Thursday, December 4, 2014

Expand your Network – Enhance your Net worth

When my marketing department reminded me that the time for me to contribute to the RTS blog had arrived, I was dwelling on what topic to focus on this time around. Given that I tend to attend industry conferences at every opportunity I get and having been given two such opportunities within the span of a month to meet some pretty interesting individuals, the decision to choose networking as the topic of this blog was pretty straightforward.

When I first began my career more than 20 years ago as a business analyst in American Airlines, in my mind, the term ‘network’ implied either a collection of linked computers or all the destinations that an airline flew to with not even the slightest allusion to a human connection.  In those days, I had a pretty narrow definition of success – design an algorithm to solve a business problem or troubleshoot a buggy piece of code.  Any other activity that my marketing and sales colleagues used to undertake religiously, like making trips to exotic locales to attend industry conferences were considered boondoggles that were merely a waste of time.  As I progressed in my career, I started gaining a holistic appreciation of the business model and a striking realization of the power of human interaction in either making or breaking a deal.  As the saying goes, businesses don’t do business with other businesses, people do business with people. The human element is perhaps the most important aspect of any business relationship and this can simply not happen if there are no face to face interactions with peers in the industry and beyond. 

‘Grow your network‘ is a popular refrain preached by mentors and career coaches and with very good reason. It goes without saying that for a job seeker, the bigger the network, the greater are the chances of landing a job commensurate with skills and expectations. For business professionals, especially in the sales domains, attending conferences to expand their network and potentially business opportunities is not a luxury but a necessity and the skyrocketing prices of attending, speaking and exhibiting at conferences bears ample testimony to the demand organizers face from vendors. Networking is frequently listed by delegates as the main motivation for attending conferences. In the analog world, informal introductions and discussions over lunch have been the tried and tested method of starting many productive relationships. More extreme and targeted networking at conferences is an accepted practice and is frequently listed as the main motivation of delegates to attend industry events. In the digital domain, sites like LinkedIn, Skillpages, etc. have made it quite convenient to seek out and make professional connections.  However, I would contend that though digital forums are very useful in fostering and building relationships, initiation of a relationship is best done through face to face encounters. Irrespective of how much synergy may exist between two professionals, a business relationship typically has a solid foundation only after a personal rapport is initially built between the interested parties. 

For those of us who are given the opportunity to attend conferences, the networking sessions specifically set up by the organizers are  god-sends and makes getting to know some interesting people both from a professional a personal level that much easier (copious amounts of alcohols at these events don’t hurt either).  The thought of walking up to abject strangers at a conference with an unsolicited introduction is quite an awkward proposition for most, but the more you engage in that, you realize that the imagined rejections that you were dreading never actually materialize and that everybody is in the same boat as you.  In fact, in my case, even though I don’t consider myself a social animal, not only did this become pain-free, it actually became  enjoyable as you never know what kind of interesting relationship might develop as a result of your initiative.  In fact, I have made quite a few professional contacts who as an added bonus have also become good friends and this further incentivizes me to network at every opportunity I get.

Networking, besides the obvious effect of helping you get access to better career opportunities or growing your business, is quite rewarding on a personal level. It  gives you insight into different perspectives and motivations of other human beings whose end objective is typically not that much different from yours.  Though obviously prospects and partners tend be on top of the food chain when it comes to strategic networking, if time permits, I have found indiscriminate networking to be quite fulfilling as well. Meeting people from unfamiliar domains has enhanced my perspective and though there may not be much in common on a professional level there could be significant similarities on a personal level leading to lasting friendships.  This relationship may have never had a chance if I had ruled them out as not being of business value merely by glancing at their title and company on their lanyards. Just as you should never judge a book by it’s cover, I've realized that you should never judge the value of a contact by his or her lanyard.

Networking can be a potentially uncomfortable experience when it comes to competitors that you may run into at conferences. Though some people can feel awkward and tend to avoid their competitors like the plague, I have found that even though there obviously will not be much (if any) professional knowledge being exchanged between them (for good reason), an informal discussion focusing on personal small talk at least increases familiarity and this should hold in you in good stead in this dynamic marketplace where a competitor today can be a client, partner or colleague tomorrow.

Would be very interested in knowing where you stand on networking.  Please feel free to share any thoughts you have on this.

