Effective leaders are those who treat their employees with dignity and create a work environment where everyone feels happy and that their contributions are genuinely respected. Such an approach creates teams which give their best possible efforts, and add value to the organization.
In this interview with CIOLook, Srinivas Kilambi, Founder and the CEO of SRIYA DXI LLC, shared his insights with us about leadership in building a successful organization. We were impressed by his excellence in AI and machine learning and by his considerable vision.
Highlights of the interview conducted between CIOLook and Srinivas:
Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a leader.
I feel honored and humbled for the opportunites to hold a leadership position, and have led companies as the CEO/CXO both in the startup and corporate worlds. My first stint began in late 1980s when I founded and led Chemopol, India’s first bio-tech plant near Chennai. I was awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year”, and the company received many national and international accolades. My second stint was the Founder and CTO of Commodore Separations. I took it from a one-person company in 1996 to an IPO in 1997. I was also the adviser to Commodore Applied which also had an IPO in 1996. My third project was an early stage AI technology company, Dilato which even received an offer from Fizzion (subsidiary of Coca Cola) in 2001. I then became the Chief Knowledge Officer of Tata Chemicals and started its Innovation Center. In 2006, I became the youngest President and CEO of Reliance Industries Clean-tech Business. I left India, and started Renmatix in in the US 2007 with funding from Kleiner Perkins, and later from BASF, Waste Management, Total, Bright Capital and the Bill Gates Foundation. Renmatix was acquired in 2012. I then founded Verdecem, a green cement technology company with funding from Kleiner Perkins and Holcim. Most recently, I began DXI in 2015.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience?
Sriya has successfully developed a unique, innovative, disruptive and proprietary platform AI/Machine Learning technology. It has filed for an US Provisional patent for this technology. The main feature of this technology is its ability to dynamically compress a set of hundreds of process variables/metrics/features into a single score or index representing the overall status of the system; for example, customer experience on an ecommerce website. It could be considered the FICO score equivalent of target industries/markets. Sriya has diversified this technology by spinning off two companies, namely Keydabra and Quantellix. Keydabra which will focus on online consumer intelligence/experience indexing and benchmarking, and Quantellix, will focus on a somewhat analogous manufacturing productivity excellence index.
What are the crucial traits which every CEO must possess?
Every CEO must be honest, inspirational, transparent, innovative, disruptive, and adaptive. He must have foresight to visualize the future and inspire his/her company to excellence. Success follows excellence.
What are your views of the roles of CEO leadership and organizational factors on company innovation and performance?
We have seen from many past and current exemplary iconic role model CEOs like Henry Ford, Jack Welch, Lee Iacocca, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos that transformational leadership is the key to excellence and success. Any CEO who is not innovative, adaptive, willing to adopt change will not be inspirational and will be a marginal “Me Too” player as CEO as will the organization he/she leads.
What is your strategy to tackle the competition in the market?
I strongly believe that a great product idea contributes less than 20% towards the success of a business. More than 80% comes from effective implementation and execution of a plan to get the product known and understood. A go-to-market strategy is the most important factors for this successful execution of a business idea. We should remember that a great technology with no users is literally of no use, while a mediocre technology with many users contributes to society. A good go-to-market strategy involves knowing and understanding not only your ultimate consumer or client, but also your competition, their strengths and weaknesses with respect to your product/technology/business and finally how to effectively tackle and win over them in the marketplace. This requires constant innovation, product upgrades, business strategy changes and very precise execution.
What are your future endeavors/objectives and where do you see yourself in the near future?
My future endeavors are spinning this exciting AI/ML platform into two distinct companies and business lines:
Helping customers understand and improve visitor engagement through proprietary machine learning, scoring, and benchmarking.
Digital interfaces have a high failure rate and poor customer experience. Online you only have seconds to engage customers. While marketing and analytics firms offer troves of data, most professionals don’t have the tools to analyze that information. There is no comprehensive omni channel method to capture a customer’s online experience and translate that experience into an objective measurement that can be used to improve web-presence.
Utilizing a proprietary formula and customized machine learning algorithms, Keydabra measures and quantifies customer’s web experience, then expresses it as an overall score. This SaaS based scoring platform can be used to gauge the consumer engagement of any website or digital platform. Keydabra identifies the most critical features of a customer’s experience. Based on these variables, data-based recommendations for digital improvements are provided. This scoring methodology allows us to benchmark engagement across industries/verticals and quantify customer’s composite omni channel experiences.
We all know that manufacturing productivity is a very complex non-linear and highly interactive combination of such parameters as yield, energy/material efficiency, quality, cost, and throughput, among many others. The difficulty of balancing these factors is captured by the old process motto: “Better, faster, cheaper – pick two out of three” But – what if management wants three out of three? Currently, there is no comprehensive model to dynamically correlate these factors into an overarching “Productivity Excellence Index” (PXi), as it were, that properly interpreted can gain insights into productivity performance and improvement.
The core of modern manufacturing is productivity excellence and its five contributing factors outlined above: yield, energy/material efficiency, quality, cost, and throughput. The ability to quantify and cross-correlate this factor in almost real time allows a company to improve its productivity and squeeze more operating profits from sales. The ability to see emerging trouble spots through analyses of latent patterns allows early interventions before the issues become de-habilitating.
Quantellix offers manufacturers access to cutting edge AI and ML technology via an easy to implement Software as a Service (SaaS) outsourced business model. Quantellix uses a proprietary formula coupled to a customized machine learning algorithm. Our algorithms dynamically measure and quantify such parameters as yield, efficiency, quality, costs, and throughput to create the PXi measure. The PXi can be used to monitor and contrast the health of the client’s manufacturing operations, and concurrently offer insights so to how the client can improve performance.