5 WAYS To – Deal with Loss of Power at Work

You may have seen the signs, but you ignored them. Organisational restructuring, office politics, or one’s own inabilities to handle work and people can lead to a sudden loss of influence at work. Seeking clarifications from the management, refraining from negativity and reaching out to mentors can help salvage the situation. Anumeha Chaturvedi lists how you can proceed.

1 Look Within

A loss of position or power could be attributed to multiple factors like personal inability, lack of skills, organisational restructuring or office politics. A setback could take the form of an internal transfer, a pay cut, or a reduced role and responsibilities. “Dealing with any setback requires introspection. Considering it as an opportunity to reflect and understand what you need to learn and where you went wrong can help in moving on,“ says Malvika Varma, senior VP, HR at Max Healthcare.

2 Seek Clarifications

Once professionals have identified the hooks, they need to seek clarifications from the management. Shraddha Mathur, a banking professional, had to take an internal transfer as her position was made redundant under a restructuring. “One needs clarity from the organisation and it is important to get your concerns allayed from those you trust. It is also important to express willingness to move to the next best role and function,“ she says.

3 Reach out to Friends

A loss of influence is also a good time to reach out to your friends and mentors about your situation. “An outsider’s perspective helps clear internal cobwebs that one grapples with when faced with such challenges,“ says Varma.

4 Refrain From Negativity

One may be put under the spotlight when transfers are made public. While colleagues may be eager to elicit strong reactions, it helps to keep a brave front. “Display emotional maturity. To colleagues, one can simply say the senior management is fully aware of what it is doing and that one is looking forward to the next opportunity. Indicating your interest in the next assignment is better than commenting on how and why it came up,“ says Varma.

5 Look for Options

Reskilling programmes based on an objective analysis of one’s existing abilities and networking can help one land external opportunities. Mathur’s organisation is doing away with silos. “While I have taken an internal transfer, I am in touch with industry people for the next best opportunity,“ she says.

Source: The Economic Times

Date: Nov 28 2014

Kotak 1st bank to fully own an insurance biz

Gets RBI Approval To Set Up Non-Life Co

Kotak Mahindra Bank on Tuesday became the first bank to get the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) permission to set up a wholly-owned non-life insurance company. The bank is already the promoter of a life insurance company in partnership with Old Mutual of South Africa.

The terms of RBI guidelines allow a bank to hold a maximum 50% in an insurance joint venture. However, the central bank had allowed some exceptions to this rule, which include State Bank of India and ICICI Bank. In both these partnerships, the banks hold 74% while the balance 26% is held by a foreign partner.

Kotak General Insurance will be the 29th non-life company in the country .The last non-life insurer to get permission from the regulator was Cigna TTK -a health insurance company . The last company to set up a full-fledged general insurance business was Liberty Videocon General Insurance Company .

“The general insurance business in India is currently a Rs 77,000-crore premium per annum industry and is growing at a healthy rate of 17%. It provides a cover of close to Rs 1,000 lakh crore,“ said Gaurang Shah, president (asset management, insurance and international business), Kotak group.

He added that the bank aimed to start the general insurance business by itself as it had the distribution potential and brand value, but it was not ruling out any joint ventures in future.

At present, Kotak Mahindra Bank is a corporate agent for Tata AIG General Insurance. According to sources, Kotak Bank generates close to Rs 100 crore of premium selling non-life products. This business is likely to go to its non-life subsidiary in future. The bank has nominated Mahesh Balasubramanian, executive vice-president and co-head (branch banking) as the CEO of the proposed non-life firm.

According to Balasubramanian, the company will definitely be present in motor and health insurance -the fastest growing segments in the non-life business. “Being a new entrant, we will have opportunities to embrace new technologies and developments in the digital world to provide innovative products and solutions, which will deliver superior customer experience,“ he said. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) norms require a non-life company to commence operations with a start-up capital of Rs 100 crore.

Notifying the exchanges of the RBI clearance, Kotak Mahindra Bank said that the bank had earlier received an in-principle approval from IRDA for incorporation of a general insurance company.

Source: The Times of India (Mumbai)

Date: 26th November,2014

Top insurance broker JLT to launch India ops next month

Europe’s largest insurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) is set to launch its operations in India next month following an acquisition of stake in Sunidhi group’s Independent Insurance Brokers. This is the first investment by a global firm following the global financial crisis.