Pradeep Bandla

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TMI (Too Much Information )

We live in a time when we can consume news and gather information as it is happening in real-time.  We get the details of a disaster from the news media (internet, television, and newspapers) almost immediately. In the case of some of the coverage of recent disasters, the information can sometimes be misleading or not accurate as the reporters sometimes run with any information that they receive without first vetting the source or the information.  On top of this there are several media outlets, journalists, and bloggers who share or publish their own opinions instead of providing only the facts and allowing the public to form their own opinion.
Information is also only a click away today - whether from our computer or smart phones. We get hundreds of results back that in itself can be overwhelming.  How do we choose which article, blog, or source to read? That is what I find to be the hardest part.
For me trying to decipher where to start and determining the difference between fact and fiction can lead to a state of feeling either very overwhelmed or to a state of confusion.  As you dig deeper into gathering more information one can get a sense of being overwhelmed.
Wikipedia states that "information overload" refers to the difficulty a person can have in understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information [1]". 
In reviewing my searching habits, I have found that I tend to always go to the same sources, internet pages, blogs, that I believe provides me with the information that I need  to make a valid opinion or judgment about a particular subject - whether it be personal, business, political, etc. Sometimes this helps eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed but sometimes it adds to it especially for those issues that are social, political, or religious in nature.  It can lead you to feeling that you are losing control.
Living in an age of technology is great but I find that it leads me to a sense of losing  control - being pushed and pulled by it - rather than a sense of being in control of my thoughts and ideas. I have come to realize that I need to consciously consume information.  That is to figure out what I want to know or gain more knowledge of and be hardnosed about sticking to certain ideas or thoughts.[2]
What are your strategies in dealing with information overload?  How do you decide what to absorb or just skim through? And how do we make our blog one of those that is on your "go to" list?
As always we value your thoughts and opinions and would like to hear your ideas on this topic.
Robert L. Harris, Jr.
Senior Solutions Consultant

[1]  Yang, C.C.; Chen, Hsinchun; Honga, Kay (2003). "Visualization of large category map for Internet browsing". Decision Support Systems 35 (1): 89–102. doi:10.1016/S0167-9236(02)00101-X.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Context matters…..

 This is a blog I have wanted to write for a very long time… it is a collection of my learning and observations in a few areas from working for several different companies and with different people of varying levels of knowledge, experience, and maturity. I would like to focus on just a couple of these observations in this blog. There is a common underlying thread among all these observations which I will come to at the end.

It is quite interesting to listen to people who sound very excited about best practices and jump on them to try and implement them in their group or company. Be it marketing strategy, leadership style, or recruiting process.  Oftentimes, enthusiastic managers and leaders completely miss out on the context and fail to understand the differences between companies in terms of size, composition, maturity, and complexity of the organization as well as the type of products and services rendered.  In addition, there are several other factors and constraints such as budgetary, governing board, and competition that differentiate companies.  Ron Ashkenas in his Harvard Business Review Blog Network (2010) post entitled “Why best practices are hard to practice” 
(  identifies ‘lack of adaptation’ as one of the two common pitfalls of applying best practices. I can very well relate to this from my first major professional experience in applying best practices to managing perishable inventory.  Applying revenue management concepts from airline passenger side to the air cargo world is what I am referring to (back in the early ‘90s) and how a few of the airlines failed in adopting it instead of adapting it.

I also find it puzzling when certain leaders believe that there is only one way to move forward or make a decision regardless of the situation. This closely ties into the previous observation; however, it is more related to making decisions on business development, sales strategy, etc.  People call it as ‘inconsistent’ when different decisions are made for a problem under exactly the same situation.  I call it ‘irrational’ when the same decision is made for a problem but under different circumstances or situations.  It is a bit strange when someone says this is how he or she will make a decision no matter what.  Let us take a simple example from our personal lives. When a friend asks for a ride to the airport you will say yes when you have nothing going on at that time. You will most likely say yes when you have a ‘not so important’ commitment at that time. The decision is a ‘may be’ when you have a meeting with your boss at that time. It is probably a ‘no’ when you have an important customer meeting at that time.  We can stretch this example to scenarios where it is your anniversary or your daughter is sick, and so on. The decisions may be different if it is about taking your friend to the hospital for an emergency. The point here is that our decision to solve a problem depends on the circumstances around it as well.

I can go on and on with several examples where context matters.  What is important from the above two observations is not to lose sight of the context, situation, or circumstances. Let passion and best practices drive strategies for your company but it should be aptly adapted based on the unique nature of your organization. I personally believe being cognizant of ‘context’ and adapting to it on everything we do is a key to success. A leader is not a true leader if his/her leadership style is exactly the same regardless of the company he/she leads. A decision maker is not rational if he makes the same decision for a problem regardless of the context. What is important is to keep the fundamentals in perspective and follow basic tenets of business ethics. It may sound like I am stressing the obvious, but as mentioned at the beginning, many passionate leaders completely miss the boat on this and get carried away by the practices and strategies deployed by other leaders at other companies that yielded success.  

