answer related questions. A capable analytics platform would allow the call center agent to be instantly aware of what the consumer is doing on the website, and create actionable recommendations for the agent to help guide a purchase decision based on similar journeys that millions of other consumers might have taken. (more…)

Pharma CFO Discusses Bridging Cultures and Disciplines

Namita Thapar is chiefnamitathapar-cfo financial officer and an executive board member at Emcure Pharmaceuticals, a $700 million company founded by her father. A 2001 graduate of Fuqua’s Daytime MBA program, Thapar worked in various roles for Glaxo and Guidant (now Abbott) in the U.S. before returning to India.

Since going home Thapar has also launched YEA India, a Young Entrepreneurs Academy for high schoolers. Namita shares lessons from her experience in this Fuqua Q&A.

How does working for a multinational in India differ from one based in the U.S.? How did you navigate the differences?

After working in the U.S. for several years in large public companies, when I returned to India to join our pharmaceuticals business I was pleasantly surprised to see solid global systems in place. We had robust enterprise resource planning, Big Four auditors and a strong and independent board. We pretty much functioned like a public company though we were privately held. Our sales have grown in each of the last 10 years. Most of our systems have kept pace with this growth. However, one area where my U.S. companies were stronger and invested more was in human resources. We are currently investing heavily here to build global systems and leadership bandwidth. I am personally passionate about having a higher percentage of women in our workforce.


Professor Aaron Chatterji Studies India’s Tech Startup Culture

Aaron ChatterjiAaron Chatterji is an associate professor of strategy at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, where his work focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship. His experience includes stints as a senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisors and a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs & in New York. Chatterji is currently studying entrepreneurship in the explosive growth of the Indian tech sector and in January, ran a huge field study with almost 200 startup founders in Bengaluru. Chatterji expands on his research in this Fuqua Q&A.

What drew you to the tech sector in India as a topic of research?

Several things. Firstly, there’s been a couple of high profile companies that have reached over $1 billion valuation, such as Flipkart, that are becoming household names. Also, India has a large domestic market, like China. Some of the startups that launch in India might be similar to the ones we have here in the U.S., but they can get huge domestic market share and become so valuable that they don’t necessarily need to leave India, so we need to go there to study them. Plus India has a high concentration of high-tech talent, some educated at home and some who came home after emigrating abroad. That gives Indian startups a talent pool to draw from. Finally, the government is working hard to promote entrepreneurship and has talked a lot about it, which can potentially create a nurturing environment for startups. (more…)

Times Group CEO Raj Jain: How a New Leader Should Approach the First 100 Days

Raj Jain with students (reduced file size)

Raj Jain (second from right) with Cross Continent MBA students in New Delhi

By Wendy Goldstein, Fuqua marketing and communications staff

Fuqua’s Cross Continent MBA students travel to international residencies where they learn from top business leaders in the region. Recently I joined the class of 2015 during for their studies in New Delhi.

During my visit I was fortunate enough to attend a talk by Raj Jain, the CEO of The Times Group of India, who took time out of his busy schedule to speak candidly to our students about his first 100 days as CEO. The Times Group of India is a multimedia conglomerate that besides newspaper, has successfully entered the TV, radio, internet and outdoor spaces.


Tech Entrepreneur Discusses Opportunities in India

Mumbai skylineJaved Tapia is an entrepreneur whose focus for much of the last two decades has been the technology industry in India. He is the founder and managing director of Clover Infotech, an IT services firm headquartered in Mumbai. Tapia also leads the real estate and solar energy divisions of the company’s portfolio. In the early 2000s, he established Red Hat’s presence in India and served as managing director. During this stint, he helped lead the open source software movement in India and grow the company’s footprint across South Asia.

Tapia graduated from the Daytime MBA program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 1991. He provided some perspective on the Indian technology and entrepreneurial landscapes in a Fuqua Q&A.

Q) How does an IT services firm stay in tune with the rapidly changing needs of clients? Is it more important to focus on addressing current needs or anticipating future ones?

In my opinion, IT services firms should focus on anticipating future needs of the clients. They should completely understand not just the technology trends but also the client’s domain in depth. The best IT services companies should align their technology expertise and domain knowledge to enable their clients to have an edge in business, processes, management and therefore, performance. By doing so, these IT companies will seamlessly address the rapidly changing needs of today’s clients.