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'Different Cultures Play Key Role In Running Business Operations'
India is fast emerging as a start-up nation and is ranked third largest in the world with more than 5200 startups, creating over 80 thousand jobs
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India is fast emerging as a start-up nation and is ranked third largest in the world with more than 5200 startups, creating over 80 thousand jobs.
Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO of Simplilearn, an online certification training start-up, talks about their US business, cultural differences and e- learning.
Briefly define your scale of operations in the U.S?
US and India are our primary growth markets, contributing to 80 percent of the firm’s revenue[PS1]. 40 percent of our users are from US and the market has been instrumental for our growth in the enterprise training segment too, where we have been partnering with over 30+ Fortune 500 companies across IT/ITes, media and entertainment, FMCG, BFSI, and pharma sectors.
What challenges did you face to establish your business In US and how did you overcome?
It took us sometime to understand the fundamental differences in culture, socio-economic workings and study the market dynamics in detail. In addition, frequent trips of Indian executives from India to USA and vice-versa helped us to stay up to date with changing market trends and consumer preferences. We also faced initial hiccups in finding the right talent for a company that had just set up shop in a new region. However, we were able to overcome it as the market motive acquisition, enterprise business wins, B2C user base, and brand campaigns helped us sustain the momentum to attract talent, and new business.
Apart from consumer behavior, how is running a start-up in the U.S different from running it in India?
Like all companies that are geographically dispersed, cultures vary from market to market and this plays a key factor in running business operations. Our teams in US and India are firmly aligned be it with day-to-day internal communications or running external operations. At the same time, our open communication and transparent culture has allowed our teams to be flexible and versatile while collaborating frequently to solve any hurdle that arises due to the cultural differences. Our team members from US visit India to better understand the organizational culture, interact and work across business functions.
Additionally, USA as an economy readily embraces new offerings and as a result has a much faster rate of adoption than other markets; irrespective of the size of the company or their founders. Consumers in the USA market trust a company based on the quality of their products and services which has not only helped us to gain more customers and grow our company but also build a good reputation among other players.
How does Simplilearn differentiate itself in the US against homegrown platforms?
Our high touch learning model is one of the key differentiators that sets us apart. We’re a digital economy training company and we focus on delivering training that is outcome centric. While content plays a key factor, we partner with global domain leaders to build up-to-date content that is in sync with the current industry requirements. With a blend of online self-learning and instructor led live classrooms, we provide the convenience of anytime, anywhere learning to professionals who are hamstrung for time. All our courses come with hands-on learning through live industry relevant projects and global teaching assistance to help learners when they are stuck in their study paths. All the courses are outcome centric, and by the end of the training our learners are ready to implement the skills acquired on the job and aim at promotions, salary increases, and career shifts.
How is the e-learning industry different in the US? Can you share some trends in upskilling/reskilling and demand for e-learning courses?
The education sector has seen a sea of change due to technological advancements. US has been the front runner in establishing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and we have seen the growing popularity of online courses due to the benefits it offers - affordability, accessibility, flexibility, and the fact that it allows students to take up other courses/jobs alongside.
Educational institutes have been tying up with ed-tech companies to provide online degree programs. US has made a leapfrog to the future where certifications and skill capabilities are being assessed as key parameters for jobs. Individuals and even enterprises are considering online certification programs as a mean to move on to higher job positions with relevant technological competence. This phenomena is now popular in India too.