At Revenue Technology Services, we ensure that our leaders are sentient of this important factor. I welcome your thoughts and feedback on this.

Raja Kasilingam

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave”

Is it a viable option to intentionally make mistakes to promote discussion or feedback? Or even more severely, to sell something.

There are a million lists out there these days, usually prefaced with some form of “that you can’t live without”. Some are pretty interesting, but often they are linked to some form of social media publicity harvesting. It seems one of the easiest ways is to make you respond, for example by publishing a list of “25 guaranteed weight loss tips” but then only publishing a list of 10. You then make a comment to point out the error of their ways, and voila, they have you.

So I got to thinking, where and when is it acceptable to warp the truth? In his last blog ( Raja mentioned that “the key factor that pushes customers over the edge to say ‘YES’ is trust (a combination of integrity, knowledge, and expertise).” As a parent of 3 boys, two of whom are 6 years old, and still enjoy being read to, I find that I purposely change words in their better known stories to elicit a response and see if they are paying attention.

During training courses I will, usually tongue in cheek, throw in a complete misstatement about the topic to test attendees, or at least test if they are awake. Some areas should not have this done, for example if I was doing Health and Safety training, or a pre flight briefing, just in case someone takes it seriously!

Yet if I was doing the same thing in marketing materials, would people see it as a hook or as a lie? Obviously each situation has its own interpretation and merits, and yes, advertisers have been stretching the truth for years, but at the end of the day it loops back to Raja’s trust issue. I will always exaggerate for effect, that is part of my genetic makeup, sometimes a million times in one session, but I have to do it in such a way that it makes the rest of what I am saying credible. It is me, or my colleagues, that people are buying into, not necessarily the specific wording, but the end point still has to be accurate.

So when we sit down and discuss “what we can do for you”, it will likely cover a range of areas. In illustrating points, there may be a slight misrepresentation for effect, for example if we talk about your 5 thousand seat aircraft, or your ship flying from point A to point C. But when we are talking about specifics, actual details and what can and cannot happen, it is off the cards. This approach, a refusal to bend the truth, has made me unpopular in past jobs, as it is very at odds with the “used car salesman” type approach, i.e. say anything to win the deal.

But unlike the used car salesman who likely will not see you again, my team has to deliver what we told you up front we could. We have to deal with you daily, and if something is not as we said, we have to face the music. On occasion things may not happen at the originally envisaged times, but overall, keeping an honest dialogue going serves to keep everyone happy.

And misrepresenting things upfront puts the credibility of me, my team, and my organisation at risk. And that is not acceptable.

As Mark Twain said,
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”

So whilst no one is likely to come out and admit to lying, when is it acceptable to bend the truth? Your thoughts in the comments below please?

Jason Codd
VP, Services

Friday, September 5, 2014

Shaping your career one step at a time

I always thought of a career path as a linear format in which one makes their career growth according to a set path taking guidance from a book, mentor or a class.

In reality very few of us strive to follow this path. It may be a good guideline to follow but typically there is an abstract line that runs in other directions that doesn’t necessarily have to be vertical, but usually runs  multidimensionally to shape one’s career.

Climbing the corporate or business ladders aren’t the only ways to think about career growth, even though it does involve most of the career path decisions.

For some, a professional career is a destination. From the very start, the goal is to achieve some level of proficiency or stature in our chosen field of work.  The destination can be a role, a company, a level of achievement, or other specific and measurable goal.

For others, a professional career is a journey.  From the very start, the goal is to experience work from a variety of perspectives in your field and adjacent fields.  The journey can be different companies or organizations within a big company, job types, geographies, or other varied aspects of your profession. Destination and journey are different ways to look at career progression. 

As I mentioned earlier, we can start to map our path in horizontals and verticals. What is your next step toward that position? What category does that new step fall into? An educational achievement, experiential skill/knowledge, new visibility/recognition, new position or new path? When you're moving up to the next level in your career – for example moving from a manager to a director – that is a vertical move. When you're moving from one company to another or making a lateral move within your company, that is a horizontal path.

Work your way, both horizontally and vertically.

Your thoughts on this topic would be appreciated. 

