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Interviews

“Our mission is to simplify lives through great digital experiences”– Ravi Teja, CEO, Robosoft

Ravi Teja, CEO, Robosoft Technologies

The new age definition of doing good business is how engaging and gratifying is the user experience. User experience basically means creating a connection between the machine and its user. Better the connection, better the experience. This week, we interviewed Mr. Ravi Teja, CEO, Robosoft, an organization that believes that technology exists to simplify lives ….and businesses.

Robosoft Technologies Private Limited designs and develops mobile applications. The company helps its customers chart their digital journey and designs human-centric technology solutions to simplify lives of its customers. Founded in a small town in the state of Karnataka -Udupi, the company took huge and quick strides under its strong leadership team and is an established player today. It has bagged various prestigious global awards including Bafta, 2018 CEO World Awards – Gold, Mobile App Development Company of the Year at AWS Mobility Awards, just to name few accomplishments.

Read on as Ravi discusses the challenges faced by the digital services industry today, Robosoft’s ‘GOOB’ approach – go out of the building and live with your customers, trends he foresees in the mobile application development market and their roadmap 2019.

1. With over two decades in software and mobile application development, Robosoft has witnessed landmark changes in technology. How according to you has the app development market evolved during these years?

We are perhaps one of the few companies in the world who has seen such a sea change in technologies and how they impact not just enterprises but the common people. When we started in 1996, Apple was our first customer. The quality standards they demand rubbed off on our values, as we too are obsessed with producing world-class, top quality work even today.

We entered app development as a service in 2008 and in the last 10 years or so we have seen it change millions of lives like no other – virtually every aspect of our lives – consumption of news, services which make our lives easier, banking at our fingertips, entertainment on demand…everything’s changed. And mobile app development and App Stores have been the catalysts.

During the initial years, enterprises were not very clear if they need a mobile app at all and what exactly would be the role. Even consumer-facing mobile apps made by entrepreneurs had a sense of novelty in them – you may recall apps which did nothing but make funny sounds.

So had to educate enterprises on the role of mobile apps or if they need one at all. Over the years, businesses have been built on the strength of the mobile app alone and hence they were closely linked to the very survival of the enterprise.

Recently, we are witnessing a mindset change in enterprises where they see the digital experience (beyond just mobile apps) as a critical element of customer experience. Enterprises in the US are far ahead in this curve as compared to those in India. In this context, getting the digital strategy, design strategy and the right engineering stack becomes very critical.

Earlier it was simply about coding skills. This calls for specialist skills in product strategy, consumer behavior, UI/UX and keeping abreast of the latest tech developments & their relevant usage.

2. You are a strong advocator of enabling digital transformation across industries. What are the technologies that can drive digital transformation across organizations, according to you?

Beyond technologies, we are focused on creating a connected ecosystem where people, businesses and things, are all working together to make business transactions (financial or non-financial) happen. Technologies are just enablers and they keep evolving.  API Management, cloud-native apps, DevOps, Internet of Things and Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) are some of the relevant developments in this context.

3. Digitization has empowered customers by giving them quick information and insight into the product they wish to buy, anywhere, anytime and through any means. Mobile applications play a significant role here by bringing the product closer to the customers. What’s your take on this?

Yes, today consumers are offered an exceptional choice on virtually every product and service they wish to buy thanks to digitization. For enterprises, it has several implications. Consumer expectations keep rising thanks to ever-improving digital experiences. So, if they experience a great taxi aggregator app they expect their bank app to be just as good in terms of user experience. Also, a great app is only a part of the brand experience.

Service brands may offer a well-designed app, but they need to pay attention to the human element too in terms of service fulfillment too. So, in that sense, creating a true omnichannel experience and ‘designing’ the right digital experience & processes is crucial.  I remember reading an article in Forbes, which said, ‘a digital edge exists where digital information and physical resources combine in new ways to create value and revenue’.

4. What are the key parameters enterprises should look for when selecting a digital partner?

I think the need of the hour is to work with a partner who can think through and execute a holistic digital road map. It also calls for a deep understanding of business, customer journey and the role of technology. These things are never static so a digital partner has to evolve with the times and keep up-skilling constantly. So, look for experience, skill sets, the right attitude of being a business partner in growth.

5. What are the biggest challenges faced by the ‘digital services’ industry today?

While the challenges are many, a few important ones would be to do with getting enterprises to see the value in paying a premium and the industry in finding the right talent.  Design and design thinking will play a critical role and can be differentiators for enterprises. They need to recognize that such services come at a price and not seek to bargain for the cheapest price in everything. Digital Service companies have to constantly invest in upgrading their skills and seek to be true business partners in growth.

6. You strongly believe that Design Thinking, if implemented right, has the capacity to bring change across an entire organization. What exactly is design thinking and how is it beneficial for the enterprises?

Design Thinking begins with empathizing with one’s customers – be it external or internal, and their latent needs. That can happen only following ‘GOOB’ – go out of the building and live with your customers.

There are several Design Thinking methods and they all share a common, universal set of traits: Empathy, Iterativeness and Collaborative Approach. So, it helps enterprises solve any kind of problem and help in transformation – be it for business development, administration, operations, finance or marketing.

Suggested reading: “Cutting-edge technology can enhance the guest experience, but nothing can replace the human touch.” – Vikas Chadha, ‎Executive Director and CFO, Berggruen Hotels Pvt Ltd

7. Emotional Engineering plays an important role in delivering a great customer experience. Please comment.

Throughout human history, the best of creations – be it landmarks, literature or art have had a profound emotional impact on us. Similarly, we feel a great digital experience is one which impacts the user emotionally. It could be about the joy of fulfilling a task or reducing anxiety while making a transaction and more.

8. What trends do you see in the next five years in the mobile application development market?

The biggest trend is that mobile application development does not exist in a silo anymore – it is no longer about just coding. The entire process – strategy, design, engineering, and analytics is interconnected and a constant cycle of events.

Since there is so much data available about every digital experience, one can analyze areas of improvement and tweak strategy and design. So, enterprises will seek a long-term partnership with full-service digital experience agencies.

9. What’s new at Robosoft in 2019? Any plans for expansion?

We aim to provide full-service digital solutions with services like advisory.

We are also helping clients understand the value of Design Thinking by not just applying it while creating products for them but also by educating them through our Design Thinking Workshops. Our focus will be to expand our offerings in emerging technologies like Machine Learning, Chatbots, AR/VR, and Blockchain. Our mission is to simplify lives through great digital experiences and we are focused on that.

We are doubling down on our growth in the US. We already have a strong practice there. We are offering an expanded range of services to industries like healthcare, retail, banking & finance in the US, India, and EMEA. We have a strong relationship with many global enterprises and seek to deepen our association with them. We look forward to working with like-minded enterprises who seek long term partners to craft delightful digital experiences.

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