How to Use Technology to Solve Business Problems – Practus

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The founders of Practus hail from middle-income families where the “value” consciousness is embedded in everything one does. This attribute played a significant role in the development of Practus’ core value proposition: “Real, measurable, tangible ROI on consulting spend for its clients”.

Deepak’s entrepreneurial tryst started in 2007, before it got “cool”. A qualified public accountant, Deepak gained his grounding at AF Ferguson (which became part of Deloitte) and Ernst & Young, where he advised large companies.

Deepak recognized that there were glaring gaps in business consulting practices, where the risk was largely with the client and consulting firms could get away under the guise of mere consulting with no “skin in the game”, and this prompted him and his co-founder, SVenkat, to start a business that would change the way consulting firms work. In fact, before they could get to the “why”, Deepak and SVenkat had dabbled in another company for a number of years, where they were supporting several 100 global mid-sized companies looking to set up business in India, be it in the form of conducting a feasibility study that Preparing business plans, recruiting executives/key personnel, site feasibility in setting up manufacturing operations, conducting joint venture/technical collaboration discussions between the overseas customer and a potential Indian investor and so on.

S Venkat was the one who spotted this gap during his two stints as CFO of two large US MNCs in India. The opportunity was compelling enough for Deepak to join him. Deepak is also an active volunteer with the Isha Foundation and has been part of some of their social initiatives, a die-hard cricket fan, regular yoga practitioner, a voracious reader and loves spending time with people.

Over the past 25 years, S Venkat has been at the heart of business and financial transformation for over 500 clients worldwide. A qualified chartered accountant, cost and management accountant and practicing risk manager, he began his career at PWC, where he worked for 8 years.

A 28-year-old professional, Venkat was appointed CFO of Aon’s Indian subsidiary. He has actively worked with PE/VC funds, start-ups, family-run businesses and corporate clients, providing companies with practical and actionable solutions to improve business performance and accelerate their transformation processes.

In addition to mentoring the team and pursuing his passion for solving business challenges, Venkat is also an avid traveler, an enthusiast of Indian philosophy and finds enjoyment in filter coffee, Swami Chinmayananda’s teachings and his family. In his spare time he also enjoys quizzes, playing chess and gardening.

With what mission or purpose was the Practus created? What is Practus’ USP?

Our goal at Practus is to break up the consulting realm and challenge the status quo. For the longest time, consultants have served clients with a time and material (T&M) or fixed-price model unrelated to the achievement of tangible business results. Practus is committed to changing this paradigm by committing and delivering an ROI expressed as a multiple of its fee.

Technology is used as a enabler to solve business problems along with a highly skilled team. Over the past decade, Practus (formerly known as MyCFO) has successfully helped nearly 1,000 companies (ranging from funded startups to Fortune 500 companies) in 9 countries solve business problems in finance, supply chain, operations, manufacturing, distribution and marketing supports functions to significantly improve their sales, cash flows, profits and efficiencies. Practus serves global customers from its offices in India, New York and Dubai.

Practus’ unique differentiator is a commitment to delivering tangible ROI to its clients and has delivered nearly $200M in savings in the last 10 years alone through (a) Office of CFO (b) Performance Improvement and (c) Business transformation

Enabling Technology as a key variant at Practus?

Practus has become synonymous with solving complex business problems for clients using technology as enablers. Technology is now a commodity and widely available, the differentiator lies in the combination of this with the skills (people) and our experience of having successfully implemented it with 1000 customers over the past decade.

Practus has worked with over 150 products over the last ten years to solve specific customer problems. The ROI achieved was between 3x and 30x the transformation spend. Some of the areas Practus has worked in were Business Intelligence where tools like Power BI (Microsoft), Qlik View and Tableau have been implemented, or ERPs like SAP, Microsoft, Netsuite and others or in the areas of AI where we have done this Have had the opportunity to implement Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for multiple companies using UI Path or Automation Anywhere or solve specific customer problems in Procure to Pay (SAP Ariba, Expenzing), Balance Sheet Consolidation (Blackline), Budgeting, Planning, Consolidation (Quarkcube , GIDE) and others

Understand the role and challenges of the CFO at a macro level

The role of a CFO has shifted from accounting to accountability. The expectation of a CFO has long been a business partner. A McKinsey study found that on average, five functions other than finance now report to the CFO, ranging from risk and regulatory compliance to IT and cybersecurity. In a survey of CFOs conducted by Ernst and Young, nearly 70% said they are spending more time providing analytics and insights to help leaders and decision makers make better decisions.