Deeshi Gandhi
Business Analyst

Thursday, August 21, 2014

IT Process Automation

Automate => An Efficient Process => Analyze & Monitor                                             

"Automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.                          Automation applied to an in-efficient operation will magnify the in-efficiency - Bill Gates"

Daily, as we go through a process grind at our workplaces, the efficiency of the laid down process can largely affect our efficiency and productivity in turn of the organization as a whole. So it is very important to build efficient processes, automating them in a way to further enhance their efficiency.

Few questions come to mind though:
  • Why we need not fear automation?
  • What is the need to analyze and monitor an efficient process?
  • How can automation be a business opportunity to improve efficiency and productivity?

Automation isn’t something that we should fear, but rather something that we should embrace. It will not replace us, but rather make our jobs easier and more efficient. For example, IT process automation can reduce the need for manual script writing. A self-correcting mechanism can reduce the need for IT support staff to step in and perform routine tasks, such as run scripts, monitor logs, reset passwords and restart servers.

Does it mean we would have a nameless, faceless workplace that is filled with computers rather than people? No. This is because in most cases the tasks that are automated are meant to be automated. The process can generate meaningful data, day in and day out. With automation, there is an option to focus our energies on analyzing that meaningful data for which human input is necessary and take prudent business decisions.

In fact, automation can sometimes be a game changing opportunity in a business for many reasons. Primarily, it can drastically reduce the risk of costly errors. Repetitive manual tasks can at some point have errors – especially when one is under a lot of stress. One simple error can cause huge ripple effects across the entire organization and even result in lost revenue. Shifting to automation for these tasks can eliminate this danger.  It does present a huge opportunity for organizations to not only save money, improve efficiency and output, reduce errors but much more.

While automation will most certainly fuel business growth, the fact is, businesses will always need the human touch - analyzing, communicating and taking corrective actions. These can never be replaced by any high-end technology . Information Technology will complement and support our efforts to grow further and build products which meet both client expectations and high standards of quality.

How has automation helped your business? Leave us your comments. We look forward to hearing from our readers.

Puneet Malhotra

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Make a Difference

‘You must be the change that you wish to see in the world’
-       M.K.Gandhi

I have worked for a lot of managers but for a very few leaders in my career spanning over 16 years. As a matter of principle I have always told myself that you learn from very person that you come across, making a mental note of the things that you want to adopt and the things that you want to avoid. This is how I viewed every person that I have had the pleasure of working for and with. After years into my career, as I was transitioning into a mid level management position, I was in a conundrum - what kind of a manager should I be? 

As I was trying to look up to different folks that I have known to be in positions of power, I realized that there is a difference between being a manager versus being a leader. My dad further clarified this by pointing out that - A manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate. In a way they must go hand in hand but are not the same thing. Warren Bennis in his 1989 book ‘On becoming a leader’ has composed an exhaustive list of differences of which I have listed a few of my favorites:

-       The manager administers; the leader innovates
-       The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
-       The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
-       The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.

The biggest difference between managers and leaders is the way they motivate the people who work or follow them, and this sets the tone for most other aspects of what they do. How do you motivate people?

My personal experience  on being an employee as well as a leader has been that focusing on small things goes a long way towards making employees believe in what they do day in and day out with a sense of purpose. From stopping by the cubicle getting to know what’s going in their lives; taking them out for a lunch or a drink establishes a rapport that helps in understanding who they are and what is important to them at a rudimentary level in their work life. I am by no means suggesting that this compensates for traditional pay raises, bonuses or promotions. Given the cyclical economic conditions that we are perennially in, such things will help a great deal. I have come across some great managers, who  don’t seem to have time for activities outside core work or they are socially awkward which stops them from being a true leader. One of my favorite quotes on this topic was from Herb Kelleher, the co-founder and former CEO of Southwest who wrote, ‘A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear’. Southwest recently celebrated an accomplishment of forty one consecutive years of profit.

I was at our India offices last year and a young manager who wanted to be promoted to lead a larger team accosted me, “I’ve been reading all about leadership, have implemented several ideas, and think I’m doing a good job at leading my team. How will I know when I’ve crossed over from being a manager to a leader?”

I didn’t have a ready answer and it’s a complicated issue, so we decided to talk the next day. I thought long and hard, and came up with three things that will help you decide if you’ve made the shift from managing people to leading them. I referred to Vineet Nayar’s, the former CEO of HCL, spot on perspective on this topic:

Measuring Goals vs. Adding Value.  You’re probably measuring value, not adding it, if you’re managing people. Only managers measure value; some even reduce value by disabling those who add value. If a recruiter is asked to report every 1 hour how many folks he has hired, by distracting him, his boss is subtracting value.

