Rajesh Vishwanath, Global Lead for Analytics at SGA

SG Analytics: Venturing to Go Beyond Excellence

The leading business intelligence solution providers cater to their clients’ requirements with better planning and analysis options along with increased accuracy. These companies help their customers with increased sales forecasting and enhanced pricing and offers.

One such dominant company making a mark owing to its dedicated efforts is SG Analytics. Established in 2007, it is a leading provider of data-centric research and contextual analytics services.

In the following interview, we get to know the company’s journey, its services, its challenges, achievements, and its future plans.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as a leading player in the Business Intelligence solutions niche.

Founded in 2007, SG Analytics is a leading provider of data-centric research and contextual analytics services to Fortune 500 companies across the globe. Headquartered in Pune, the company has its presence across 7 locations in India, the USA, the UK, and Switzerland.

At SG Analytics, we understand our clients’ businesses. We offer research and analytics services that deliver holistic rather than just functional solutions to our clients across BFSI, media & entertainment, technology, and healthcare sectors. Our contextual understanding of our clients’ businesses and data and sector expertise helps us provide actionable, ‘differentiated’ insights to our clients, which help them scale faster.

SG Analytics is a specialist in servicing global clients in data analytics, business intelligence, data science, and engineering spaces.

For a company like ours, it is the meaningful mix of our brightest and budding talent with that of global, multi-disciplinary, seasoned experts that bring together best-in-class expertise in analytics, business intelligence, data engineering, and visualization. Our experts not only develop solutions, but also consume and implement them to solve real-world business problems.

We specialize in creating interactive user-centric dashboards by implementing business intelligence expertise, thereby enabling our clients with impactful, real-time, and scalable solutions. However, what really sets us apart is that we lead with business outcomes: we take time to understand the business goals of our customers, and then apply the right set of intelligence and engineering solutions coupled with business context brought in by a team of domain experts to create compelling business outcomes for our global customers.

We have been serving our clients across several domains including BFSI, automotive, media & entertainment, and technology sectors. Our partnership with a leading US media & entertainment conglomerate with a global footprint has now strengthened with the seal of our excellence in data analytics and engineering. Speaking of partnerships, we recently onboarded the largest technology company in the world as our client and will be partnering with them in the area of customized reporting and visualization.

We have remained focused in sharpening our capabilities in the field of business intelligence and are determined to strengthen our positioning as the most competent yet enriched player in the BI solutions niche.

What other solutions does your company offer, and how are these making an impact on the industry and your clients?

With businesses having an endless stream of unorganized data flowing into their systems, companies need to build strategies to control their data and market it efficiently. That’s where SG Analytics comes into play by combining data, machine learning, and software & engineering to build intelligent applications in which our teams have developed authority and expertise.

We combine this expertise along with the latest technology frameworks and tools such as Python, Oracle, MySQL, Databricks, Informatica, MicroStrategy, Tableau, PowerBI, and D3.JS and cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform to build and deploy relevant data analytics solutions.

We use our customers’ data lakes and combine data through ML and software engineering to build intelligent applications to achieve monumental change in specific focus areas. They are our experts who create actionable insights by using event-based data and regulate reports, making the process run smoothly without a glitch.

We aim to help our customers/clients evolve through their journey of digital transformation starting from incubation to the full-fledged use of business intelligence and value-driven analytics.

Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on what impact has the adoption of modern technologies such as AI and machine learning had on the BI solutions niche and what more could be expected in the future?

BI has been part of every corporate discussion over the past many years. And yet, challenges persist in democratizing advanced AI insights across large sections of employees. As new AI-powered BI products emerge, silos will be broken, and every user will be able to leverage data analytics and find insights easily.

Simple interfaces, personalized insights, and engaging data experiences will become the hallmarks of data analytics in 2021 and beyond. We are going to see smart, intelligent storytelling in the coming days.

