SPARK OF THE CORPORATE
“In today’s world, customer expectations are changing from doing what you are told to do to proactively suggesting opportunities for value add…..”
Arvind Thakur is the CEO & Joint Managing Director of NIIT Technologies, a leading IT solutions organization, with customers in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. With the increase of IT literacy across the country, NIIT has rapidly grown in its domain, adopting a new approach to customers, and new robust outsourcing and dual-shore delivery models. It has over 220 clients across 16 countries in selected industry segments.
Arvind is an active member of company’s board, overseas subsidiaries and domestic joint ventures with ESRI Inc. and currently serves as Director of an innovative venture, Hole-in-the Wall Education Ltd. He is also on the Board of Management of NIIT University, a not for profit institution
Early Life & Education
Arvind Thakur holds a B.Tech degree in Mining Engineering from IIT, Kharagpur (1976) where he received the Institute Silver medal for ranking first in the department. Thereafter he pursued post-graduation in Industrial Engineering from National Institute of Industrial Engineering in 1978.
So the foundations for brilliant career were well and trully laid:
Arvind commenced his career with BHEL, before joining NIIT in 1985. Under Arvind’s stewardship, NIIT Technologies was assessed at global standards of development. It bagged an ISO 9001:2000 Certification and was assessed at Level 5 of SEI-CMMi and People-CMM Frameworks. NIIT also received BS 7799 Information Security Management Certification. Arvind has also acted as an elected member of the Executive Council of NASSCOM, the association which represents Indian IT & BPO industry.It has been a wonderful journey for Arvind Thakur to participate in a dream growth story of IT Industry. While NIIT has always been known for being the leader in education and training, what is little known is also that it pioneered a number of things in the software business too.
As a CEO, Arvind learnt that a leader must create an environment that is challenging and fulfilling, nurtures a culture of innovation, where it’s ok to make mistakes when they contribute to organizational learning.Arvind believes it is for NASSCOM to nurture and enable EC needs to focus on this high potential area and this should find reflection in the organization’s structure as well.
Arvind Thakur has always been on a constant search for new services to enhance business value for NIIT’s customers. To bring the company on a lucrative path, he transformed the business from a horizontal tech services to an industry solutions provider, changed the business model to embrace offerings which focus on delivering business value, enhancedservice experience to meet changing expectations of customers and nurtured a culture of innovation to drive “New Ideas &More Value”.
The company & its success
Leading NIIT since 1985, Arvind took the responsibility of growing the company’s IT Services business by evolving the organization from a dominant training business into a software powerhouse, converting the art form of programing into an engineering discipline; pioneering offshore execution, drivingquality culture embracing highest levels of execution maturity conforming to global standards and reinventing business post the dot com meltdown to ultimately spin off software business into an independent listed entity.
According to Arvind, the best leadership decision he took was to set the direction to remain sharply focused even at the cost of exiting from some segments, to build specialization and thereby creating differentiation to compete effectively. As a result, NIIT’s business doubled during 2004-2008 and operating margins improved more than one percentage point each year during 2004-2007. Even during the slowdown of 2008-2010, while revenue growth slowed, profits continue to increase as a result of this decision.
During the last few years, NIIT came out very strong from the economic slowdown of 2008. This wasbecause of the specialization built in the industry segments of focus. Ever since the company has embarked on its next phase of transformation to provide enhanced business value with investments to create new business lines such as managed services and IP-led solutions. These have helped further consolidate the company’s position in the market and helped achieve industry leading revenue growth.
Today NIIT has a strong brand presence in India, and what works best for it is the specialization it possesses in the area of Geographic Information System. The GIS has enabled NIIT to uniquely engage with the Government. According to Arvind, NIIT has very large and significant engagement with the Airport Authority of India and Airport Operations Control Centre which manages 10 airports and handles 96,000 flights and millions of passengers. The displays at airports like Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati run on NIIT solutions.
Arvind with its pioneering leadership made NIIT engage in the largest SAP Implementation Project for comprehensive financial management systems for Andhra Pradesh government and for theSales Tax Project for the Maharashtra Government. NIIT is currently executing CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems) Project for Ministry of Home Affairs to automate all police stations across 5 States. There are deliberations going on about smart cities and digital world. Arvind Thakur calls these concepts colossal initiatives.
Hope viewers caught up the spark…