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Published on: Jan. 11, 2021, 3:55 p.m.
Inspira’s digital transformation
  • Prakash, Vishal and Chetan: gearing up for today’s needs and tomorrow’s challenges; Photo: Bonaventure Chedda

By Lancelot Joseph. Executive Editor, Business India

“Data leaks due to internal vulnerabilities have become common in India, especially in the last two years,” explains Saurabh Sharma, senior security researcher (GReAT), Kaspersky (APAC). “Enterprises and institutions have begun to understand the importance of having a strong security framework to save them from an external attack by a cybercriminal. However, they tend to overlook the internal vulnerabilities that can prove to be very damaging to their reputation and business if exploited by the bad guys.”

“Data storage and protection has turned to be a major concern for a nation like ours that strives to grow as a digital economy,” adds Sharma. “It is high time that organisations start taking the data protection issue seriously and stay aware of not just the external threats but also the internal potential vulnerabilities to avoid them from being exploited.

Against this backdrop, Inspira Enterprise India Private Ltd (IEIPL), a global end-to-end IT solution provider, has created capabilities through early investments in technology products and solutions. Headquartered in Mumbai, this Rs787 crore (March 2020) entity is into cyber security, block-chain, data analytics & business intelligence, cloud and IoT, to name a few. Inspira’s expertise lies in cyber security, networking & data centre, smart solutions that comprises smart city solutions, ITMS & digital healthcare, and ANKIOS, a single platform exclusively dedicated to next-gen digital transformation. 

From commencing as an Indian start-up in 2009, to settling satellite offices pan India, in the past 12 years, Inspira has expanded its business across countries like Singapore, Sri Lanka, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kenya, Ethiopia and the US. The company’s core vision is to provide high quality, cost-efficient and highly secured IT solutions that enable the convergence of applications and emerging technologies for e-governance, BFSI, and enterprises.

“Inspira’s exponential growth over the years can primarily be attributed to our collective ability to articulate a clear vision and strategy of where the organisation is going, which is differentiated and sustainable,” explains Prakash Jain, 70, chairman, IEIPL. “Its ability to build a great team includes developing the team, as also recruiting and periodically changing it. Its culture has always been to build a great enterprise. And, last, but most important now, is our ability to communicate to all of our constituencies – each of the elements I have talked about.” Jain has seen the company’s journey from Rs20 crore to Rs780 crore-plus in 12 years.

A visionary, Jain’s goal is to revolutionise digital transformation by taking the current challenges head-on and envisaging possibilities with his vast experience. As a first-generation businessman, Jain graduated from NY Polytechnic with an MSc in computer science in 1973 and has since then established himself as an authority on the subject with a prolific career spanning over 33 years, 16 of which were in the US with internationally reputed companies like Xerox, DEC and Data General. Not resting on his past laurels, he continues to scale new peaks by leading IEIPL’s multi-disciplined teams to create a thriving, client-first company geared up for today’s needs and tomorrow’s challenges.

In 1990, Jain returned to India and started managed network services, which were providing voice, video and data. “If you look at the earlier BPO’s banks, they wanted to be connected with different countries,” adds Chetan Jain, 43, director, IEIPL, who came back to India in 2000. “Because voice was travelling, data was travelling, video was travelling, we were managing those entire links. Both from the India end, as also the global end, we were present with our partner in about 70 countries, managing the entire pipe. Wipro’s offices were present in 50-odd countries and we were able to connect and manage their entire network. That business got acquired by British Telecom from us in 2007.”

Chetan, the eldest son of Jain, is responsible for projecting the company into the future. An engineering graduate from Tufts University, he began his working career with Sumitomo Bank. Chetan oversees the banking and enterprise team, with overall strategy and go-to-market approaches at IEIPL. He also handles the company’s investment portfolio, ensuring diversity and profitability. In the past 12 years, as a firm believer in technology, he recognises that it is the force propelling businesses forward. He has worked for a little more than a decade with i2i Telesource, an organisation in telecom technology, specifically mobile VAS and telecom services.

