Interview – Ganesh S, CEO at Dun & Bradstreet Technology and Data Services

[dropcap style=”1″ size=”2″]AIM[/dropcap]Analytics India Magazine: What are some of the main tenets (philosophies, goals, attributes) of analytics approach and policies at your organization?

[dropcap style=”1″ size=”2″]GS[/dropcap]Ganesh S: At our organization, Analytics is the center point of our company. We believe that leverage of information can occur only with a strong analytic focus to ensure successful outcomes. We provide a wide range of analytic solutions to our clients to set up a solid foundation for them to achieve their ROE and ROA goals and visions.

AIM: Please brief us about some business solutions you work on and how you derive value out of it.


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GS: Most of our analytics solutions are focused around Risk Management. We help our clients in quantifying the risk profile of their customers and trade partners through our global standard models and also by providing custom models for predicting credit risk behavior. While our standard models cut across various industries, our custom models are focused on Banking and Telecom industries. Our solutions have helped several banks in managing their credit risk better to improve portfolio profitability and optimize capital deployment.

AIM: Please brief us about the size of your analytics division and what is hierarchal alignment, both depth and breadth.

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GS: In India, we have more than 200 people. The team includes economists, statisticians, domain experts, modelers & data engineers.

AIM: Would you like to share any example of an Insight that generated a huge positive impact for your clients?

GS: Recently, we completed a project for a large telecom company in West Asia. Our analytical models have enabled them in managing their customer base by accurately setting up dynamic limits for postpaid customers.  This has also ensured accurate identification of key customer segments, where additional revenue can be generated. Our recommendations will help them in adding excess of million dollars on their monthly revenue run rates.

AIM: Do you think it’s possible to become too married to the data that comes out of analytics? Where do you draw the line?

GS: We need to balance the art and science of analytics to come with practical business solutions. Often, selection of right variables is more important than the mathematical techniques to discover true insights. In some of our markets, we also come across a situation, where sufficient data is not available and mathematics alone cannot help and we need to use our industry insights to deliver the solution that works.

AIM: What are a few things that organizations should be doing with their analytics efforts that most don’t do today?

GS: Today, most of the organizations are collecting a lot more data compared to a decade earlier, but this data is not being put to use in taking decisions based on scientific evidence.

Many organization’s still rely on ‘gut feel’ or ‘policies’ to take decisions.  The fundamental belief that Analytics can produce the right answers, even if such answers are counter intuitive, is not present in the higher levels of management. This may be because most organizations around a generation ago were living in a data starved environment. This resulted in most successful managers of that time to base decisions on experience and intuition. The mindset change though significant has yet to permeate to the board rooms completely. It is this that will be seeing a change in the next few years as more C-suite managers become comfortable in this data overload environment. They should make a start and soon the benefits will start coming in to justify additional investments.

AIM: What are the most significant challenges you face being in the forefront of analytics space?

GS: The fundamental of analytics lies in defining the objectives, problems and constraints of the business insights accurately. This is a significant challenge in many situations as this requires senior management time and energy to defining the objectives of various analytic projects.

This also requires that analytic teams must be well versed with the business domain especially in mapping out constraints and objectives that are inherent to a country/ business.

AIM: How did you start your career in analytics?

GS: I have had my career primarily as a banker. Since I was also passionately involved in problem solving and mathematics, I steered my life into the analytics area. However it is my background in multiple facets of banking which help me understand, dimension and model solutions for the business of banking.

AIM: What do you suggest to new graduates aspiring to get into analytics space?

GS: My suggestion to new graduates is to develop a solid foundation in business areas. It is also absolutely vital to have an innate sense of curiosity and skepticism of conventional wisdom. These are vital behavioral skills in addition to the knowledge of tools and algorithms.

It is mandatory for a good analyst to have good observation and deduction ability to find meaningful interpretations from data.

AIM: How do you see Analytics evolving today in the industry as a whole? What are the most important contemporary trends that you see emerging in the Analytics space across the globe?

GS: This is the coming of age for the Analytic profession as a whole. There are some significant trends that will see analytics occupy center stage in the organizations of tomorrow.

The key trend is of course the explosion of data availability over the last 15 years. Today we have both trend and transaction data widely available and accessible for an analytic team to analyze and proffer solutions across Sales, Marketing, risk, pricing, procurement , finance and all other functions.

The other major trend is the leap in the computing availability and development of new tools in the software space. This allows for the manipulation of large volumes of data in short time frames to facilitate the models to evolve on a dynamic basis and become both self-correcting and therefore more accurate over time.

However the need of today’s time is to develop the human capital to exploit these trends.

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[spoiler title=”Biography of Ganesh S” open=”0″ style=”2″]

S. Ganesh is the CEO and leader of Dun & Bradstreet Technology and Data Services Pvt Ltd. An industry veteran with 20 years of experience spanning Banking and IT across the globe, he brings in depth knowledge of Credit & Risk Management to the company. This wide experience spans the creation and implementation of multiple platforms & analytic models that are widely used globally. His prior experiences in large global banks like Citibank and Societe Generale have given him wide exposure to global best practices. He was also part of the core team that created Saksoft, an experience that has taught him flexibility and entrepreneurship.

He is an Electronics Engineer with a management degree from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.[/spoiler]

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Bhasker is a techie turned media entrepreneur. Bhasker started AIM in 2012, out of a desire to speak about emerging technologies and their commercial, social and cultural impact. Earlier, Bhasker worked as Vice President at Goldman Sachs. He is a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.

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