AI will improve decision-making. BI is shifting to a new paradigm of advanced data analytics with the integration of natural language, natural search, AI/ML, augmented analytics, automated data preparation, and automated data catalogs. This will transform business decision-making processes with high-quality real-time insights.

Traditional BI solutions give answer to the question “What happened?” by providing efficient analyses. Today, modern BI solutions are giving the answer for “What is happening, what will happen, and why?” As an example, a digital news company may be looking at a dashboard that gives the predicted topics and associations across various customer segments.

The Future of Business Intelligence isn’t a Tool. Rather, organizations are looking for a solution to simplify the end-to-end workflow – from data prep and governance to visualization, delivery, and action. Two important themes that will gain attention are Augmented Analytics and Automated Insights.

Augmented Analytics

In the coming years, we will be able to see BI and AI working together to create augmented analytics and augmented data. Augmented analytics will help businesses to automate the identification of data types, model data from a source, and automate suggestions. We are going to see more smart, automated analytics workflows, and natural language processing makes it possible for all business stakeholders to make confident decisions based on data-driven insights and drive the best possible outcomes without relying on IT or data & analytics experts.

The combination AI & BI will allow users to complete jobs without difficulty, quickly and effectively. Conversational analytics will gain more and more popularity and be readily adopted. Business users can simply ask questions just like you would in a normal conversation and get instant answers explained in a natural language.

Automated Insights

In the coming years, storytelling with the help of automated systems will be popular and help businesses derive value out of the data rapidly. Automated insights use artificial intelligence to dynamically spot patterns and trends in raw data and then describe those findings in plain English. Such solutions author insightful, personalized reports around data at scale.

Instead of users spending time determining which insights are more impactful for their business, intelligent storytelling will highlight key findings for them. The system will be able to track changes and build a narrative that’s digestible to the user, point out key findings, and make it easy to deliver through platforms that are consumed the highest.  All the BI product providers will add new exciting capabilities in this space, and we are going to see enormous changes in the coming years.

Taking into consideration the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face and how did you drive your company to sustain operations while ensuring safety of your employees at the same time?

The coronavirus pandemic has been quite devastating, at all levels. Every organization, small or big, has faced challenges in running their operations and maintaining business continuity. We have all been in this situation for almost about 18 months and counting.  At SG Analytics, we all moved into a WFH mode suddenly, which led to some challenges in adapting to remote working.

However, in the analytics space, since there is anyway a higher incidence of individuals and groups working from varied locations across the globe, the transition to remote working wasn’t really a challenge for our team.

We adopted more collaboration tools to enable seamless communication between teams. Our executive leadership team had regular, informal catchups with teams across the organization to stay connected and involved with everyone within the company. Like others, the analytics team members enjoyed these interactions thoroughly. They had many lively discussions and debates regularly, and Teams and Zoom helped a lot throughout this phase.

Gaining momentum was a challenge initially, owing to technical issues with the internet and managing system issues during the lockdown. However, these were resolved over time giving way to a very efficient remote working experience for the team overall.

In times of great adversity, SGA has striven to always be present, to always be there for its employees, its partners, and everyone who is part of our family. So, during the pandemic, facing the most adverse of adversities, we knew we had to double-down on our efforts.

A fundamental aspect of our employee-first philosophy is ensuring their safety, both physical and mental. Especially during the rough times of the COVID-19 pandemic, our company has been proactive in providing all our people with the connection and nurturing that is hard to come by in such testing times.

HR leadership, for example, actively engaged in social mentoring, offering constant support and motivation. Further, our ‘Chai pe Charcha’ initiative saw the senior leadership, including the CEO and co-CEO themselves, directly engaging with SGAites, listening to their concerns, addressing the importance of safety and well-being.

Indeed, data-driven through and through, we benchmark employee satisfaction with employee expectation via our company-wide annual Employee Satisfaction Survey. The findings are shared openly so that solutions for improvement can be identified collaboratively, now in virtual meetings. Because that, too, is fundamental.