The joint venture has received the necessary government clearances. The company has appointed Sanjay Radhakrishnan, senior vicepresident at Bharti Axa General Insurance, as head of its Indian operations. Speaking to TOI, Radhakrishnan said that as a specialist broker JLT had unique products covering cyber insurance, political risks and covers in the renewable energy space.

One of the new products the company is looking at is a unique group health policy offered as part of its suite of employee benefit plans.“Typically , group health policies offer the same benefit for all employees. We have introduced a flexi benefit programme where the employee can choose the level of benefits. We help insurance companies in pricing this product,“ said Radhakrishnan.

Although this is the first time JLT is obtaining a broking licence in India, the firm has done business with Indian companies for nearly 25 years by helping obtain international reinsurance support for domestic policies.JLT also has a back-office in Powai, Mumbai, which it describes as a global knowledge hub where it employs close to 1,200 people.

In the first phase, the company will offer services in five cities -Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru and Pune.

Source: The Times of India (Mumbai)

Date: 26th November,2014

Sacredness has an Expiry Date

Adoration in organisation is circumstantial

Prayag, the point where the river Ganga joins the river Yamuna, near Allahabhad, is a sacred place in Hinduism. But it be comes especially sacred on the new moon day (amavasya) in the month of Magh (January-February) when the planet Jupiter enters the Zodiac House of Aquarius (Kumba) and the sun enters the Zodiac House of Aries (Mesha), an astronomical event that happens once in twelve years. When this alignment of stars and planets happens, thewaters become especially sacred and millions come to bathe in the river. People believe a dip in that time will bestow upon them all good fortune. This, ofcourse, is a matter of belief.What is important to note, however, is that the sacredness of the river is restricted by time. Before the celestial alignment, and after it, it becomes an ordinary river.Within the `muhurat’ it is special.

When market forces creates a `muhurat’ then a devata’s role becomes especially important

This same idea is seen when Hindus conduct rituals in the house invoking variousdeities. In keeping with ancient Vedic practice, the devata (deity) is invoked (avahana), appeased with offerings, and then bidden farewell (visarjan). This is also done at a special time, the muhurat, to ensure the deity has maximum `power’ to satisfy our wishes and grant us blessings.

Both the rituals at the river and in the household pay great importance to the idea of timing or `muhurat’. So it is with people in the corporate world. Everybody is actually a muhurat-wala devata, meaning of value to the organisation in a par This same idea is seen when Hindus conduct rituals in the house invoking various deities. In keeping with ancient Vedic practice, the devata (deity) is invoked (avahana), appeased with offerings, and then bidden farewell (visarjan). This is also done at a special time, the muhurat, to ensure thedeity has maximum `power’ to satisfy our wishes and grant us blessings.

Both the rituals at the river and in the household pay great importance to the idea of timing or `muhurat’. So it is with people in the corporate world. Everybody is actually a muhurat-wala devata, meaning of value to the organisation in a par ticular period of time, not before and not after. Every member of the organisation is valued as a deity or devata, but their value rises astronomically when market forces or the will of the shareholders creates a `muhurat’ when one personrole or another becomes especially important.

Thus, when the market is shrinking, the marketing role becomes very important. A new marketing head is called for and celebrated as the most important person in the organisation, much to the irritation of the old devatas. When cost has to be brought down, then the finance head becomes the muhurat-wala devata. When its time to end the financial year, the sales department matters more than marketing. When the business decides to enter the digital world, then the geeks in town, those who understand software and internet become the darlings of the organisation. When licenses are required, then the liaison office that deals with government becomes especially sacred.

A devata must never get carried away by the devotion of the yajaman (the wor shipper). He must remember that the devotion is based on a particular need fuelled by a particular circumstance.When the circumstance changes, when the need passes, the adoration ceases and the worship ends. In other words, devotion for a devata has a very clear expiry date. This can be traumatic for the devata if the devata does not keep in mind that all such relationships are contextual and never permanent. It is easy to get carried away by the affection and adoration of the yajaman, assume that the love with last forever. It does not.

Many devatas therefore work hard not to solve the problem they have been invokedfor. They keep the problem going to ensure devotion of the yajaman. Thus the CEO will always keep the fires burning so that the `muhurat’ is extended and the shareholder has valid reason to extend his term again and again.

