Joe Toste (00:15):
You're listening to the TechTables podcast, a weekly Q and A podcast, dedicated to interviewing industry leaders from across the world, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies, mixing it up each week with topics ranging from design and product innovation to IOT and industry 4.0, let's do this.
Joe Toste (00:34):
We're back for another week in the world of TechTables with me, Joe Toste. I'd love to connect with you behind the scenes on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. There, you could even message me questions for future guests coming on the show. Today, we're going to shift our focus to the digitization of retail grocery chains with two ex CIO previously at Vallarta Supermarkets, and now at Cardenas Markets, Prabash Coswatte. And today's episode's a special one, I actually drove down to LA to meet Prabash on a rainy day, I think the day before Christmas Eve, to thank him and his team, and that's actually where we recorded this client testimonial. I liked it so much, I repurposed it into today's podcast. I thought the audio format would be really, really great. If you prefer the video format, we have it up on Nagarros YouTube page, under the Client Speak section. The video is probably actually maybe a little bit better than the recording, Prabash is wearing a really great pink button up. So if you prefer video, head over to the Client Speak section on the Nagarros YouTube page.
Joe Toste (01:27):
Huge thank you to Prabash for taking the time to meet with me last December, but that's quite enough from me. Without further ado, I'm thrilled to welcome Prabash Coswatte, to chat all things retail digitization, BI, and digital transformation.
Joe Toste (01:41):
Hey, awesome. Okay. So we're back. Prabash, tell us who you are, your background and what it's like to be a CIO on a day-to-day basis, on the retail side.
Prabash Coswatte (01:50):
My name is Prabash Coswatte. I've been a CIO for the last five years. I started out my career in consulting and found my way into retail, been in retail for close to 15 plus years now, but overall IT for about 20 years. Being a CIO, especially in retail, is exciting. It's a very dynamic time right now with the digitization of grocery and retail as a whole. We have everybody from Amazon to Target, to Walmart, jumping into the digital age and forcing a lot of companies to adapt and be agile, and that's making technology more and more relevant and more important in grocery as a whole.
Joe Toste (02:39):
That's great Prabash. And so where did you start your search for Nagarro?
Prabash Coswatte (02:46):
I've actually had the experience of working with Nagarro twice in my career. The first time was when I was at 99 Cents Only Stores, we worked for a short stint and I was really impressed with the quality of the resources there. So when it came time at Vallarta supermarkets for looking for an offshore partner that had offshore presence, as well as some onshore presence, with BI experience, it was a no-brainer for me to add Nagarro to the shortlist of consulting firms.
Joe Toste (03:18):
And when it comes to the Nagarro, there's a lot of different services out there, what made us really stand out from some of the other options that you explored?
Prabash Coswatte (03:25):
So I would say probably two reasons. One is the knowledgeable resources that you guys had. So we were specifically looking to develop a kind of a BI strategy. So first part was kind of establishing, "Hey, what BI tool works for us?" And then the second part of it was going to be around, "Okay, now the implementations roll out." So when we looked at saying, "Who has that kind of experience that we could leverage?" [inaudible 00:03:52] resources stood out. The second part of it was the attention, sometimes when you go with larger consulting firms, you don't get the attention you need as a smaller retailer, we were a $1.2 billion retailer, and didn't have the attention. It would have been harder to get attention when you have other consulting firms that are much larger, dealing with bigger companies. But with Nagarro, we felt like we were able to get quality resources and didn't have to fight for those resources as hard as you would with some of the consulting firms that I've had experience with in the past.
Joe Toste (04:28):
And what was the obstacle or obstacles that almost prevented you from working with Nagarro? It's such a great question. Just to touch upon previously, so pre COVID, a lot of times we wanted people sitting in the office and we were unsure of the remote and distributed work forms and factors and how that was all going to play together, but COVID has definitely radically transformed this. And so I just really like your answer to this. So let's dive in.
Prabash Coswatte (04:56):
Well, it's kind of an organizational change management, would be probably the best way to describe it. I think it's the company, before has never dealt with a kind of offshore partner. They've always kind of worked with smaller independents, maybe sometimes to do a consulting work. And that was a pretty big leap in kind of building that trust within the leadership group to kind of say, "This is the right path to go. Not only is it the right path because it's the right resource with skillset, but it's also cost efficient." That made a lot of sense, but it's kind of an initial leap and that's a leap for a lot of people who have never done that. And we were one of those organizations that have never dealt with an offshore consulting company, that had kind of offshore consulting experiences, [inaudible 00:05:45].