By contrast, leaders focus on creating value, saying: “I’d like you to handle issue 1 while I deal with issue 2.” Leading by example and leading by enabling people are the hallmarks of action-based leadership.

Circles of influence vs. Circles of power. Just as managers have subordinates and leaders have followers, managers create turfs while leaders create circles of influence.
The quickest way to figure out which of the two you’re doing is to count the number of people outside your reporting hierarchy who come to you for advice. The more that do, the more likely it is that you are perceived to be a leader.

Leading people vs. Managing work. Management consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal. Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.

I encouraged my colleague to put this theory to the test by inviting his teammates for chats. When they stop discussing the tasks at hand — and talk about vision, purpose, and aspirations instead, that’s when you will know you have become a leader.

At RTS we strive to mentor and groom leaders on a daily basis and we’d like to hear how you view leadership?

Mukundh Parthasarathy

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The number one rule in sales is not to sell….

Certainly is puzzling, but let me share my experiences and thoughts on this rule.

I remember my very first active role in working on a major new business development activity with a very large international airline. I never thought that I had the qualities of a salesperson. Growing up in a family of teachers and engineers, I picked up qualities such as paying attention to details and learning new things. Maybe that is what made me into a Boolean person. I saw things as black and white and expected data and substantiation for everything I did in my life. I also had a misconception about sales that it is all about relationships and what you sell (price, value, and quality of the product).  My first experience simply changed a lot of my perceptions and understanding about sales and made me believe in myself. It fueled my confidence and gave me the torque and momentum to excel in winning the confidence of the customer and the by-product happens to be closing a sale.  I learnt that the number one rule in sales is not to sell or not come out as trying to sell.  This certainly holds true at least in the business we at Revenue Technology Services are in.

Any text book or authority on sales will probably tell you that closing a sale or wining a deal depends on a number of factors such as price, value, product quality, service around it, and brand – in no particular order. While these are very important, all these things being equal, in my experience the key factor that pushes customers over the edge to say ‘YES’ is trust (a combination of integrity, knowledge,  and expertise).  I have walked into several Request for Proposal (RFP) response presentations and have experienced something interesting.  People warm up to you very quickly the moment they realize that you know what you are talking about, the confidence you have, and your ability to tell the truth about what you/your company/product can or cannot do. In other words, selling happens in a very subtle way in my opinion.  That is probably why many companies today don’t have titles in business cards that read as VP-Sales or Director of Sales.  They call themselves VP - Business Development or Business Counselor.

By no means am I downplaying other attributes and factors associated with winning a deal. But my experience overwhelmingly shows that integrity, knowledge, and confidence creates trust which leads to a feeling of partnership and eventually results in winning a new customer and retaining an existing customer.  I personally believe in the above philosophy and our people at Revenue Technology Services embrace this as well as they work with our current and future customers.

I am sure you have your own perceptions and opinions about this idea. And you will agree that there is no single formula of success.  I welcome your  thoughts and feedback on what you consider your number one rule when selling.

Raja Kasilingam

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Airport Experience

Summer is fast approaching and along with the warm sunshine, the cold drinks, and barbeque also come vacation plans for many of us. While road trips are fun or so I have heard, I like flying to my destination. In my opinion, there is something special about driving up to an airport that doesn’t match the excitement of a road trip.

Come summer time, airports get busier than usual. The check-in line extends out as long as the one when the first In-N-Out Burger opened up here in Dallas. The security line is loaded with a fair bit of tension…take off my shoes? Not if you’re 12 and under. Take your jacket off? Not if you’re 65 and older. “Laptops need to be taken out please!” Somehow even the “please” doesn’t hide the fact that you have just been given an order!

I find it best to travel really light and with just a personal carry on. Life is so much easier for the 20 minutes that you have to spend going through check-in and security (DFW International airport has spoilt me! I realize that it is much longer at other airports.) The excitement, nervousness, and anxiety of getting past these gates is enough for me to head to the nearest bar to relax before getting on a flight.

