10 Most Influential Analytics Leaders In India – 2020

Analytics leaders

Analytics India Magazine has unveiled its list of the 10 Most Influential Analytics Leaders for the year 2020. Selected on the basis of the significant expertise they hold in the field of analytics and data science, it recognizes the exceptional work they have accomplished in the last year.

Given the pace at which the analytics industry has been growing, the timing could not have been more opportune. The growing importance of delivering value in a business through insight-driven decisions has made their contributions not only critical, but imperative as well.

Furthermore, these leaders have consistently adopted newer paradigms in their practices, potentially breaking new ground in the fields of analytics, artificial intelligence, and more.

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Every year we scour through organizations to identify leaders that best exemplify the data-driven ideal that befits our times. This year’s list includes some from our previous lists, and a few others who have not only excelled at creating innovation, but are also deemed to be some of the most influential individuals in India in this field.

Find out who made it to the 2019 list here.

Here is the list of top 10 influencers in the Indian analytics industry for 2020, presented in alphabetical order:-

Ashwin Mittal

CEO of Course5

As CEO, Ashwin Mittal has led Course5 into the analytics and AI powerhouse it has become today. With prior experience in the corporate world in India and in the US, he has introduced new technologies for digital transformation at the company. This has taken him down a path where he has successfully built world-class AI-based products, and helped leading global brands reconfigure their businesses to compete in the digital era.

Ashwin has received several accolades and awards from leading global authorities for his achievements in the field of analytics. He has also spoken at several global forums on driving business impact through analytics and AI. Under his leadership, Course5 has also won numerous recognitions, including Deloitte Technology Fast 50 India 2019 Award, and Top 50 Tech Innovators award at InterCon Dubai 2019, among a long list of others.

Besides work, this UCLA and London Business School alumnus is also involved in various CSR activities around child education and health. A Chartered Accountant by qualification, he is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and Entrepreneurs’ Organization. 

Key Achievements last year:

  • Gartner’s ‘Cool Vendors in AI for Marketing’ report – Course5 Adomate (Computer Vision-based Ad Optimization platform)
  • One of the most important M&CI solutions in Forrester’s Landscape Overview report – Course5
  • Compete (Real-Time Competitive Intelligence platform) ‘New Product of the Year’ at Enterprise at BIG Awards for Business 2019 – Course5 Discovery (Natural Language based AI Insights platform)
  • Great Learning Data Science Award for ‘Data Science/AI in FMCG’ at Cypher 2019
  • Course5 achieved Gold Competency status for Microsoft’s suite of key Data Analytics products

Read an interview with Ashwin Mittal here.

Deep Thomas

Chief Data & Analytics Officer at Aditya Birla Group

Deep Thomas is a reputed analytics expert, thought leader and a passionate evangelist of data science, with a distinguished career spanning more than two decades. As Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Aditya Birla Group, he has been leading the charge of its AI-led digital transformation.

In this role, he has enabled operational efficiencies, driven new business growth, and delivered successful outcomes across the organization’s multi-sector businesses. He has also delivered sustained and increasing profitability through low cost technology and analytics-led open innovation.

Under his leadership, the Aditya Birla Group has successfully forayed into a data-driven culture, with many innovative solutions in core areas such as safety, procurement, quality, energy, pricing, and supply chain, among others.

Prior to Aditya Birla Group, this Arizona State alumnus was the founder and CEO of Tata Insights and Quants, Tata Group’s Big Data and Decision Science company. He had also held key positions in the US and India with multinationals like Citigroup, HSBC, and American Express to steer their global digital and analytics agenda. 

Key Achievements last year:

  • Under his leadership, the Aditya Birla Group has introduced many innovative solutions deployed through cutting-edge AI techniques, Computer Vision, NLP etc. in core areas of its businesses
  • Deep has had the unique privilege of setting up the analytics arm for the founder institutions of modern India, Tatas and Birlas

This is the fourth time Deep has been featured on this list

Find out who made it to the 2018 list here.

Mahesh Kumar

Founder & CEO of Tiger Analytics

As CEO of one of the fastest-growing AI and advanced analytics consulting firms globally, Mahesh Kumar has maintained a significant focus on building a company known for solving high-complexity problems. Having emerged as one of the most sought-after players in the industry, Tiger Analytics today services over 35 Fortune 1000 clients across a wide range of industries.

Prior to this, Mahesh was on the faculty of the Smith School of Business and Rutgers Business School. He has also conducted research in the areas of data mining and statistical modeling, and has successfully applied his research to solve real-world problems. 

Furthermore, this IIT-Bombay alumnus also holds a PhD. in Operations Research and Marketing from MIT, and is a highly sought-after speaker in the analytics community.

And all of this, while maintaining work-life harmony. In fact, Mahesh firmly believes that hiring the right talent, creating an environment of learning and sharing, and enabling open-door access to leadership has been the key to the success of the company.

