For Ashok Soota founded information technology (IT) services firm Happiest Minds Technologies, growth over the next several quarters will be driven by demand from verticals which have received a push from Covid-19 related changes in the enterprise market. These include education technology, healthcare, retail and ecommerce, as well as media and entertainment.
The company recently made a bumper debut on the Indian public markets.
Company executives said that Happiest Minds managed to evade major losses due to limited exposure to sectors such as aviation and hospitality during the first quarter of the current financial year. It reported net profits at Rs 50.2 crore for the quarter ended June 2020 and revenues at Rs 177 crore.
In an interview with TechCircle, Joseph Anantharaju, president and CEO of product engineering services, and Sridhar Mantha, CTO, spoke about the drivers of recovery and growth at the company.
What has been the impact of Covid-19 on the company’s business?
Anantharaju: Happiest Minds gets 76% of its business from verticals that are not impacted by
Covid-19 but, in fact, may see increased demand. These include edutech, hi-tech, media and entertainment, etc. Some of the solutions that are experiencing increased demand are security
to support remote working, ecommerce, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and digital process automation.
The industries most impacted by Covid-19 were those that required close human interaction and were discretionary in nature -- airlines, hospitality, transportation, cruises, etc. Happiest Minds fortunately had very limited exposure to these industries and hence did not experience a deep impact.
We witnessed a relatively lower level of slowdown, in some cases temporary, in a few additional industries -- industrial, logistics, automotive. Barring the travel and hospitality related companies, we are seeing a gradual recovery in the other sectors, with digital spending leading the way.
Education technology is a major revenue source and has received a boost during the pandemic. What solutions are you developing for the sector?
Mantha: Quite a few of our customers are in the online learning space and the roadmaps for these
products are accelerated due to higher demand from universities and K-12 institutions adopting online learning.
Apart from additional digital infrastructure for scaling with the right architecture, new kinds of features and solutions are being created to address ‘pure online learning’. Examples of such solutions are web proctoring for digital form of assessments to detect and prevent cheating; simpler solutions such as virtual class room functionality in familiar tools such as Microsoft Teams.
How has the pandemic accelerated specific lines of business for Happiest Minds?
Anantharaju: With Covid-19 minimizing and in some cases eliminating human, in-person interactions, we have seen companies aggressively investing in and rolling out digitization initiatives that obviate in-person interactions. This includes solutions that support remote technical support, employee collaboration, remote working and increased security in the workplace. Other areas that have seen a sharp uptick are ecommerce, online education, drones and robotics, on-demand entertainment, telehealth.
As a result we see increased demand from a few verticals that we expect will lead to increased growth -- edutech, healthcare, telecom OEMs, industrial, hi-tech, retails ecommerce, media and entertainment.
How did the company maintain 97% revenues from digital and 80% agile targets? What is the next wave of digital capabilities you are building?
Anantharaju: Happiest Minds is a digital native company that at inception was focused on SMAC -- social, mobile, big data analytics and cloud -- the initial set of digital technologies. A few years later, we developed skills in the next set of disruptive technologies -- IoT, software defined networking, platformization, digital security, AI and automation.
We are currently building capabilities in the next wave of digital technologies -- blockchain,
drones and robotics, AR/VR, etc.
We are also a ‘born agile’ company having made agility a core part of our culture, which includes both using agile methodology while executing projects for our customers and in our internal processes and way of working.
Mantha: Apart from acceleration of last year trends such as AI, vertical SaaS, API connectivity, etc. we are looking at a few trends and areas that will see accelerated growth such as supply chain SaaS solutions, industrial IoT SaaS platforms and workspace collaboration. IoT, security and blockchain along with previous technology trends will play a major role.