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Fireside chat with Roshan Agrawal, President of SG Analytics

Who is Roshan Agrawal?

Roshan has built and scaled SaaS/PaaS products and platforms from the ground up at Microsoft, VMware, Rackspace as well as at startups. He is passionate about building/leading high-performance organizations. With a technology degree from IIT-Delhi and a Master’s in Business from McCombs Business School, he brings a strong combination of business and technical acumen. Roshan is also active in startups as an investor and advisor.

Roshan lives in Austin, enjoys playing tennis and guitar with his two kids, and loves meditating hiking and wine tasting in his free time.

Tell us more about your role in SG Analytics?

At SGA Roshan built out the Product organization from scratch. He drives build, launch and monetization of a portfolio of B2B SaaS Products in the space of analytics & machine learning. Roshan also drives organizational transformation initiatives across people, process, and technology.

What is the most difficult part of your job? But the most rewarding one?

The most difficult part is driving change, identifying, and breaking down political silos towards a high-performance organization culture. When you do that you do rub a lot of people the wrong way but being okay with that and still drive change in the best interest of the organization is a hard but necessary choice.

The opportunity to drive change is also the most rewarding one, I thrive in driving transformations, question the status-quo and break forge new ways of conducting business.

Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?

I have been fortunate to connect the right dots through my career. I built sound software engineering foundations during the first half of my career and went on to build strong business foundations via various product management roles, which has set me well to lead end to end business ownership of product businesses from ideation to build to launch/monetization. These experiences have allowed me not only to create strategic plans but also convert them into tactical execution plans; have a business/revenue first approach while still be able to connect it to technical blueprints.

One thing I would change on my professional path is to engage more strongly with the software technology community outside the walls of the company I work for. I have gotten better on this front recently and can clearly see how networking outside the immediate walls of my current company allows me to contribute more broadly to the community as well as bring new ideas/perspectives back into my work. Looking back, I would have liked to start on this path much sooner.

What is your key strategy for the development of your company?

FOCUS – identify the 10 x business opportunities and go after them in a BIG way. To do this, we will have to let go of the other revenue opportunities that are still excellent businesses however pursuing them can distract from dedicated focus on the truly 10x opportunities. This will require some hard choices and a strong dose of risk taking backed by conviction, and we are well on our way on that path.

What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? How will your industry be affected?

While the last year has been painful for us all, there are quite a few promising silver linings that I am excited about as I look at H2’2021 and beyond. First, we have seen a huge acceleration in adoption of Technology (e.g., adoption of Cloud, remote collaboration tools such as Zoom) which will continue post Covid – this bodes well for technology and technology enabled businesses. Secondly, wider acceptance of remote/distributed teams means businesses now tap into a global talent pool, and even more importantly people now have flexibility to access a much wider set of opportunities without being limited by geographic location.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

We are seeing an explosion of data across structured and unstructured text, video, image, and audio data. To harness and capture the opportunities presented by this explosion of data, Machine Learning and advanced analytics technologies that have so far been prevalent mostly in academia/research domains are quickly seeing mainstream adoption. This presents a compelling opportunity for organizations that have built strong capabilities in these technologies.

The rapid adoption of “as-a-Service”, “pay-per-use” business models not only on the technology side (e.g Cloud, SaaS) but also on the business side (e.g. on-demand access to skills via Upwork) is allowing a level of agility in the business that we couldn’t even imaging before. Businesses that adopt these new trends will position themselves for success, and those that don’t will find it hard to thrive.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

  • Principles by Ray Dalio, a rare collection of actionable principles that can be applied to work and life to achieve spectacular results.
  • The Magic by Rhonda Byrne, how we all have the power to construct our own realities by first architecting it in our minds.

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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