Sidharth Malik is the Chief Executive Officer at CleverTap who drives the company’s global expansion and revenue growth by developing new capabilities, improving operating efficiency, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Before joining the SaaS-based customer engagement and user retention company, he served as the Chief Revenue Officer at Freshworks Inc. and was the Chairman of Freshworks India. He has held leadership roles at Microsoft, IBM, Akamai Technologies, and Salesforce, among others. Apart from being on the board of various companies, he is also a mentor and an angel investor in several startups.
Here are the edited excerpts.
How do you see the larger post-pandemic tech industry landscape? What has changed?
The pandemic has proven that “a time of great crisis leads to a time of great innovation”. Technology adoption has been one of the most prominent changes and tech companies have had to focus not only on innovation and digital transformation but also on sustainability, collaboration, and agility.
Tech companies are increasingly focused on adopting AI and machine learning to gain real-time insights into customers and help businesses strategize, based on data-driven insights. The increase in data creation and consumption, and the need for real-time analysis has pushed the IT industry to adopt tools and IT infrastructure to manage this demand better. This includes state-of-the-art data centre and edge capabilities, cloud computing, and customized Internet-of-Things to predict any issues, and sense and report inputs across distributed networks.
How are businesses seizing the opportunity for a pro-growth, post-pandemic world? What are the top areas they are distilling their focus on?
Post-pandemic, businesses have speedily jumped on the digital transformation and automation bandwagon. Businesses across have become more tech-savvy. According to a study by Futurum Research in partnership with Microsoft, 85% of companies report their customers are significantly more digital than expected. And 90% of companies say their existing systems for tracking customer journeys need improvement.
Businesses have generally been distilling their focus on using technology to improve processes and customer experiences. At CleverTap, we focus on enabling our customers to understand and engage with their users better, and to provide tailored experiences through contextual communication.
Some CEOs are permanently shutting offices to give up on hybrid set-ups and fully embrace working from home, others are betting big on hybrid arrangements. How do you see the equation play out in coming years?
73% of the companies in India surveyed by the CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd. are considering hybrid work arrangements post COVID. With employees operating remotely for 2 years now, hybrid models have been the best way to ease them into working from offices. Even at CleverTap, we have left it to employees to choose if they’d like to work remotely or from the office until 2023.
Hybrid work models are practical and here to stay. It helps in increasing productivity, making employees more efficient and delivering better and faster results. A study by Gartner reveals that 50% of hybrid workers in India consider themselves more productive when working remotely. Not just in terms of work, but hybrid models allow for more work-life balance, and promote employees’ health and safety, while also reducing operating costs for organisations.
How do you see the Great Resignation which is still continuing? In fact, the “great attrition” is making hiring harder for industries across sectors.
Before jumping into figuring out the attrition issue, companies should introspect on why employees are quitting. Post-pandemic, people want to focus on more purpose-driven jobs with better work-life balance. According to a recent survey by recruitment agency Michael Page, in the next six odd months, nearly 86% Indian employees are planning to resign. People are willing to take pay cuts, are looking for more flexible work models, and want to be a part of organisations that put people and their well-being ahead of business goals.
Companies need to start catering to the new talent pool and align their work culture to suit the younger generations. As long as companies continue to listen and evolve along with their employees, leaders will be able to address the attrition problem and ascertain ways to retain their employees.
What are CleverTap's priorities in 2022 and beyond?
We are currently on a high growth trajectory, aiming to grow 10X growth in the next five years. We have been significantly adding to our leadership team with key appointments that have taken place in the first half of this year alone.
In terms of growth and expansion, the acquisition of Leanplum which was announced in May, will help us tap into non-mobile first markets. From a product perspective, we continue to invest in innovation and the launch of our purpose-built database- TesseractDB is a testament to this commitment.
While we continue to innovate on our product offerings, our ultimate goal is to bring back the “tech” in Martech. Our aim is to go beyond generic spam messaging and help brands create hyper-personalized real-time contextual communication to build digital relationships with end-users.