Key Achievements last year:

  • Tiger Analytics has been listed among Deloitte’s Fastest Growing Companies in India, and Inc.5000’s fastest growing companies in the US
  • It has been rated by Forrester as a leading analytics service provider
  • It has also been recognized as Frost & Sullivan’s AI Solution Provider of the Year 2019

This is the second time Mahesh has been featured on this list

Read an interview with Mahesh Kumar here.

Mehul Bhagadia

Chief Data & Analytics Officer at IDFC First Bank

With over two decades of experience in data analytics, business management, strategy and service delivery, Mehul Bhagadia has built and managed teams across the analytics life cycle. His career has taken him to deliver advanced analytics for large organizations like JP Morgan, where he coordinated with a team of over 250 across India and Philippines. He has also worked for ICICI Bank and Citi. Furthermore, Mehul has been the recipient of the Analytics 100 award at MachineCon 2019.

As Chief Data and Analytics Officer with IDFC, he has been instrumental in participating in data strategy design, building new products, and working on the customer journey roadmap.

Mehul has also been instrumental in adding advanced analytical capabilities – like machine learning, Big Data infrastructure with Hadoop, GreenPlum and programming languages like Python, R and visualization tools like Tableau – for the Global Analytics Center in India.

Key Achievements last year:

  • In the last 10 months, he has been instrumental in participating in the data strategy design for the bank, building new products and working on the customer journey roadmap
  • His core responsibilities have been to deliver the Liabilities, Wholesale Banking, Operations and Customer Delight Analytics initiatives for the bank

Find out who made it to the 2017 list here.

Prithvijit Roy

CEO & Co-founder of Bridgei2i 

An expert AI practitioner with over two decades of analytics experience, Prithvijit Roy has led BRIDGEi2i for nearly nine years. In fact, the company was ranked among the best places in India for data scientists to work for in 2019.

Prithvijit has been influential in shaping the company from a pure-play analytics firm, to a global AI company. Recognized as a thought leader in the AI and analytics space, Prithvijit has been fervently advocating for the adoption of AI-thinking at scale with the objective of making AI more pervasive. 

He has also been instrumental in spearheading an AI community called Humans of Analytics – a forum for like-minded individuals to connect and celebrate, both their personal and professional journeys through inspiring stories and anecdotes.

Over the last one year, he has been focusing on leveraging cutting edge data science techniques and newer ML algorithms to drive innovation at BRIDGEi2i. An alumnus of Indian Statistical Institute, Prithvijit was previously involved in the setting up of analytics centers in India for HP and GE/Genpact. 

Key Achievements last year:

  • Over the last one year, the company has been focussed on leveraging cutting edge data science techniques that has translated into actionable insights and embedded algorithms used by partner clients to drive intelligent automation, thereby fuelling their AI-powered digital transformation journey
  • Prithvijit is recognized as a thought leader in the AI and analytics space, and has been visible at several industry forums including Cypher, where he encouraged the adoption of AI-thinking at scale

This is the fifth time Prithvijit has been featured on this list

Read an interview with Prithvijit Roy here.

Rajeev Baphna

Founder & CEO of Analyttica Datalab

In his 30+ years of corporate and analytical leadership, Rajeev Baphna has taken up global visionary and management roles, and partnered with global clients in virtually every sizable market across the globe.

He is a seasoned strategic leader who has built analytical centres across 25+ countries. He specializes in application of domain contextual analytics and AI to enable scalable business solutions.

Rajeev has a deep interest in solution creation through technology-enabled experiential and computational analytical platforms, and simulation-based methodologies that are completely integrated in a powerful business analytical ecosystem. As founder and CEO of Analyttica Datalab, he has directed the company in the field of analytics and AI to build impactful and scalable solutions by leveraging state-of-the-art technologies.

An innovator at heart with a passion for the application of domain contextual analytics, Rajeev has various respected publications and patents. He is also the recipient of several globally recognized awards for excellence.  

Key Achievements:

  • Rajeev Baphna over a span of his career has delivered substantial business impact to the tune of $100 million in productivity improvement, and a $1billion incremental revenue impact to businesses globally
  • Analyttica Datalab’s Augmented Analytics and AI platform – Analyttica TreasureHunt (ATH), has been getting significant recognition from across the globe.

Find out who made it to the 2016 list here.

Sandeep Mittal

MD of Cartesian Consulting

With Cartesian – a promising firm in the domestic analytics industry – Mittal has developed a practice that has served over 200 clients in more than a dozen countries globally. Over the years, he has emerged as a trusted advisor to many CXOs from diverse industries on all things analytics.

Although he has worn many hats – including online magazine founder-editor, tech entrepreneur, and even a musician – his current focus is on expanding the product portfolio and the sales organization at Cartesian. In fact, his favourite area of work is hyper-personalization and its ability to nudge customer behaviour.

