Sathish N: A Pioneering Business Leader Identifying New Business Opportunities To Drive Organizational Growth

Sathish N: A Pioneering Business Leader Identifying New Business Opportunities To Drive Organizational Growth

Sathish N,Deputy Chief Product Officer

Sathish N

Deputy Chief Product Officer

In an exclusive interview with CEO INSIGHTS, Sathish gives us detailed insights into his journey so far and how he is able to guide Financial Software and Systems towards sustained success in the industry.

Tell us more about your educational back-ground and what inspires you the most to excel?
I hold an engineering degree in Electronics and Communication from Bharathiar University and Executive Management from INSEAD.

However, in addition to my academic qualifications, other critical influences have shaped my professional trajectory. I spent my growing up years in a public sec-tor township. In India’s pre-liberalized economy, they epitomized modern engineering and the residential spaces were a melting pot for vibrant, multi-cultural and cosmopolitan cultures to thrive. I personally believe that provided the foundation to appreciate and respect diverse cultures and instilled liberal and humanistic values. In my later years, I could draw upon that understanding to anticipate customer needs and design products that are customer centric.

Sport has been another influential educational force. And any team sport is a great leveler. Regardless of the player’s background, a unifying goal, and a bond of trust between different players creates a winning team. I played cricket and hockey and lead my school and college teams to many victories. And the one lesson that I learnt early on, success is an outcome of collective contribution and not individual brilliance.

I am passionate about nature and spend any spare time in the wild, photographing and observing the beauty of the wild. As a product designer my innovative thinking has been modelled largely by observing underlying patterns of nature. I am a strong believer in nature-inspired design systems aimed at the development of sustainable products that are beneficial to people, planet, and profit.

Tell us more about your professional journey and how it is helping you in molding the company's operations?
I have been fortunate to have got to work with world class product firms, early on in my career. I have over 25+ years of experience in developing and building-global products. And I have spent a good part of 22 years with two product corporations (SunTec & CITIL/iflex) which built products out of India and successfully launched in multiple global markets, been through with them from launch to growth and hypergrowth phase.

I was part of the CBPG and my first production proving opportunity for our product came when Joe picked me for a large transformation at LTCB (Shinsei Bank) using our flagship product FLEXCUBE in Japan, today this transformation is a Harvard case study.
My experience in Japan helped me understand how you can pack more in less, helped me realize that I had an Overdrive mode and learnt to apply it when required. Since then, I have had multiple opportunities to work with large banks in their core banking transformation journey in UK, US, across EU, APAC and Latin America. The global exposure shaped me better as a professional. I lived and worked out of To-kyo for 5 years, about 3 years in London and 3 years in Copenhagen, where I was managing Nordics and Baltics last before I left Oracle.

Product business is about Customer empathy, thinking ahead for your customer in simplifying their jobs to be done. Knowing your team well, staying connected and over communicating the vision and instilling belief on the vision is the most important aspect

NK, a true product visionary, my mentor now and CEO of SunTec, a niche product company, offeredme a challenging opportunity to grow the business in the EMEA region, way back in 2010. SunTec had great Tier 1 logos and I was tasked to improve adoption by identifying business use cases in specific areas within banking business that demonstrates outcome for our customers and new prospects.

During the next six years from 2010, we grew the business 100% YoY in EMEA for the first 3 years and converted every single opportunity that came in the EMEA region. The success led to me assuming the mantle of responsibility for the company’s global portfolio based out of US. We were very successful in addressing critical problems related to lowering cost of acquisition, delivering exceptional experiences, increasing ROE by increasing fee-based income, plugging revenue leakage, and creating more primary customers.

During the last four years of my stint at Sun-tec, I took over Products and improved the agility on new products pipeline and introduced five new innovative products and raised the benchmark and market value of our existing product stack, took it to cloud and shown great success in the market adoption.

Can you tell us more about your professional journey with Financial Software and Systems and your roles and responsibilities at the company?
I joined Financial Software and Systems 14 months earlier. FSS is a global Paytech, and we work with 150+ customers in 25 countries. The company is on a strong growth trajectory and my remit is to scale our international presence by designing and building world class products for these markets.

As a product executive the focus is always to Build the product right and Build it fast. With a 30, 60, 90-day plan to start, I understood the ‘as is’ organization, and launched an initiative called CPO New Ways of Working (nWOW) to help kick start the transformation to the end target state.

I started off by setting the overall vision for the product organization, encompassing governance and design. The product organization
design was finalized with strategy, PMO, Product Management, Product Marketing, Architecture and Design, Product Engineering and Product Support. The organization structure was thought through with design and innovation at the core of what we do, that’s IP, manufacturing or engineering is a commodity today and can be leveraged on demand. Great product companies practice that. Introduced multiple process frame works to ensure efficient and proper execution. E.g., 4P Framework addressing – people, process, product, and profit; OKR – FAST aligned to the vision and outcome for the year; Innovation governance for mature Product Backlog; Effort allocation model to name a few.

According to you, what are the most important aspects that helped you to achieve success with Financial Software and Systems?
As payments rapidly transform, most established organizations today are faced with challenges related to running existing business as well as innovating at scale in order to remain competitive and reap the benefits of emerging opportunities. A large part of my responsibility entails enabling the organization successfully navigate this transformation and design a world-class product shop way beyond payments.

One of the first activities I undertook, in the first 30 days, was to meet each team member in the product organization. This helped us create an organization-wide skillsets map and identify the RPRJ as recommended by Ram Charan– right person for the right job – aligned to the vision that we wanted to execute. And just as importantly, we have worked to align the organizational CPO structure with a more cross-functional platform-driven—and less siloed—operating model.

Over the last twelve months, we launched several technology initiatives centered around well-defined core design principles - API first to leverage ecosystem play, cloud-native to drive SaaS business growth and more importantly data initiatives to become a mature data-driven products organization. We are also assessing new technologies, ecosystems, and partnerships, in areas such as AI, ML, Blockchain and Big Data that can enhance transformation and spur new opportunities.

Building products has been my passion and the ability to have the business acumen to connect to customer needs is critical for progressive, high-performing product organizations. Product leaders are responsible for defining industry practices by encapsulating the user persona’s needs for that specific job or role within a line of business in a specific industry. And a leading modern product organization needs to have strong product management, product design and product marketing layers that have deep customer understanding and empathy and can intuit and anticipate customer needs. I personally spend a lot of time mentoring these teams to drive a customer-obsessive product design and communication culture.

Sathish N, Deputy Chief Product Officer, Financial Software and Systems
Sathish has been an industry stalwart with immense industry expertise, global experience and his passion to improve on a consistent basis has helped him to scale unprecedented heights in the product business.

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