Novices often find themselves in the giddy heights of yajaman-adoration, only to find themselves dropped one day, without warning. The heart breaks as the devotee retreats. But as Kumbha-mela and household rituals inform us ­ there is always another time when the devata will once again be needed. Needs are cyclical.Muhurat may end but it also eventually, inevitably, comes back. The devotees will return to the Prayag, albeit twelve years later. CD

Source: The Economic Times (Mumbai)

Date: Nov 21 2014

How an erstwhile boxmaker is transforming inside-out while adopting an outside-in approach

Some three years ago, Rajan Arora, owner of the Delhi based Megahertz Infotech, a mid-sized systems integrator, reached out to Dell after bagging Vectra Glosec, an Israeli customer that dealt with surveillance equipment. “The first quarter went off very well but by the second quarter, I realized that Dell had started tapping the customer directly as the customer started questioning our value addition,“ Arora recalls. So he approached the Dell team, who in turn, responded with helplessness claiming that the customer had moved from a mid-market account to a global account. Clearly, for Arora, Dell back then sounded like hell.

About three quarters back, the same Rajan Arora trucked with Dell as a partner after seeing industry stalwarts and channel champions Alok Ohrie and Anil Sethi sign up with the tech heavyweight. “A quarter back, we picked up this large order from a telecom VAS provider, a Dell direct account,“ he says, thanking Dell’s intervention for it. Initially, the customer refused to sign up with Arora claiming to deal with Dell directly. So when he informed Dell about the stickiness, the company told the customer that it would deal with it directly but ultimately everything will be done by the partner. “This was a turning point and I realized that Dell has bought my trust,“ says Arora.

Making a private bid

Perhaps, this is the transformation Dell India President & Managing Director Alok Ohrie refers to time and again as an “outside-in approach“. It is evident ever since Michael Dell took his eponymous Texas-headquartered company private last year at a whopping $24.9 billion. The 49-year-old Dell wanted to surge ahead as an end-to-end solutions provider rather than a mere box-maker as Wall Street’s profit-oriented quarterly mindset impeded that thought process. So while Michael Dell, who scoffs at the investor community as “circus clowns“, took his company private only last year, he was plotting to do so for six years or so, with about 40 acquisitions at $18 billion. And Dell’s Team India seems to be at the forefront of that change.

While Ohrie, 48, joined Dell last year, the company roped in Anil Sethi, another IBM old-timer with stints in Microsoft and TCS, to head channels in India only in May. In the new scheme of things, they had to radically transform Dell’s direct-selling model by adopting a partner-driven approach when it came to coverage. Also, the new Dell was no more a mere box-maker but an ambitious player in the high-margin (Social, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud) SMAC landscape, albeit a late entrant.

Crossing the channel

Ohrie and team went about first by crafting out a three-pronged route to market (RTM) –Dell-led, partner-led and distributor-led–model. The move followed Michael Dell’s announcement at Dell World in Austin last December that the company would offload 2 lakh accounts to partners globally. And Dell India has not disappointed a year later by handing out about 40,000 of those accounts to partners.

While the Dell-led approach envisaged creating the initial traction and momentum around conversations with the customer wherein the company could showcase its capability, it ensured ample room for partner engagement in case of gaps which Dell couldn’t fill in. For instance, if a BFSI customer demands refreshing core banking solution, Dell does not carry such application and would be willing to partner with an ISP which would essentially be providing that part of the stack.

In the other two engagements, Dell’s partner-led approach addresses enterprises with end-to-end solutions while the distributor-led plank caters to end-consumers. Unlike in the past, “there is clarity, predictability and a defined approach with which we are going to the market and so the trust barometer has suddenly shot up,“ claims Ohrie.

Though Dell India already has 3,000 partners on board, many of them are multi-channel in nature and end up selling IBM or Cisco offerings too. “In certain accounts, particularly those involving hardware, Dell is very strong and partners are aware of that, and some partners get a comfort level with the new top guys at Dell, whom they see as channel-driven,“ claims Vishal Tripathi, Principal Research Analyst, Gartner.

However, there is a caveat for Dell if it were to become a formidable player in the services pie. “Dell has actually missed the bus in terms of services in India and implementing large (high-margin) projects is not in their DNA,“ says Benoy CS, Director, Information & Communication Technologies Practice, Frost & Sullivan. He adds that while the direct model would go on to feed the SOHOs and SMBs, Dell needs trust with partners to crack the larger projects.

Krishnakumar P heads the consumer and small business portfolio at Dell India and seems well-aligned to the new reality.“We have identified demand bottom-up and are tapping Tier II to Tier V towns that are hungry for information,“ he says. Dell has even re-jigged its marketing ploy in such areas by telling its distributors to give inventory to partners on consignment basis, a first-time in the industry. Krishnakumar says it is a competitive advantage for him since stock is made available only on order, thereby negating inventory pileup at the partners’ end.

