"My definition of success is achieving the desired result. From being a pioneer in video banking solutions 7 years ago to meeting the demand today amidst the pandemic, adopting new ways of innovating technology-based solutions for the world has kept me motivated throughout my career of over half a century in Plant Operations, software and IT sector." – Anil Kastuar
In 2020, while COVID-19 pandemic has created a world of limited physical touch, a start-up established back in 2013 to improve a human touch to the digital business transactions and support customer relationships through the video-based face-to-face transactions, RankTech Solutions ascends with its Off-The-Shelf (OTS) Video based Digital Business Platforms and Professional Services solutions.
Co-founded by Anil P Kastuar and Ranjita Kastuar, Rank Consultancy, a partnership firm turned RankTech Solutions Private Limited is a revolutionary Kolkata based entrepreneurial venture, centred towards delivering smart video digital business solutions in its seven years of existence. Today, amidst the pandemic, RankTech Solutions team delivers to the pain points of the service providers from BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance), healthcare and education sectors.
The CEO Magazine had an exclusive chat with Anil, the tech enthusiast, a seasoned expert with 50+ years of experience and visionary entrepreneur, who incepted the brand with his retirement savings where he shared about his journey, ground-breaking solutions by RankTech Solutions, the brand's response to COVID-19 and many other aspects of the business accompanied by Anupama Kar, AVP – Operations, HR & Strategy:
Anil: A call from IndusInd Bank led to the creation of not only the brand but also the accomplishment of being a pioneer. While we innovated and delivered a solution replacing IVR with Intelligent Routing as response to request by the leading bank to build a video-based solution facilitating face-to-face contact with the clientele and a thorough brainstorming process.
During the process, I realised that internet banking and mobile banking doesn't drive relationships, it only helps the customer in performing transactions. Relationships can only be formed when customers are face-to-face with the service provider. Also, I found the idea of users having to endlessly go on entering numbers while service providers use IVR technology and wait before the user gets the call through to the designated person motivated the creation of something similar but backed with better interface integration.
Our call routing platform with video that allowed users to visually choose the service wanted to be availed, while the time efficient system directed the call to the authorised person, was live by August 2014 and became World' 1st Video Banking Solution. Thus, motivating us to continue delivering video business technology solutions.
Anil: I believe, in this entrepreneurial journey, the areas I have failed at and focused on improving were business development and marketing side due to the core focus on product development as I invested a lot of time, money and effort on product development than sales strategy. Secondly, not bagging the expected number of sales which eventually did not leave a lot of scope of the essential R&D is also an area we lacked at.
However, we have been positively aiming to surmount the challenges. While our Direct Sales & Marketing has been a successful aspect of the start-up in its lifetime, we aim to evolve the partnership strategies for international and national partners to grow.
Anil: We cater to Banking, Financial Services & Insurance (BFSI), Healthcare and Education sectors and each of the segments aim to acquire clientele for their varied solutions and domains. Today, in the COVID-19 scenario, while video-based solutions are the ideal solutions, allowing the service providers to assist customers with their transactions, maintaining customer's exterior and non-physical contact has been RankTech Solution's goal. In the BFSI sector, our claim settlement platform helps 10000 claims to be settled every month by different customers.
In the healthcare sector, we have delivered various solutions including video tele-health solutions to help patients seek care amidst the pandemic. With our CSR initiative of video e-Clinic, we have also helped Dr Paul's Multispeciality Clinic, based in Kolkata, to launch India's First Virtual Doctor Consultation for all Types of Hair & Skin Treatment offering Live Consultations. We have also curated a platform to identify if a patient is suspected with COVID-19 by the doctor. If yes, not only it advises the patient, but also creates an e-prescription signed by the doctor.
Along with these break-throughs in the COVID-19 period, we are planning to launch our online video-based classes powered education technology platform in the near future. While this aims to beat the existing competition by providing a comprehensive business process rendered towards education, it is amongst our humble contributions as a technology leader to Indian society.
Anil: While for the past five years, it has been a challenge to convince people that using video as a medium of communication derives relationships and helps to do business better, amid COVID-19 many brands are seeking these solutions. In terms of technology, the dynamic nature is indeed a core part with technologies like AI, augmented reality and machine learning, which we are integrating with our products while aiming to add other technology as well.
"While people were not initially recognising the capability of digital transformation, the industry has transformed today. Especially in times of COVID-19, it has tremendously impacted how people perceived video-based platforms," added Anupama.
Anil: We are present on online platforms including our website and social media handles on Instagram, LinkedIn, etc, became visible via business vertical magazines and word of mouth by our existing clients. As a part of our model to reach the valuable and prospective target audience, we participate in selective workshops and seminars. We also focus on other key areas like flexible pricing and solutions in sync with the customer's budget and requirements to ensure the extension of our target audience.
Anil: I believe that in five years, video-based business transactions will become the order of the day and we have to transform by adopting emerging technologies in such a manner that it becomes not only simple and secure, but also delivers customers & business expectations. I believe there are a lot of possibilities with technology and "lot" can be an understatement, when it comes to technology reshaping our future.
"Especially the healthcare industry is imbibing the technology at a rapid rate today. In five years, the change in mentality towards digitalisation will create a demand which will be fulfilled by our products," emphasised Anupama.
Anil: The achievements I would like to list as the ones I am most proud of include being the first in the world to deliver mobile video banking and first in the country to conceptualise and deliver video-based business products. The innovation has been ground-breaking. I believe one step ahead, innovating intelligent call routing solutions connecting people face-to-face for business transactions.
Anil: I believe, every engineer has two key responsibilities–customer support and new development in areas of main product development and R&D. At RankTech Solutions, we have offered flexibility to engineers along with opportunities to learn and grow over the years. Being a leader, I have ensured that we continue to have team meetings similar to the time before COVID-19 outbreak and in one such meeting, I found the answer by employees on how they want to be motivated i.e. "the ability to learn new technologies". Along with that I believe, timely payment of salaries is another key area of motivation.
"Motivation can be derived from various factors. Being in the IT sector, the motivation certainly is derived from the scope of learning and its implementation in the product like using technologically advanced tools in the products, finding solutions in the competitive market, are core motivational areas we focus to deliver at," added Anupama.
Anil: I robustly believe, honesty in management, financial integrity, transparency by sales employees and sincere discussions with customers to understand the challenges and offer solutions are some core values we have integrated in our day-to-day management.
Anil: The learnings I adopted from my career is that one should follow a new path, not an off-beaten one. Secondly, focus on your product, but never ignore the business development and marketing strategies. According to the proven strategies in India, out of every 100 start-ups, 80% fail within 24 months due to cash flow problems. Hence, as new ventures, you must maintain break-even cash flow. Last but not the least, have trust in your ability and knowledge along with great confidence in your team.