With the role of technology department changing in organizations, the need for qualified technology leaders who understand the business is in high demand. While much is made of India's technology talent requiring upskilling, India continues to be one of the foremost startup hubs globally. Therefore, when tech-first brands such as InMobi and Swiggy fall short of talent in the technology space they turn to Purple Quarter, who in turn have helped the likes of Dave Vaz, long time Engineering Chief at Amazon India move to Swiggy.
Purple Quarter - a technology evangelist placement firm focused on placing evangelists across the likes of Swiggy, InMobi, Walmart and MakeMyTrip - helps companies find the right technology leaders. In an exclusive chat with DataQuest, Deepak Singh Ahlawat, Founder and CEO, Purple Quarter shares the latest trend in C-level hiring among the companies. Edited Excerpts.
DQ: While there are many human-resource consultancies in the market, what are the advantages for a CTO or a business owner to select you?
Deepak Singh Ahlawat: Since the inception of Purple Quarter, we have taken a counterintuitive approach to the task at hand.
Even before we made our first closure, we had met over 200 of the brightest tech leaders and founders of companies, to get a hiring perspective of both clients as well as candidates. We recognized that skills associated with emotional intelligence are as important as technical skills, in leadership positions. The alignment of vision and cultural fitment in the organization play a huge part too. We take this range of traits into consideration for our proprietary behavioural matrix, which is then used as a reference point, to gauge candidates.
This exhaustive and personalised approach has been our USP, a service that none of the other human-resource consultancies provide. We partner with clients rather than just share profiles, the prevalent market practice.
DQ: Unlike a fresher or mid-level employee, a tech leader is updated with the latest technology and trends, thanks to the various exhibitions, meetings, industry events, etc. What is that extra effort you make for providing value for your clients?
Deepak Singh Ahlawat: Tech leaders have more technical knowledge than us. We do not attempt to add value in that domain. In fact, it is the other way around. When we meet them, we try to gather as much information, from and about them, as possible. Our expertise is in a totally different domain. We find them the best opportunity; not only where their technical skills are best suited, but where they are the best cultural fit as well.
DQ: In India, there are forums for CIOs, CTOs, Network security experts and more. An average CIO/CTO is part of a minimum of 5 to 6 industry forums. You can include LinkedIn too. Do you think there is a need for your services beyond such forums?
Deepak Singh Ahlawat: These forums that you talk of can only help in networking. Our services go much deeper than that. The transition of tech leadership is a sensitive process. We spend extended time with the stakeholders of the company, the founders, advisors and HR heads to get a holistic view of the requirements from the prospective candidate(s). We even familiarize these stakeholders with candidates’ expectations. This, in turn, aligns the visions of candidates and clients.
DQ: Today most of the companies expect a tech-leader to know beyond technology as they have to plan for strategies, vision, budgeting, internal and external clients and more. Thus, how are you ensuring on finding people having expertise in P&L, HR, accounting, forecasting, negotiation and more?
Deepak Singh Ahlawat: Each company has a different expectation from its tech leader. We incorporate the skill sets that clientele speak of, in our behavioural matrix. Once we streamline requirements from the stakeholders of the companies looking for their tech leader, we narrow down on which candidate from our pool is best suited.
DQ: What is your revenue model and how will your journey be with the companies before and after placing?
Deepak Singh Ahlawat: We work on a transparent retainer model. This could be either a fixed fee engagement or a predetermined mutually agreed percentage of the compensation offered. Speaking of our journey with clientele, there is no cookie cutter mantra. Each organization is different, and the journey is tailor-made as per its requirements. We partner with companies right from understanding their vision, to requirement, to culture. After the paperwork is complete, we facilitate the entire transition process, getting the leadership and tech teams acquainted with the new tech head. We stay in touch until after a year the position is closed to ensure that our solution has taken root.
DQ: Global leaders like Gartner have been saying Digital twins and Chief Digital Officer; What is the mindset of Indian business owners to have a Chief-Digital -Officer or rename the Chief Information Officer to Chief Digital Officer?
Deepak Singh Ahlawat: Chief Digital Officers are a recent phenomenon in India. The tenure of the oldest serving CDO in India is not even five years. More than half of these are in the BFSI industry. Now, as IoT starts entering the mainstream, we slowly see the rise of CDOs in companies, sometimes replacing the CIO designation.
Indian business owners will soon have no option other than to embrace this change. A CIO’s role is different from that of a CTO’s, is different from that of a CDO’s. Hiring CTOs is our area of expertise.
DQ: Please share some success stories/case-studies where the officers you had placed have brought significant changes in the organization they work for?
Deepak Singh Ahlawat: While the transformation in consumer-facing businesses we have worked with in the past is fairly evident, success is to be attributed to their teams. As a partner in growth, we gauge our success by being the preferred partner to our clients. We get recurrent referrals from clientele we have engaged with, for their peers looking for a new tech-head. In fact, we have good reason to believe that we are the most-referred brand when it comes to tech-head hiring.
Authored By Swaminathan Balasubramanian