Podcast with George John Vettath Part 1
Podcast with George John Vettath Part 1
George shared his backstory of how he go from an engineer to a technopreneur. He shared his story in 3 parts. Covid-19 accelerated digital transformation. Companies realized that they cannot run old applications and at the same time their teams are spread out and hybrid and yet leaders got to deliver results. During this time, the tools have gotten better and definitely low code or no code is really helping. George went on to explain one core problem that most people don't see in transformation and that the real need is to really make those big apps work together, exposed, and start connecting to them and start revamping them. Then George went on to explain how low code enables such change for complex or big apps.
Notes and transcript can be found here: https://www.andrewliewweida.com/podcast
[00:00:00] Andrew Liew Weida: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the AI of mankind show where I share anything interesting about mankind. I'm your host for this season. My name is Andrew Liew. I work across four Continents and 12 international cities. Also, I work in tech startups across a range of roles from selling products, making customer happy, figuring out fundraising, making finance tick, building teams and developing sticky product. Apart from building startups. I've also worked in fortune 500 companies as a chief data scientist or technologist or people leader. You can call me Jack of all trades or master of learning. I hope to make this podcast show a great learning experience for us In each season, there is a series of interesting things where invite guests to share their views about their life and interests.
[00:01:09] Andrew Liew Weida: Now let the show begin.
[00:01:26] Andrew Liew Weida: Today, I'll have a very interesting guest, George and George is the founder of stragility. For those who are keen, you can go to his website, ww.agility.net on our podcast resource page. It is a enterprise class low code platform. George is one of the most recognized leaders in digital transformation for big companies and startups. He has 33 years of experience in enterprise software space, 18 of which he has been as a founder of his own company, Kallos technologies, and 15 prior to that, in the leading software companies. He has lived and worked in India, Australia, United States of America and Singapore, and has traveled extensively. The platform enables companies to rapidly build enterprise class application in rapid timeframe, with lower effort and high quality. Over the past 18 years, Josh has spent all his time and effort to deliver over 200 solutions to his customer over 12 countries. Here's his credentials George has an MBA from graduate school of business in the university of Sydney and is an electrical engineer from N I T India. Prior to that. He also ran his own company where he works in senior roles, in leading companies from India. He was the global head of product management and marketing in Ramco, which is the India's leading enterprise resource [00:03:00] planning, software company, and pior to that in CMC private limited, which is now part of TaTa consultancy services, the largest India software company last but not least, he's also a cohort member of Entrepreneur First, the global largest pre-seed investors. Let's welcome, George
[00:03:18] Andrew Liew Weida: Tell us about your story of how do you get from here to the days where you started finishing your graduate.
[00:03:29] George Vettath: First of all, Andrew, let me thank you for getting me on your program. I've listened to some of the earlier programs. It's really been interesting and good learning experience. So I'm happy to participate in this now as for what you asked. Yes. It's quite an interesting story. In fact, if you don't mind, I'll go even before when I passed out for my graduation. Oh, yes, please. Yeah. So I have 33 years of experience and I can break it down into three parts. Broadly the first part is where I worked for big corporates for about 15 years, then 15 years where I worked for Kallos which was more of the software services and product .
[00:04:05] George Vettath: But I'd say the last three years has been more like a startup. So from these three phases, the first part is where I got a lot of experience in dealing with big companies. We were working with companies like the largest uh, Steel company in India, the largest refineries are the largest railways and things like providing large solutions to customers.
[00:04:24] George Vettath: So those days we even had IBM mainframes and I worked with a lot of ex-IBM executives those days and learned the hard part of software specifications and stuff like that. I went to do my MBA after that, because I got an interest in products and realized that software is all about products, not all just about building projects for specific customers.
[00:04:44] George Vettath: And that MBA helped me to learn a lot more about product management and marketing. Very specifically. I remember the classes by one Dr. Susan Ellis she was in strategy.
[00:04:55] George Vettath: She taught me a lot about positioning and in Saudi, I love that. And I came back and looked for a product software company and only one I found or they found me. Ramco. Ramco was interesting because Ramco's CEO or MD at that type decided that we were to build a product that was going to be SAP, Oracle and he funded 400 people to develop a product that was massive in those days. I was one of the product heads building the product. We brought out a great product, and took it to market. It was quite enjoyable. But then late nineties, we got hit by SAP. Those days you must know SAP's a big giant of enterprise.
