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ShakeDeal Mozart is a unique solution that offers enterprises a unified platform for all vendor needs: Santhosh Reddy, ShakeDeal

In an interaction with Express Computer, Santhosh Reddy, Co-founder & VP (Technology), ShakeDeal shares his experiences of experiments with cutting edge technologies to deal with the pandemic challenges. Reddy advises that companies should provide all the necessary systems and tools to their employees for uninterrupted communication with each other and other stakeholders. Excerpts:

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Please share your experience of handling the pandemic in the last 15 months ever since the lockdown was imposed in March 2020? Also share how do you manage to ensure business continuity despite the multitude of challenges posed by the unprecedented crisis?

It was definitely a tricky situation for us to handle the pandemic since we weren’t really prepared for something like this. We were following all the updates related to Covid and keeping in mind the health and safety of our employees, we were one of the first companies to allow work from home for most of our employees. For critical teams such as operations and accounts, who had to be in office for a while, we had taken all the safety measures and precautions to ensure they operate in a very safe environment. As a work policy, we provide laptops to each of our employees and proper communication channels are set up so that communication flows freely throughout the organisation. So when the lockdown happened, our employees were already equipped to be able to work from home without any major hiccups. Our operations and accounts teams were our warriors who worked round the clock to ensure that the clients’ businesses and SLAs were not affected. We also used this time to upskill our employees where we launched several programmes for various teams to help them pick up important industry skills. We have learnt a lot in the last one year and we have been putting proper processes and communication channels in place so that all our teams are equipped to ensure business continuity. 

How did you diversify your digital channels to make your business stronger for the future?

Being a major B2B platform, it is very important for us to be where our customers are. We were already present in all the various digital channels where we could connect with our customers. Prior to the pandemic, there were a lot of trade shows, conferences where we could showcase our platform and solutions for businesses. Since the last one year, most of them have moved online and we have ensured that we connect to all our customers by being present so that they can learn about us and make decisions about our platform and solutions. Diversification for us is not just about the number of channels being used, it is very important to understand where our customers are in their journey. For example, some of the enterprises who were dealing with multiple vendors had issues co-ordinating with them and to ensure the SLAs were met. There were no proper solutions which could help them. ShakeDeal Mozart VMS was born out of this insight and with our experience working with enterprises. It is very important to understand your customer needs and ensure you cater to those needs.

We have heard about the latest development at ShakeDeal in the technology front, which is ShakeDeal Mozart – Vendor Management System. Please explain it in detail and tell us how you are planning to place it in the market?

ShakeDeal Mozart is one of a kind solution in the B2B space which provides enterprises a unified platform for all their vendor management needs. For almost all companies and enterprises, indirect spend is a long tail problem. Procurement teams will have to interact with tens and hundreds of vendors and managing them is a huge pain point. ShakeDeal Mozart addresses this specific problem by providing a unified platform for managing all their vendors seamlessly. By providing flexibility and visibility, ShakeDeal Mozart helps procurement teams to focus more on tasks that matter most to the company. 

Coming to its capabilities, Mozart can integrate with various ERP solutions to understand the various Purchase Orders (PO) formats and can accurately route the orders to the respective vendors. Mozart has a very robust rules engine (ShakeDeal Athena) which helps set up triggers, reminders and notifications to clients and vendors. The rules engine is customisable to interact with software services such as Google Sheets, Airtable, external APIs and various other services for exchange of data. Mozart provides end-to-end order and shipment tracking. The platform has integrated with more than 120 courier partners to provide detailed tracking of shipments. 

ShakeDeal Mozart helps clients by providing 100 per cent visibility on all of their POs, their status, payment terms of various vendors involved, etc., all in one single dashboard.

What would be your key piece of advice to technology industry leaders to sail through the terrible times of Covid-19, and how digitisation could save businesses?

Technology has always been an enabler no matter which business you were in. If there is anything that we have learnt in the past one year, it is the importance of digitisation. Though digitisation was always a topic of discussion prior to the pandemic, it never got that much attention. The pandemic has accelerated digitisation to an extent which was unimaginable before. It is an absolute necessity now, rather than a formality. In these testing times, as a technology leader, it is your responsibility that the business is setup in such a way to ensure business continuity. There are three important parties who participate in ensuring business continuity: employees, internal stakeholders (vendors and partners) and customers. Provide all the necessary systems and tools for employees so that they can communicate with each other and other stakeholders seamlessly. Create upskill opportunities so that they can step up to handle tasks digitally and become efficient in using various tools and processes. Setup proper communication channels and diversify your digital channels so that you can reach your respective stakeholders and vice versa. Adapt your diversification efforts to focus on those digital channels that report the greatest benefit. Last but definitely not the least, is to understand your customers and where they are in their journey to digitisation and plan your processes accordingly. Setup appropriate workflows and digital channels to get as close to your customers as possible.

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