Known to be an inspirational leader, this IIM alumnus is a frequent speaker in industry forums and academia, and is best known for his storytelling and ability to add a creative spark to the

way data is consumed. His cartoons and sketches which usually accompany his presentations is a much loved trademark touch. 

Key Achievements last year:

  • With SOLUS.ai, a product incubated by Cartesian, he has developed a practice that has served over 200 clients in more than a dozen countries globally
  • He has mastered hyper-personalization, and has learned to successfully leverage it to nudge customer behaviour

This is the fifth time Sandeep has been featured on this list

Read an interview with Sandeep Mittal here.

Dr Shailesh Kumar

Chief Data Scientist at Reliance Jio Center of Excellence in AI/ML

Dr Kumar has put in over twenty years in research and startups, and has industrial experience across various areas of AI. In the last year, he has invented a number of new frameworks and platforms, including domain and language agnostic Question Answering System, and a new method of discovering biomarkers for specific Phenotypes.

His AI for India team recently received the prestigious Aegis Graham Bell Award in the ‘Technology for Social Good category’ for the Machali app’ that enables fishermen across ten coastal states of India to be safer and more productive by using personalized and localized advisories. 

He has published over 20 conference papers, journal papers, and book chapters, and holds as many patents in these areas. A graduate from IIT-Varanasi, Dr Kumar received his PhD and Masters in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

He also serves as a program advisor for the AI/ML program at Jio Institute, and is a visiting faculty of machine learning at Indian School of Business. Prior to this, he was a distinguished scientist at Ola, researcher in the Google Brain team, Senior Scientist at Yahoo! Labs, Principal Scientist at Fair Isaac Research, and co-founder of ThirdLeap – an edtech company.

Key Achievements:

  • Dr Kumar is working on three broad charters at Jio: First, building an ‘AI Stack for India’ involving speech and language capabilities in the Indian context. Second, building ecosystem solutions for healthcare and agriculture under the ‘AI for India’ initiatives of Jio, and third, building systems of intelligence for telecom, retail, media, manufacturing, and financial services for various Reliance businesses
  • In the last year, he has invented a number of new frameworks and platforms including novel frameworks for Optimization and Supply Chain logistics for both operational and manufacturing optimizations using Digital Twin technologies
  • His AI for India team recently received the prestigious Aegis Graham Bell Award in the ‘Technology for Social Good category’ for the Machali app’ that enables fishermen across ten coastal states of India to be safer and more productive by using personalized and localized advisories

Read this story with Dr Shailesh Kumar here.

Shub Bhowmick

CEO and Co-founder of Tredence

Over the course of 20 years, Shub Bhowmick has built a career in unlocking value and driving customer impact. Under his able leadership, Tredence has maintained profitability and has created sustainable value for its 30+ Fortune 500 clientele, as well as its 600+ employees. 

What is more, under Shub’s leadership, Tredence has grown at 60%+ CAGR in the last five years. Prior to founding Tredence, this IIT alumnus also held senior executive positions in Diamond Consultants (now PwC), Mu Sigma, and Infosys Technologies. 

Key Achievements last year:

  • Recognized as a ‘Strong Performer’ in The Forrester Wave™: Customer Analytics Service Providers, Q2 2019
  • Listed for the second time in Gartner Market Guide for Data and Analytics service providers
  • Listed for the fourth consecutive time in the INC 5000 list, America’s fastest growing private companies
  • Ranked fifth among the fastest growing private companies in silicon valley by SVBJ for the second time

This is the second time Shub has been featured on this list

Find out who made it to the 2015 list here.

Sreekanth Menon

VP – Data Science at GENPACT

Sreekanth Menon brings over two decades of industry expertise to his role heading the AI/ML practice for Genpact. He has been leading strategy, business transformation and product development here, and has been the key architect of the ML incubation program at GENPACT to drive ML first culture across the organization.

His primary focus has been competency building in AI ecosystems, such as ML, NLP/Text Mining, Computer Vision and nurturing new capabilities.

With this, he has incubated and launched over 50 advanced analytics solutions in the global market, and worked closely with Fortune 500 clients by enabling them with innovative AI-led solutions and practices. 

Prior to this, this XLRI alumnus had led a large analytics team at Symphony Marketing Solutions, and also assumed end-to-end responsibility of developing the analytics engine, setting up virtual captive teams and building Big Data Analytics platforms. 

Key Achievements last year:

  • Sreekanth incubated the AI team at Genpact in 2016-2017, and further scaled it in 2019
  • He is responsible for delivering AI/ML revenue with successful client deliveries of over 20 AI/ML solutions across banking, consumer goods, retail, insurance and life sciences
  • He has spearheaded delivery of AI products in the area of Insurance Claims and Supply Chain

Find out who made it to the 2014 list here.

Anu Thomas
Anu is a writer who stews in existential angst and actively seeks what’s broken. Lover of avant-garde films and BoJack Horseman fan theories, she has previously worked for Economic Times. Contact: anu.thomas@analyticsindiamag.com

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