[Guest article by Satish Kini, committed health-care entrepreneur, Founder Director & Chief Mentor of 21st Century Health Management Solutions, a healthcare firm that provides low cost healthcare solutions. The author was honored with Indira Gandhi Priyadaeshini Award in Nov 2010 for his commitment and perseverance in making healthcare Patient Sensitive, Accessible, Available and Affordable through a holistic improvement in People, Processes & Technologies. In a 3 part series, Satish shares his journey of starting like any other IITian and dreaming to move up the corporate ladder, till the calling came.][Excerpts from the first part : I must remind you that the early 80s were the license raj days. There was very little an inexperienced IIT / MBA could do by himself in order to make any impact on the society at large. Many MBAs took cushy jobs with the foreign banks or the MNCs. They sold financial products, toothpaste, soaps and cigarettes. Some joined engineering companies like L&T and Telco. However, most (i.e. 80%) of my IIT batch-mates went abroad in order to make their fortunes. But, I felt compelled to stay back. My dreams were linked to India and Indians.]
Commitment to customer and respect for individual were two of IBM’s core beliefs that IDM genuinely practiced. For this, I am grateful to Dr OP Mehra, the founder MD of IDM. IDM ethos resonated well with my beliefs. IDM was like a real life business school for me to test my ideas and my holistic approach to serve customer needs and build relationships based on trust & competence. Not only did I get full freedom to try my ideas but I was encouraged and recognized. It proved two things which I maintain till this day.
There was no dearth of fair customers in India who are looking for partners they could trust and depend on. And there was no dearth of passionate people who can be truly committed and dedicated to a vision – provided you could earn their trust, respect and commitment. You could do so only by walking the talk; by leading from the front and by being uncompromising on your values but flexible enough to accommodate different views and styles. I took less than 7 years to rise from the rank of a Management Trainee to become the Corporate Strategy Head in IDM. However, this was too good to last. After the IDM IPO, there were rifts at the board level – mostly driven by personal egos. Petty politics resulted in the sale of IDM in 1989. It was time for me to move on.
That was turning point No 2 in my life. The choice was to continue going up the corporate spiral or break out. I broke out. I founded Trust-House Management Consultants in 1990. Trust has always played an important role in my life – trust in myself, my destiny and my guardian angel. Give trust to get trust. We defined THC management expertise – “From guiding big & small companies on Business
Transformation Strategies, Business Process Re-engineering, and Productivity & Cost management, Customer Relationship Management, to facilitating ERP adoption through Change Management and Employee empowerment.” We practiced what we preached.
The 90s was a very exciting decade for me and for 7-8 young consultants/ trainees at Trust-House. It was very interesting to see that many of our ideas on organizational structures, business processes, roles and accountability and empowerment were incorporated in some way or other in world class ERPs like SAP, Oracle, BaaN, and QAD . It was fulfilling to witness dramatic win-win-win situations for the company, its employees and for its customers. From large corporations like Mafatlals, Piramals, Godrej Soaps, HLL, Ford-Mahindra etc, to SMEs like Nitco Tiles, Virgo Engineers, Insyst Corp, Comptel; and even to unconventional setups like ABCL & Nahar Builders.
It was very satisfying to see our clients, especially the SMEs, grow to become large listed companies. By the turn of century, corporate India was well on its way to stake its claim in world order. In an article in EcoTimes I had written in 1990, I had predicted that IT software exports would touch 10,000 crores by 2000. In March 2001, it crossed 12,000 crores!
The IT/ITES boom, the banking & telecom revolution of the 90s was dramatically changing lives in India. I had a ringside seat. Almost all sectors of urban India were in transformation mode. Manufacturing, Retail, Travel, Entertainment, Real Estate , and even Education and Governance to some extent. But the healthcare sector (especially the service providers) in India seemed to be in a time warp. Unlike the ERPs, India evoked no interest among the big US / European based healthcare information system vendors. The reason was obvious. Indian Healthcare providers were not organized and structured enough to take undertake HIS implementation in the way Indian corporations adopted ERPs in the 90s. In other words, there was no money to be made in the provision of Healthcare IT solutions in India.
Most Indian companies in the IT services saw it as a hopeless business case to try and build HIS solutions for Indian Hospitals. I looked at things differently. Having seen how world class ERPs had been adapted for Indian use, I saw it as an opportunity. An Indian HIS incorporating best practices not only for India but for other English speaking parts of the world was a great India according to me. I also felt that that was the chance I was looking for – an opportunity to make a difference. I felt that perhaps that was the reason destiny had held me back in India.
That was turning point No 3! (To be continued)