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Review: Engineered in India by Mohan Reddy is a must for entrepreneurs

Dr Ganesh Natarajan

A “Rags to Riches” narrative or an engineers’ guide to do better engineering for India and the world? Mohan Reddy’s Engineered in India has all the elements of a compelling entrepreneurship tale in the tumultuous periods of India’s own journey from a poor struggling new democracy to a global leader in providing services and products to the world.

The book makes for compelling reading because it recounts the entrepreneurial odyssey of a middle class Indian with all the family pressures and competitive and environment hurdles that many of us have faced in building companies in India with a different “point of view” from the hordes.

What makes the man and the book stand-out is the almost serendipitous building of a range of new services from India – digitization to geospatial services computer aided design and product manufacturing and the willingness to combine an incremental innovation approach to occasional disruptive innovations for key clients. This much needed ambidexterity of approach should be one of the key learnings from the book.

A heartening feature of the story is the approach to “deploying tools instead of throwing bodies at complex problems” that led to the company he founded, Infotech Enterprises (now Cyient) establishing market and opportunity share leadership in many key domains.

The willingness to collaborate with strategic partners who were leaders in their own countries, build intellectual property and add commercial software services to the portfolio to catch up with IT industry peers demonstrates the alacrity with which a true entrepreneurs builds and adapts strategy to suit the demands of each phase.

There are many ideas that modern day entrepreneurs can learn from – the products and services dual approach, building unique services relevant to each market they chose to play in and succeeding in cross-border acquisition by having a truly global mindset and the willingness to adapt sales methods and compensation structures to new situations. And in what must be recognised as a true departure from the Indian services mindset, the willingness to both design and manufacture in India can truly be regarded as a significant breakthrough – in mindset and dedication to client success that epitomises both the man and his company.

The future of India and indeed , of the software and engineering services industry will be in the replication of what Mohan Reddy calls “designing tomorrow together” with clients with complete consciousness of competence and experience that defines the “inside-out” strategy and insights about the market landscape and competition that enables “outside-in” thinking.

Institutions like Cyient and indeed Mohan Reddy himself are worthy of admiration and emulating and the book is truly a treasure trove of great ideas for entrepreneurship in the future!

(Dr Ganesh Natarajan is Chairman of 5F World and Honeywell Automation India Limited and has chaired NASSCOM and SVP India.)

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