Once past check-in and security, I enjoy walking around the airport to look at the stores and checking out the eateries. More than the obvious though, my favorite thing is to people-watch. I like to sit down in a spot from where I can watch the pedestrian traffic and look at all the different travelers. Have you ever caught yourself observing fellow passengers and wonder what their story is? Like why is a certain passenger walking the length of an airport in such high heels when clearly they were meant for a night out?! Or why is someone dressed to the nines, hat and all? Where are they planning to go straight from a flight? My favorite though are the moms traveling with their precious cargo. I am a mom of 2 amazing kiddos myself and have been lucky that they have been great travelers. I try to analyze those ‘calm’ moms who seem to have it together with kids less than 5 years of age (that’s my cut-off after which I believe kids travel better). I watch intently as to what they are doing right (read brilliantly) to have their children stay calm and composed and sometimes even enjoy being at the airport. Some airports are definitely kid friendly (like the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam) but a lot of them aren’t yet.

Another interesting observation is the variety of books I see people reading. Next to a library or a book store, watching people with their different reading material is a great place to add to your reading list!

Traveling can be a source of stress, especially the packing and unpacking but the airport experience definitely makes it worth the effort.

What are some of your fun airport experiences/observations? Do you have a favorite airport that makes your airport experience enjoyable?

Charmi Ramchandani

Account Manager

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Are you satisfied with what most companies refer to as ‘Customer Satisfaction’?

Every company uses the catch phrase ‘Customer Satisfaction’.  After all, which company can hope to market their solution and get any traction in the marketplace without adhering to this buzz word as one of the core tenets of their offering. Though companies mean well and most of them actually strive to have client satisfaction as a goal, it is debatable as to how highly on their list they are willing to place this particular aspect of their service. Unless you live on Planet Utopia, the possibility of getting a bug free and totally business compliant solution is only a pipe dream.  However in the real world, Mr. Murphy does tend to be hyper active when and where you least expect him to and how the vendor responds to these unexpected and often unpleasant circumstances is what ultimately determines the failure or success of a project. As the saying goes, life is not about the challenges that you face but about how you face up to those challenges.

Client satisfaction taken in the literal robotic sense devoid of any human sentiment can be measured in hard cold statistics that provide a seemingly irrefutable scorecard on the number of issues that have failed or not working as they were supposed to. However a mere scorecard cannot really capture the intangibles,  as it does not reflect deadlines missed due to inaccurate or incomplete requirements, mission creep and other delays caused by acts of God.

Though customers obviously expect on-time and under budget deliverables, in the unfortunate instances when this is not possible, it is the attitude and approach of the vendor in dealing with these challenges that often times mould the reaction of the client. In the spirit of transparency, if the vendor discloses the challenges and outlines the potential pitfalls as the project progresses, that ensures that the client gains a valuable appreciation of the nuances of the project and at the same time helps calibrate their expectations. This is a much more preferred approach than working in a vacuum with minimal periodic or insightful updates creating a false feeling of comfort on the client’s side which gets disturbed rudely when details of an unexpected unsatisfactory outcome are disclosed at the last minute.

Those kinds of approaches will understandably result in strong backlash and is at the core of customer dissatisfaction.  Honest communication lines need to be open between the vendor and the client in order to achieve any semblance of customer satisfaction. Trust is an incredibly core tenet of the client vendor relationship and that is something that has to be earned from day 1 and is obviously not an attribute that can be taken for granted at the outset of any client vendor engagement.  I have personally seen cases where a relatively major adverse impact on a project was met with a reasonable response from the client as they realized that the outcome was in spite of the vendor putting in their best efforts due to a rapport developed between the vendor and the client. Conversely relatively minor issues have been blown out of proportion by clients owing to a toxic client vendor relationship.

The ultimate measure of customer satisfaction is typically gauged by how likely the vendor is willing to put his or her reputation on the line and recommending the solution to his or her peers.  That perception on the client side is shaped obviously by the merits of a solution and it’s execution but what a lot of vendors fail to realize is building trust and rapport through a human connection with the client is hugely important. Ultimately a great solution is not just one that has the most bells and whistles but also that which places a lot of importance on the intangibles involving inter-personal relationships.

We at RTS are proud to proclaim that our client services team has won multiple acclaims around the globe not just in terms of being subject matter experts in the revenue management domain but by nurturing relationships with clients through constant, courteous and consistent communication.  Rather than engaging in typical client-vendor relationships, we strongly believe that working with clients as partners goes a long way in smooth project management and enhanced customer satisfaction. We realize that you do not treat your passengers like mere statistics and we likewise view our clients as much more than just a number.

Please let us know what factors influence the satisfaction levels that you feel with your products. If you are thinking about a revenue management or pricing solution, we invite you to consider us and experience the award winning RTS customer service that a number of our existing clients can attest to.