Joe Toste (05:46):
And what made you happiest about working with Nagarro
Prabash Coswatte (05:50):
I would say the people. Right? I think the folks that we dealt with eventually became kind of one with our team, which is the goal for most consulting firms. So you want to be an extension rather than... You don't want to an us versus them, and there was no us versus them. Definitely probably a year into the relationship, it was one team, we would have early morning Stata calls. The teams would collaborate using collaboration software that folks offshore became an extension, so much so that we actually almost had no on-premise presence. So we just had a complete offshore team because we just had that chemistry and the relationship built with the folks there. So that part was probably the best part about the relationship.
Joe Toste (06:36):
What's the main reason that you would recommend our services, Prabash?
Prabash Coswatte (06:40):
It's definitely kind of going back to my original point of, the right fit. I actually have found that while in the Nagarro is a large global company, that you do get a very personal client relationship attention. And the culture for me is a good fit. For me and the organizations that I personally work with, have a more relaxed but goal-driven culture, and I felt like in the last two or three organizations that I've worked with, that Nagarro has also kind of embodied similar characteristics where, the work is important, we're going to get the work done, we're also going to enjoy our way, along the way. And so I think for me, the cultural fit is a really big part of it. And I really feel like Nagarro has the right talent and the culture to blend with organizations that I personally like to be a part of.
Joe Toste (07:39):
That's really great. And what would you tell someone who's considering the Nagarro as a potential partner? I know when we were talking, obviously the team is a huge factor, especially in your own leadership that you care about as far as retention of the team and since we're really just one big, big family, touch upon the the low churn and the client centric and the caring culture that Nagarro brings.
Prabash Coswatte (08:03):
It has to be into consideration, right? I know usually it's easy to go with other, bigger name companies and Nagarros probably not as well known, but I think there's a lot of advantages and a lot of skillsets that come with it. I think the biggest thing that I have found beneficial with Nagarro was retention. The folks that I dealt with for three years, most of that team remained the same. And in my past, when I've worked with other consulting firms, a lot of churn would happen and you would get different resources. That's important. So if you're looking for a long-term consulting partner, as an extension of your team, Nagarro is absolutely a strong choice and you'd be making a mistake if you overlook.
Joe Toste (08:48):
That's so great. Anything else that you'd like to add or comment on about Nagarro? I know we have a team that you really, really liked, COEs, the Centers of Excellence, teams that can come alongside CIO's if they don't have those folks in house to really provide a larger group of people to help. Tell us about that.
Prabash Coswatte (09:09):
To me, it feels like a company that puts people and their own employees first, and that shows in the people and their attitude. Right? And for me, that matters because you are investing in people when you go outside and get a consulting firm to work with you. And they also have, the part that I didn't touch on, is the COEs, like the Center of Excellence. That also helps when maybe the core group of people that you're dealing with don't have the experience, that they can even reach out to a larger group of people and get that experience and knowledge. So I would say, I think probably those are the two additional things that I didn't mention before.
Joe Toste (09:46):
That's so great. And Prabash, I believe you hang out on LinkedIn, so make sure to follow Prabash on LinkedIn. And obviously you can find me on LinkedIn, too. Thank you so much, Prabash, for coming on TechTables, appreciate the time.
Joe Toste (10:00):
If you're interested in seeing what Nagarro, a high-end technology solutions company to some of the world's leading organizations, can do for your business, you can email Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org, J-O-E dot T-O-S-T-E @nagarro.com, or message Joe on LinkedIn. For all information on Nagarro checkout nagorro.com, that's N-A-G-A-R-R-O.com. You've been listening to the TechTables podcast. To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you have an iPhone we'd love for you to open the Apple Podcast app and leave a review. Thank you so much for listening. To catch more TechTables episodes, you can go to techtablespodcast.com. And to learn more about our sponsor, please visit nagarro.com, that's N-A-G-A-R-R-O.com. And of course you can find Joe Toste, your podcast host, on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. That's Joe Toste, T-O-S-T-E. Thanks for listening.