[00:05:29] George Vettath: Yeah, SAP kind of killed us in most places, and I had the head of product management and marketing to solve that problem. It was a tough problem to deal with. And essentially I got a lot of help from traveling to Gartner forest, these kind of consulting firms.
[00:05:45] George Vettath: My passport was quite a fact those days, 25 times to the US and stuff that, but essentially what came out was repositioning the organization into focus areas of three areas like one was aviation. The other one was HR and the third one was process manufacture. The way to beat the big companies to verticalize or to niche.
[00:06:04] George Vettath: And so we chose these verticals. We focused on some, we got orders from Boeing and stuff like that, and the company turned around and today they still ran on these verticals. There is reason to be successful. You must have heard a Ramco, even in the parties. They're pretty good at HR and aviation right now.
[00:06:19] George Vettath: For personal reasons, I left and the entrepreneurial bug was also biting. And so I started my own company. I ran Kallos for 15 years. A good team, but it was an interesting bootstrap concept were, what I did was we used to do a lot of surface services for companies around the world connect through people in different countries, colleagues, stuff like that. And we used to do projects and we used to use our surplus to do R and D on an area, which today is known as low code so there's a, I've been working on . For almost 15 years or 17 years as low code. And today what low code does for those who don't know what low code is. Low code is instead of writing an application with billions of lines of code or half a billion lines of code, you auto-generate most of it, therefore reducing the time and effort to build that. But 50 years back, that was a new concept. There were concepts like frameworks, reusable components, et cetera, which were not so well developed. The only thing when you build an application is to put 50 programmers on it, get it done, put forward developers on it, get it done, that kind of hard manual writing work.
[00:07:19] George Vettath: So on the parallel, we used to do R and D on this, and we actually did various technologies those days where we move in from reusable component to frameworks to model-based development and then to pass platform as a service. These are all various problems. Essential thing was, we were increasingly automating the level of now programming from 20 30, 40 to 60 and we still continue. So at 20 17 is when I said, okay, now we have a mature framework that can meet global standards. And that's when we created stragility as a brand. That's also when I spent some time in Singapore and in Entrepreneur First that's where I met you.
[00:07:57] Andrew Liew Weida: Oh yes, definitely. Yeah.
[00:07:59] George Vettath: And we had a good time to reposition the product and that's when we branded stragility and decided to bring it out as an enterprise-class platform with a bunch of products on it. And yeah, since then I can tell a lot more about it. We went into the Microsoft startups program and yeah, it's been an interesting last two years, like step up on this.
[00:08:15] Andrew Liew Weida: It's been a handful of ventures, like you mentioned you went through graduate school, and then you were curious, you went to learn about product management, went to Ramco, and then built out a lot of markets and verticals and then. Over time, as you went back to being a good father, you started your own company, and then you realized that, oh, there are so many things that can be built. Why don't we build something faster and better? That's why you figure out it was called the low code. And then thereafter, you came to entrepreneur first, and that was how I met you. And then thereafter you were building agility. So now, the interesting question that I wanted to ask is whether you were doing digital transformation or digital strategy work before COVID-19 and after COVID-19, how has COVID-19 changed digital transformation?
[00:09:03] George Vettath: So digital transformation was happening and most companies had a lot of plans for digital transformation. But when COVID happened, it forced companies to accelerate all sectors. You realize that you cannot run old applications that are running on, let's say in on-premise systems. You realize that your teams are spread out and hybrid, and yet you've got a delivery.
[00:09:25] George Vettath: And the only way to do that is to have online systems running real-time, online systems run. And when companies started looking at what they had internally, they realized that there's a lot of mess out there. And one has to really move things forward to ensure that things start becoming online. And so a lot of effort has gone into digital transformation. So digital transformation was there before, but it has accelerated. It is earlier something that was the job of the IT manager or the CIO, but now has become the role of the boardroom, the CEO, the boardroom wants to know what's happening on the technology front. And so the CEO has to deliver. Those who have had tech experience tend to do better and those who have detailed tech. So given all this digital transformation has accelerated post-COVID and of course, you know how the same way zoom calls happen the same way. Everything is getting virtual remote.
[00:10:18] Andrew Liew Weida: . So as you mentioned is accelerated, like how what kind of acceleration or how fast the acceleration, because before COVID-19, everybody still wanted to build apps. Now, after COVID 19, everybody wants to do even more apps. Everything is online, everything is on the cloud. So how fast, like, is it like a project would have to be required to be in half the time or like used to take six months now I wanna do it in three. How has that changed?
[00:10:44] George Vettath: Yeah definitely the tools have got better and definitely low code or no code is really helping.