In November 2020, Inspira acquired SmartCirqls Infotech’s Splunk business to strengthen its capability in cyber security and big data analytics. Acquiring the analytics business unit from SmartCirqls will consolidate Inspira’s hold in the industry by extending its capability beyond security operations into advanced security analytics and automation. 

“The acquisition of SmartCirqls Infotech’s analytics capability will help us consolidate our leadership position in the cybersecurity and big data space,” says Manoj Kanodia, CEO, Inspira. “This acquisition is in line with our vision to become a global player, while accelerating our services and revenue growth. It will enhance our capabilities on the Splunk platform, in addition to allowing us to set up and manage large cyber-security and IT operations and transformation projects across the globe.” Kanodia, a start-up expert with more than 30 years’ multi-domain experience, has attained comprehensive exposure in strategising growth across IT & Telecom service providers. Prior to Inspira, he was associated with British Telecom India, AT&T, TELSTRA V-COMM and Tata Telecom in various capacities.

Enhancing capabilities

“The acquisition will augment our capabilities to deliver services on Data Analytics (to a whole lot of things), empowering our customers to thrive in their data-enabled digital transformation journey,” explains Chetan. “That will enhance our capability in IT, DevOps, and security, enabling us to deliver transformation services analysing data from any source and on any timescale to provide customised insights. This acquisition enhances our ability to provide analytics for various business requirements, like fraud & operational analytics for BFSI, operational analytics for manufacturing in oil & gas, as also power; integrated IT operations, security operations monitoring across multiple uses, especially cloud infrastructure.”

“We are excited about becoming a part of Inspira Enterprise,” affirms Vishal Malhotra, COO, SmartCirqls Infotech. “We have long envisioned expanding our footprint across global regions, and Inspira’s reach, coupled with SmartCirqls’ delivery capability on Splunk, will truly allow us to put this larger vision into practice. The capability we have built over these last few years, and the strong partnership with Splunk will attain its full potential on a global scale. We will also be able to tap into Inspira’s pool of broader services to provide our existing customers with managed service offerings.” 

“Actually, in 2009, as father and sons, we started Inspira Enterprise to stay in the networking space for banks, enterprises and large public sectors,” says Vishal Jain, 37, director, IEIPL and younger brother of Chetan. “Of course, enterprise led to security. About six to seven years ago, we went into cyber security. We were early movers in cyber security.”

Vishal holds an electrical engineering degree from the University of Michigan and has done his IB from UWC South East Asia, Singapore. He has spent more than a decade in Inspira Enterprise and is responsible for strategic initiatives to expand the business in South East Asia, in the government and healthcare sectors. At Inspira Enterprise, he is responsible for driving large strategic business deals and generating new business avenues. 

Today, Prakash Jain and his two sons lead the team of 650 professionals from diverse backgrounds. Inspira was awarded the ‘Great Place to Work’ for three years in a row. “We recognise that employees are the bedrock of our success and continuously strive to better their practices and enhance employee experience. The company is ISO, CMMI Level 5 certified and is leading the digital transformation of companies in India and across the globe,” says Chetan, playing a role in serving more than 200 financial institutions and enterprises across banking, healthcare, ecommerce, FMCH, manufacturing and retail. “We have helped top-notch banks reshape IT, establish SoC and digital channels, thus improving their overall risk management and operational efficiencies and consequently helping organisations in their digital transformation journey,” adds Vishal.

“We look forward to Inspira as a long-term business partner,” observes Avinash Velhal, group CIO-APAC, India & the Middle East, VP, Head IT & Process, Atos International. “We really appreciate their depth of understanding of technology, ‘can do’ attitude and the people, especially the top management involvement in getting consistent delivery and support.”

“In fact, they were basically a set of people who are knowledgeable, eager to help and the relations are great,” says Sam Abraham, Chief Information Security Officer, Royal Sundaram General Insurance.

Investing in newer technologies

Over the years, Inspira has delivered state-of-the-art security operation centres for next-gen security products and new-age technologies like cloud and big data for advanced analytics designed for several customers across sectors. “So, we moved from various models. It’s so evolving, to be ahead of the curve. We were able to do that, because every time we kept on investing in newer technologies, and in people. What people talk about, you know, digital transformation, I think we truly are there now,” points out Chetan.