Leadership realignment

The new approach to selling also called for splitting the country geographically into four zones–north, south, east and west–each zone led by a senior leader who directly reports to Ohrie and is responsible for P&L of all the categories in Dell’s product portfolio. For instance, Ajay Kaul, who runs north, is provided with a team of resources that cuts across all the four categories–end-use computing, enterprise solution, software and services.

An obvious question pops up–what comes of the various business unit heads, or the horizontal heads, as Dell calls them? “In any matrix organization, there is always collaboration and teaming,“ points out Ohrie. Say, a solution is being proposed with multiple categories as a part of the stack, and pricing needs to be arrived at. While that pricing is the responsibility of the geography head, in the spirit of collaboration, he would ideally revert to the business unit head to thrash out an agreement before going ahead. Benoy CS of Frost & Sullivan calls the dual leadership far more focused since the product teams will support the geo heads, who would be aligned to the regions. “It is quite like in telcos where there are circle heads with overriding power to even decide on circle rates,“ he points out, adding the move is certainly a cultural shift as far as Dell is concerned.

Change management cascade

With leadership aligned to the new order, Dell India undertook the culture of end-to-end selling throughout the company with its home grown `Platinum Club’ campaign, an institutionalized sales incentive program that rewards high performers based on consistent contribution.

After getting the buy-in from Texas for its three-pronged RTM, Dell India was faced with the challenge of diffusing the logic across nearly 27,000 employees. “So 10 months back, we did 23 sessions in just three weeks,“ recalls Ohrie. Each session was conducted by a leader and the mentoring and coaching got cascaded to other levels.

Interestingly, such sessions were focused on three critical questions–why, what and how–as each session addressed one such query. Again, Ohrie takes recourse to the outside-in approach when he talks about the `why-do-we-need-to-change’ and `how-do-we-change’ part of it. The effort was to make it inclusive and the younger workforce had questions around these topics. “They wanted to know the deployment of resources–specialist resources versus generic resources, how will we realize then power of end-to-end solutions in the market, what kind of capability build will we further invest on,“ says Ohrie.

From people feedback, eventually the go-to-market model got tweaked as change management percolated down the last mile. Alongside, a helpdesk came up to address any unanticipated issues. As account movement in the new scheme of things was a critical component of the transition, it involved transfer of responsibilities from one individual to another. So the helpdesk wires rangovertime to address that set of queries.

After the marathon sessions, the company came up with an `Embrace the Change’ campaign to make people familiar with the new processes. “It is aboutlearning the new and un learning the old ways of doing things,“ says Vijay Bharadwaj, VP-HR, Dell APJ. And once the teams went through the early phase of transition, the company propelled them to the next level with another home grown campaign `Lead the Change’. “Every individual up to the front end level became an ambassador for the company and were expected to lead from the front,“ says Ohrie.

Today, with its `YOU’ campaign, Dell is further trying to move up its capability build needle as the initiative aims to skill the workforce through online courses and workshops in the end-to-end game. “Bottom line, the organization expects you to be a trusted advisor to the customer, and so you have to start demonstrating in the customer engagement that initiative which will get us to strategic discussions with them,“ is what Ohrie says, rather straight-faced.

Source : The Economic Times (Mumbai)

Date: 21st November, 2014

On Way to $15-billion Market, Internet of Things a Hit Here

Cos like Tata Motors and Godrej Security have warmed up to the tech in a big way

From state governments looking to clamp down on the theft of iron ore from mines to insurance companies looking to offer better premiums to transportation companies, the internet of things is gaining ground in India.

The internet-of-things (IoT) describes a world in which sensors are placed on machines and the resulting data is used to improve and track their performance. Earlier this year, the Indian government put out its first ever IoT policy document, that envisions creating a $15 billion IoT market in India by 2020 and the first steps towards that goal are already being taken both in the government and the private sector.

Tata Motors, the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in the country , has begun putting sensors into its trucks and has built a service model ­ allowing owners of large fleets of trucks a greater degree of insight into how the vehicles are used and even predict potential breakdowns.

“You can monitor driver behaviour or fuel theft ­ so while the fuel level is constantly being monitored, any sudden move up or down is tracked. Sudden breaking can also be detected, so you can build algorithms inside the black box in the vehicle or you can build that as part of your system, which makes sense of this data,“ Jagdish Belwal, chief information officer at Tata Motors, told ET. The company also has a large analytics team that will crunch the data from the vehicles to present to its customers.