Pradeep Bandla
VP, Passenger Solutions

Friday, April 11, 2014

RTS Press Release - Brittany Ferries selects RTS CargoProfitOpt

Revenue Technology Services (RTS) is pleased to announce that Brittany Ferries Freight division has selected RTS CargoProfitOpt as the solution to meet its freight revenue management requirements. Once implemented, this will be the ferry industry’s first such solution. With this win, RTS adds to its list of several firsts in its long history of 32 years; first passenger revenue management solution developed for Republic Airways, first cargo price optimization solution for Virgin Atlantic Cargo, and now the first revenue management solution for the freight ferry market for Brittany Ferries.

This also reiterates the thought leadership shown by both the companies to shake the status quo and make significant improvements to how freight is managed in the industry.

The freight revenue management solution will support capacity forecasting, show up rate forecasting, demand forecasting, bid pricing, and customer value components that will help Brittany Ferries to maximize their profits.

This win also strengthens the relationship and long standing partnership between the two companies over the years. Brittany Ferries already uses RTS ProfitOpt, our passenger revenue management solution.

Simon Wagstaff, Group Freight Director, commented At Brittany Ferries, we have long been convinced of the potential of a reliable system of revenue management for our freight business. RTS has always exhibited thought leadership in data analytics, revenue management, and pricing .The choice of RTS as our partner for this project was a very straightforward one, given the existing relationship between our two companies and the trust and confidence that has been built up since the introduction of their revenue management system on the passenger side of our business. We have complete confidence in their ability to deliver the system that we need and look forward to working closely with RTS in the long term.”

Raja Kasilingam, President and COO at RTS, "Revenue Technology Services is committed to making positive changes to the freight ferry automation world. We are delighted to add this product to the industry-leading suite of products we offer to the market place, all designed to help companies optimally market and sell their product, operate efficiently, and to better serve their customers.” Mukundh Parthasarathy, Vice President of Cargo solutions for Revenue Technology Services chimed in, “To have the world’s first freight revenue management solution developed for Brittany Ferries is a huge achievement for our cargo suite. Adding to this, we are the only company to have an integrated freight revenue management and passenger revenue management solution.”

The first phase of the project is scheduled to go live in the second quarter of 2014 that includes capacity management modules.

Alan Wayne, the project manager for this endeavour and also the manager of the passenger revenue management practice at Brittany Ferries commented, “The last couple of months have seen a successful start to the project. The nature of developing an integrated passenger and freight revenue management system has thrown up some interesting challenges that both Brittany Ferries and RTS are rising to. If we continue to progress in the same fashion we will have no problems hitting our Phase 1 go-live target. “

About RTS

Revenue Technology Services is a worldwide provider of profit enhancing revenue management and pricing software solutions for passenger and cargo, consulting services, and IT services for travel, transportation and logistics industries. RTS is headquartered in Dallas, Texas with offices in UK and South Africa and a development centre in IT Park in Chandigarh, India. For additional information, visit or contact or +1-972-573-1600

About Brittany Ferries
Founded in 1972 by proud Breton Alexis Gourvennec and a group of fellow Breton farmers wanting to export their cauliflowers and artichokes to the UK, Brittany Ferries is now the leading maritime carrier on the western and central channel. Gourvennec formed the company, formerly known as Armement Bretagne-Angleterre-Irelande, or B.A.I. for short, which was officially born on a bleak New Year's Day in 1973 with French, British and Breton flags flying and a choir singing carols. With Britain's entry into the Common Market in 1973, Gourvennec saw his chance to end the geographical isolation of Brittany. Realising the quickest route to this new market would be across the western channel to Plymouth, he contacted several large shipping companies to no avail and began setting up his own company by purchasing a freighter, the Kerisnel, named after a small Breton village famous for its cauliflowers - with the Breton farmers who are still the company's main shareholders today.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I mentioned a few times previously where blog ideas seem to appear at random, depending on what is happening. Today was no different! Having covered the “People” and “Processes” part of our catchphrase, the only item remaining (before I start the loop again), is technology. I am, at heart, a geek. Granted, a weird geek, in that I like things like off road driving, fixing cars and mechanics, playing hard rock guitar, household repairs and various other “non-geek” pursuits.

But I have to tell you, I like technology. Not the type where I need an IT degree to be able to fix a car engine, but that type which makes our lives easier. The type which allows us to work around the world, cater for staff and clients in multiple time zones, and still maintain a reasonable work/life balance.