“So, we have bucketed ourselves in what we call four centres of excellence,” he adds. “Cyber security is the largest portfolio we have and it plays an important part, contributing 50 per cent of the revenues. Next comes cloud.” Chetan has built a TCS campus for Bhopal, the entire connectivity for ONGC, for all their offices across India, both onshore and offshore, growing LAN, as well as WAN connectivity. And from then on, Inspira was able to mature and undertake the largest projects for a data centre in Asia – the SBI data centre in Hyderabad. 

“Cloud is quite massive, it includes not only data storage, but also security; everything put together right, it is a big play. The third is what started off the business – networking. And the fourth is what we call smart solutions. And what we have created is also a brand-new platform called ANKIOS, which actually does big data analytics,” adds Vishal. He acquired a Mumbai-based company called Smart Circle during this time. 

“Networking includes our data centre portfolio, which is a big part of what we are trying to do – virtualising – which is important for all companies because of the work being done from home,” observes Vishal. “Here, you are building the home environment to be as secure as your office environment. A lot of our customers are being able to virtualise their desktops at home. That’s a big part of what our entire offering is – from networking as well as cyber security – because creating that and making sure the environment is as efficient and secure as possible is a big part of our job with customers.”

“Inspira has always been a strong sales-driven entity. This year we have doubled our sales force and we will continue to do so as we work towards global expansion. Year on year, we have achieved 20-25 per cent growth and moving ahead as well we would like to stick to that trend,” says Kanodia.

“Security today is being discussed at the board level. The implications could be far beyond just financial losses. It could be loss of reputation, loss of clients, loss of customers and loss of business-sensitive data; at Inspira, our mission is to create a world class end-to-end security practice. The three pillars of this practice are: best of breed technology; effective and efficient processes; and highly skilled people. In the ever-evolving security threat landscape, we have to keep ourselves relevant,” adds Kanodia.

Talking about competition, there is a high value for software companies, especially after the dependence on digitization it has skyrocketed. There are the likes of Dimension Data, DXE, Paladion, Sify and L&T Infotech, to name a few. “Steady recurring revenue and fast growth have helped us accelerate as a private entity and build value for clients”, says Chetan who is boot strapped and completely private as of today. “But, we are now in the process of raising capital to expand our presence into certain geographies through larger acquisitions”.

Today, industries operate in a more volatile and complex world, enabled by technology. “And technology is bringing a huge transformation in the way we conduct our business. This transformation and new technologies introduce new risks: it’s imperative that you have intelligent, integrated and automated solutions to handle the ever-increasing volume of threats, and threats that can spike at any given point of time,” says Om Ahuja, CTO & chief information security officer, Inspira, looking at the new next gen SoC (Security Operations Centre) at Inspira, that is responding to threats 24x7 through 365 days. 

“Our next-generation-managed security services, access, protect, detect and respond to security events that are happening in your IT environment in real time. Openness, collaboration, continuous learning and innovation, are all principles that allow us to protect the organisation against the continuously changing threat landscape,” adds Ahuja, whose state-of-the-art facility at Sanpada, Navi Mumbai, uses the technology to monitor multiple customer platforms. 

On the overseas front, Inspira has, in the last 24 months, been to the Middle East and Africa. “We are just starting in Saudi Arabia as well as in Kenya and Ethiopia. So, we have got customers right from banks to the largest group there, the Majid Al Futtaim group, which is the equivalent of Tatas in India – they are our customers. We manage the entire cyber security; we have the Dubai Health authority, besides RAK Bank,” says Vishal. He has been looking at both building up greenfield but also acquisitions in the Middle East and Africa, besides looking at opportunities to build their own SoC in those countries. 

“We are a zero-debt company and looking to end this year with a Rs1,000 crore topline, with nearly 50 per cent of revenues coming from cybersecurity and analytics, with the acquisition of SmartCirqls, before looking at the initial public offering of shares,” sums up Vishal.

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