Even as commercial vehicle manufacturers look at providing data to their customers, insurance companies are getting on board to use similar data sets to help set better premiums. “We use telematics with a few corporate clients in order to save money on policies, so transportation risks are covered. We put these devices on trucks to map the routes, to see whether there is pilferage, stoppage,“ Girish Nayak, chief ­ service, operations and technology with insurer ICICI Lombard, said. The telematics programme is live with a couple of customers, he added.

While the cost of the device and sensors makes a similar program for motor insurance, even consumer companies are looking at adding a greater degree of intelligence in their products. “We have products with sensor-based locks, lights and can send alarms, so things which are more affordable but far more intelligent.The movement is now towards these products,“ Mehernosh Pithawalla ­ associate vice president & head, marketing at Godrej Security Solutions, said. “We are going to see this trend continuing and in fact intensify. In the next two years, at least 50% of our products will have some kind of intelligence,” Godrej Security Solutions already sells safes that cansend messages when they are in the process of being breached and sensor-based alarm systems that can be accessed through a mobile-phone app that detects an entry into your apartment and allows you talk to the intruder through the alarm.

Even the government, not greatly known for its use of innovative technology, hastaken to the technology to better regulate the transport of materials from mines. The Karnataka state government and the Goa State government are using IoT-based systems to clamp down on the illegal sale and transport of sand and iron-ore respectively.

“The system tags the trucks that are used for transport and through the tag you can issue them the supply, check their route and can tell if they are unloading the ore or the sand illegally and even prevent them from selling out of the state,” Pratap Hegde, chairman and managing director of Telematics4u,which runs the system for the two state governments, said.

The system is accessed through a mobile application and is paid for by a monthly fee from the truck drivers, who would otherwise be forced to pay bribes to carry the sand and the ore. Hegde said his company was in discussions with other state governments to roll-out similar systems.

The internet-of-things has manifold other uses in a number of other industries – such as utilities with smart meters, in oil-and-gas with sensors that monitor wells – but the concept is still at an early stage of growth in India.

“This technology has the largest implications than any other we have seen so far. The applications are limitless,” Akhilesh Tuteja, head – information technology at consultancy KPMG, said.

Source: The Economic Times

Date: 20th November 2014

… Offers Early Retirement to Execs

Axis Bank, India’s third-largest private bank, has announced an early retirementoffer to its executives who are at the level of vice-president or above, aged over 40 years and have been with the bank for at least 10 years.

The scheme is being floated at a time when the bank is in the process of weeding out 200 executives who have been consistent underperformers, executives familiar with the matter said. The bank had floated a similar offer in 2013, but it received a lukewarm response, with only 25 executives opting for thescheme. “We periodically look at structures which need to be aligned according to the need of the bank,“ said Rajesh K Dahiya, group executive, human resources at Axis Bank.“We need to get a faster and quicker structure, a structure which is more customer-centric than hierarchy driven.“

Delivery channels for banking services are changing with the increased influence of social media and alternative channels like mobile and internet banking. In such an environment, banks prefer a younger and more agile workforce.

“Banks have established procedures for any human resource related action,“ said Abizer Diwanji, partner and national leader-financial services at EY India.

Unlike some of its peers such as ICICI Bank, the Shikha Sharma-led Axis Bank rolls out the early retirement scheme every 18 months to cut flab. “The launch of early retire options is not a trend among private sector banks. These banks are looking for younger people with the growing influence of digitisation,“ said EY’s Diwanji.

The scheme is employee-friendly, said Axis Bank’s Dahiya. “The employees get all the benefits -vested stock options, medical benefits as an employee, preferred benefits as an employee and retain all accumulated benefits. We do not have a target in mind but we expect 25-50 executives to take up the offer,“ he said.

Axis Bank has about 45,000 employees aged 30 years on average. The private lender plans to hire around 7,000 executives by the end of March 2015.

This is not the first time a private sector institution has announced an early retirement option.

In its earlier avatar as a financial institution, ICICI had introduced its first voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) in 1996-97 and the second in late 1999. In 2003, the KV Kamath-led ICICI Bank announced an early retirement offer. This VRS was largely targeted at erstwhile employees of the financial institution and Bank of Madura who could not cope with the changes and wanted a softer exit.

Source: The Economic Times

Date: 20th November, 2014