Transparency, the freedom to express yourself, let’s not forget that a sense of community, of belonging, is such a big part of what constitutes meaning and well-being. Before, SGA would regularly organize sports tournaments and cultural events to bolster that sense.

The pandemic presented an unprecedented challenge. So, we responded with unprecedented spirit. We celebrated festivals, held yoga and meditation sessions, took breaks for coffee, together, online. But what’s support if it’s only supplied at the best of times? In times of dire need, it was moving to witness people offer not just emotional, but also financial support. Medical expenses were paid for by the company and our people.

Caregiver leaves were donated. One thing was clear. Without question, the emotional bond we forged during the pandemic would be timeless. A testament to our foundational philosophy. SGA is not a firm. It’s a family.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the BI solutions market?

The market size for Business Intelligence (BI) is at the top among the software categories.

As per Gartner, global revenue of BI is expected to rise to $22.8 billion by 2021 and foresees additional growth to $29.48 billion by 2022. The business intelligence market is booming and will continue to do so as the market for BI solutions grows as the overall business dynamics have changed drastically due to the pandemic. It foresees additional growth to $29.48 billion by 2022. The business intelligence market is booming and will continue to do so as the market for BI solutions is growing with the overall change in business dynamics due to the pandemic.

Here are a few interesting points worth considering for young entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the BI solutions market:

  1. Cloud-based solutions, increasing accessibility, and steadily improving benefits for users are some of the main factors driving the growth of the business intelligence market.
  2. Data security is and is going to continue being a major concern for BI users and providers in the near future.
  3. The business intelligence industry will transition from traditional to modern with the help from ML & AI and data scientists are likely to experience role shifts but will remain vital to the day-to-day operation of this industry.

How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021?

We are a research and analytics services provider and continue to remain so in 2021. The market is definitely challenging but then it is wide and large enough for us to find our customer base. Our focus is going to be helping our customers derive insights out of their data assets and improve business operations and generate value for their clients.

We will emphasize on helping to build contextual analytics solutions that are useful and are consumed by our client organizations. Certain processes need to be looked at regularly in operations. Our focus is on utilizing ML to automate many such processes. Plenty of solutions are available in the market and many of our customers are using them too.

Our goal is to get them insights that are undiscovered, increase the possibility of AI to make the decision-making process sustainable. Our focus is continuously on the following key parameters while developing and executing BI or AI solutions:

  • Business value
  • Ease of use
  • Agile and flexible
  • Reduced time to insight

We aim to operate at scale, and we will concentrate on the company’s core competencies. This is where we offer the most value to our clients and customers. The most important aspect of our business is hiring professionally trained data scientists and data engineers. We are laser focused and continue to invest in training our group in these skills. Today is not only about big data, but also about a wide variety of data sources.

About the Leader

Rajesh Viswanath is the Global Lead for Analytics at SGA. As analytics continues to evolve, SGA’s mission remains to provide its clients state-of-the-art scalable solutions that simplify the way they meet their business obligations without burdening their operational flexibility. With nearly two decades in the analytics industry, Rajesh has proven knowledge of large-scale implementation of BI and predictive analytics solutions. He and his team designed and developed numerous analytics and BI solutions across domains. Presently, he is serving global M&E giants on their very complex and transformative analytics projects. As part of his journey with the clients, he and his team worked closely with them for successfully implementing BI solutions and generating business value.

What clients have to say

SGA helped us save a significant amount annually by implementing ML-based automated classification to predict remediation classes basis content of the customer feedback. Automation of monthly and weekly analysis of key business metrics helped us take timely decisions and saved manual intervention.

Cross Platform Analytics Lead, Top American Television Network

SG Analytics helped us integrate and streamline the sales and marketing campaign monitoring data and create clear visibility into sales and marketing effectiveness, which in turn helped achieve higher conversion. Turnaround time to process sales reports across different groups reduced by 50-60% and also resulted in lower sales reporting cost by 60-70%.

Senior Director – Advanced Analytics, One of the leading news & business information services providers in the world