Let’s look at what’s causing the disruption? Factors such as external economic uncertainty, increasing regulation, availability of data, rapid digitization and attracting and retaining top finance talent are top concerns for CFOs. CFOs today recognize that disruption often comes with opportunity. CFOs who can position their organization and prepare effectively for these changes will gain a competitive advantage. There is a clear expectation from the CFO to drive and deliver ROI for digital or other projects.

The soft side of CFO leadership is showing strongly, and CFOs are increasingly becoming generalist C-suite leaders. It is becoming increasingly clear that this is exactly what corporate leaders expect of them. CFOs who can tell a compelling story and have data points along the way are clearly the ones who can differentiate themselves.

It also means that finance functions need to focus on and implement KPIs [key performance indicators] and metrics that talk about long-term value creation. It is one of the imperatives for the CFO of the future: to be the value architect in the long term. It is one of the most important aspects of how CFOs will be measured in the future.

Role of the CFO towards companies and stakeholders

There is a clear expectation from the CFO to drive and deliver ROI for digital or other projects. The soft side of CFO leadership is showing strongly, and CFOs are increasingly becoming generalist C-suite leaders.

It is becoming increasingly clear that this is exactly what corporate leaders expect of them. CFOs who can tell a compelling story and have data points along the way are clearly the ones who can differentiate themselves. It also means that finance functions need to focus on and implement KPIs [key performance indicators] and metrics that talk about long-term value creation. It is one of the imperatives for the CFO: to be the value architect in the long term.

The CFO’s responsibility doesn’t just end with leading his team or making sure they deliver what the CFO expects of them. The expectation is to work with stakeholders and improve performance, be they functional leaders, customers, suppliers, the board and others

Emphasizing the sector approach of CFOs where required and the expertise of Practus

As mentioned, Practus works with organizations ranging from funded startups to Fortune 500 companies across multiple industries. While Practus is industry agnostic, our focus sectors are Healthcare, Pharma, Biotech, Technology/IT, FMCG/Consumer Products, Auto & Logistics, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Professional Services, Private Equity, Education, Media & Gaming. Practus focuses on sectors that are non-cyclical, have high capital spending or have significant government exposure.

Develop added value for customers

Practus unlocks value for its clients through its “proprietary” ROI framework, which focuses on 4 critical parameters of a client’s business (a) Revenue Optimization (b) Profitability Improvement (c) Working Capital/Cash Flow Improvement and (d) Improvement in Business Reviews. Every problem that Practus proposes to solve is bound to affect at least one of the 4 parameters mentioned above.

The areas, the quantum of the ROI and the deadlines when this will be realized by the customers are communicated in most cases in advance before Practus starts the implementation at that customer, giving the customer the peace of mind that it’s all in goes partnership and not just what has been agreed as part of the “scope”.

What is the growth path for Practus?

We believe the market size and opportunities ahead are enormous. The need for companies to reinvent themselves, grow organically or inorganically, become ever better and more efficient, and solve existential problems will never go out of style. The pace and quality of Practus’ growth will be determined by how we continue to seek ways to deliver “tangible, clearly measurable” results to clients in every service and country in which we operate today/will operate in the future.

More importantly, the need to hire, educate, develop, and develop high quality talent and provide them with an environment where they can express themselves without fear or pressure is perhaps the biggest area of ​​focus. Our growth over the last 10 years has been at a CAGR of almost 40%, this has improved even more in the last 2 years since the pandemic and if we continue to grow at the current pace we should reach 6x what we are currently in the next 5 years.

A few words about Techiexpert

Since technology is something we are committed to, we are constantly reading and studying various blogs about technology to further solidify our technical skills, and what better platform than TechiExpert as I believe Techiexpert is a good way and an emerging one One stop shop for technology and gadget enthusiasts to keep in touch with relevant news and perspectives on today’s technology topics and developments.

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