I live in the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town. From a convenience perspective, it is NOT in the U.S.A., so we have to deal with businesses, shops and shopping centers who all tend to keep the same working hours. None of this 10 PM visit to the PC shops for parts. If I need to meet with someone, it needs to be during what would be my working day. So I need to borrow some time.

Additionally, our team is based around the world. Our India team’s day starts 3 ½ hours before mine. Our US team’s day starts pretty much as our sun goes down. When I am heading off to meet Mr. Sandman, they are heading towards afternoon tea time.

And in today’s connected world, people for the most part want answers NOW.

Technology can be a great enabler. Nipping out this morning to meet my insurance guy, an email comes through from a European client with a query. I can log this remotely, request a response from someone on our technical team in India, and they can investigate. The investigation is done remotely, and I get the feedback to the client, all within about 15 minutes. And this is done whilst I am stuck in traffic (one of the few Cape Town downsides), albeit with a spectacular view of the surfers.

This afternoon, after various calls, including conference calls with our full scattered team, I will head out slightly early to help coach my 3 sons at gymnastics. But this will be secure in the knowledge that if anything urgent arises, there is a pretty good chance that it can be resolved without me needing to leave the floor.

Later, after dinner and some time with the family, I can still sit down, vegetate a little in front of the TV, but at the same time I can review and respond to other requests, complete some admin, get appointments set up and generally continue being productive.

Similar technology allows clients to access hosted systems (both ours and others) remotely, offering the possibilities of similar flexibility. The abundance of online tools for meetings, video conferencing, screen sharing allows us to interact with clients without the added cost of travel, and provides much quicker resolution.

For those of us who grew up with token ring networking, Unix, DOS networking, green screens, and dumb terminals all requiring some form of hard connections or locations, technology truly can be miraculous. The biggest challenge I personally face is knowing when to switch off!

So any unhealthy work/life balance is not the fault of technology, but purely down to my human failings J

Let us know how you use, or would like to use, technology to enrich your lives.

Jason Codd
Vice President - Services

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Recruiting the next "Super Star"

As I was reading Thomas L.Friedman’s NY Times article, ‘ How to get a job at Google’ (, a fantastic read by the way, I had a simple question to my colleagues in the travel and transportation community – when you look to expand your team, do you hire or do you recruit?

This is not a trick I started googling as I thought there was a difference between these terms and couldn’t get my mind or words around what exactly was the difference but deep inside knew that this particular difference can take a company to the next level or make it another mediocre run-of-the-mill organization.

Merriam Webster defines ‘Hire’ as


noun \ˈhī(-ə)r\
 payment for labor or personal services :  wages

while ‘Recruit’ is defined as

verb \ri-ˈkrüt\
: to persuade (someone) to join you in some activity or to help you

Though these terms are used interchangeably, most companies make the mistake of hiring a candidate versus recruiting one. While hiring might typically be driven by need like a .Net developer, the act of recruiting shifts the focus on the individual who may or may not have the exact fit or skill sets. The way I see it is if you come across great talent, identify it, welcome them with open arms into your team and tweak / modify your organization accordingly.

These recruited individuals will make a difference. At RTS, we have strived to look for and recruit individuals that fit our culture and possess a winning attitude to make the organization improve by leaps and bounds.

I agree with Google as Mr.Friedman details in his article on the five hiring attributes that Google follows:
·         General cognitive ability
·         Leadership
·         Humility
·         Innate curiosity
·         Ownership

The least important attribute that Google looks for is ‘expertise’. I am not arguing that skill sets, grades, degree don’t matter but most jobs typically are not well defined from roles and responsibilities.

How does one go about recruiting? I kind of keep my eyes and ears open to every individual I talk to from various walks of life. They all can be potential recruits. If I meet someone who is very logical, analytical and curious, a light bulb in my mind comes on as to how can I bring this person into RTS? 

We at RTS have a blue print of who would be a great candidate to work in our environment irrespective of the vertical, or skill set that we are trying to fill in. As long as that person meets those standards, they are in.

This process can be slow but trust me this can work wonders as I have seen major corporations time and again hire individuals either to manage or to meet a job description losing sight of the bigger picture.

Once recruited, the relationship between the organization and the individual should be treated like another relationship. It cannot be taken for granted. The candidate / relationship have to be nurtured with appropriate attention paid to their aspirations, talent and capabilities. As you may well know, our business is still about people. No single individual is indispensable but time and again we have seen that when key people move on, customers do take notice and keep their options open during decision points.

This approach  has made a difference in our organization. We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Mukundh Parthasarathy
VP, Cargo Product Management and Marketing