[00:10:50] George Vettath: But before I get into that I just try to explain one core problem that most people don't see in transformation. When the mobile revolution happened [00:11:00] between 2012 and 2018, a lot of nice apps came out. Everybody got used to a lovely UI. People got familiar with social media.
[00:11:08] George Vettath: It started to become interesting. Everyone started using apps. So the problem was inside corporate. The systems were old. 20-year-old systems. Disconnected systems, bandaid systems. The average company would have 20 applications. A big company would have maybe 200 applications and a fortune fine company would have 2000 applications.
[00:11:28] George Vettath: Inside their systems. And you can imagine all developing different app platforms at different times and not having the same standards. And yet, I call it the CIOs who have the responsibility to make all of it happen. I'd say there's a nice term in the us. They call it lipstick on the pig. so one is the mobile apps where the lipstick and the pig is inside with all those big apps.
[00:11:52] George Vettath: So the real need was to really make those big apps work together, exposed, and start connecting to them and start revamping them. Now, this is where also this SaaS revolution has helped. The SaaS revolution of the last 10 years has helped some of the applications which were old, which were customer facing now started getting improved. So that's where SaaSs really did a big, good job in the CRM front the support front, the marketing front, the sales front, and some of the apps. But now it is extending to the internal in terms of the organizations. If you see that's, what's really been happening internally. And I think that it'll just be seen in the way companies move faster, respond faster and become more efficient management with less. And it's also becoming critical in the sense that if these big companies don't realize that these changes are actually happening, you'll find a small startup, running a virtual company, doing everything online, beating them at their own game and so they're all close to. The business environment and forward, and internal reasons are all driving a lot of applications to accelerate the digital market to the transformation front.
[00:12:58] Andrew Liew Weida: As you mentioned before that a big company would have 2000 applications, a small company. We have 20 applications regardless of the number of applications. They have been using very old legacy systems and up keeping them and changing them. It will be very manual, massive work. And now with COVID-19, there's even more need to put on more applications and even more need to be cloud because now there's all this physical limitation where people can no longer frequently go to a physical server or go across a trip to get things done. Now, if you think along that line as companies building towards a more microservices, more multiple modular SaaS services, what do you know leaders or C-suite executives need to take note of when they do digital transformation post-COVID-19?
[00:13:51] George Vettath: I'm sure most of them would be having I call it as a three-month plan, a six-month plan, a one-year plan, a three year plan, a five-year plan. They would be having these various plans. They would be having a portfolio and they would be planning on replacing essential labs then they would be having, so they'll have a priority in replacing things one by one to get IT more access rate. Now all of them have their plans. The good ones have good plans. The others cannot be so and they have to move in multiple directions because it's not just taking apps. Remember there's an AI revolution happening at the same time, there is pressure to win in the market. There are a lot of pressures coming and that's when the portfolio of applications are well thought through. What do they need to think through? Let me just tell the set of challenges behind that's an easy thing before we think through and what they should do, because you gotta be thinking from the business strategy perspective, determining, because it's your IT strategy is really your business strategies is made in many situations, you gotta be thinking about changing the culture of the organization. And when you do a change suddenly people's profiles, change jobs change, and you gotta be handling that change. You've gotta be thinking about ensuring that there's an ROI while you're in. You gotta make sure that there is a return for the investment happening. So you gotta be sure that technology is the right architecture, the right application, and functional architecture and technology, right? And you've also gotta ensure that compliance is met while you're doing this. You just can't change. You gotta make sure that the private security, and other aspects of compliance are all met. So you're talking about people who have to handle all these while you're solving the problem. Now, without better tools, you cannot do it. And writing billions of lines of code, a quarter billion lines of code is not going to cut it. And that's where I think low code is going to change things.
[00:15:32] Andrew Liew Weida: Hi everyone, thanks for tuning into this episode. We have come to the end of part 1 with George. In the next episode, we will continue with George on part 2 which he shared with us a use case on how to start the process of digitally transforming a company and he will talk about how low code enables agility on simple apps as well as complex apps. George Will also shares his views on how low code will transform the digital transformation of complex applications. . Lastly George shared about a use case on how he helped a fund management company to enable digital transformation using low code. .
[00:16:01] Andrew Liew Weida: Hi guys. Thanks for listening to this podcast. If this is the first time you are tuning in. Remember to subscribe to this show. If you have subscribed to this show and love this. Please share it with your friends, family, and acquaintances. See you later and see you soon. ( The end) .