Sonia Manchanda: An inspiring woman entrepreneur in the unique domain of Telecom Expense Management @ Airsoft
The domain of data science is thriving as Big Data Analysis has become a key ingredient to boardroom discussions. The continuous evolution, increasing complexities and changing patterns have made the Corporates stand up and notice that the devil lies in the detailing of the data in a given business challenge instead going by conventional instincts and experience. The science behind sorting & classifying, straightening & simplifying, cleaning & shining, standardizing & stabilizing of data and reading the analysis right is at all-time high and requires deep-rooted discipline, balanced curiosity, innovative thinking and intellectual detailing to identify distinctive breakthroughs.
Though, this role is meaningful with good career prospects and high work-life balance, yet women are largely underrepresented. However, now it is time when woman are coming in front and changing leadership in India. It would be great to hear about one of the renowned Indian women Ms. Sonia Manchanda, COO Founder of Airsoft. With a logical aptitude and passion for mathematics, technology and investigative sleuthing, she along with visionary CEO & Founder, Mr. K S Gillpioneers the unique service domain of Telecom Expenditure Management;a strategic product-service that combines decades of data analysis expertise and collective telecom consulting.
Sonia Manchanda – an Amita with a distinguished academic record is bred in to the core of Telecom Data Analytics as a young engineer. She jumped straight into the deep end, with the uncertainties of an ‘undiscovered’ industry – and succeeded – overcoming the constraints of a running a start-up. Profounddiagnostic skills coupled with the faith in the vision led her to master the domain and power Airsoft. Sonia has been working with a mission to provide enterprises with the business intelligence and be an instrumental pivot to reduce any expense related to voice and data; to create telecom as another profit centre with year-on-year targets and periodic reviews, just like any other profit centre of a business enterprise. This is done by holistic management of telecom lifecycle -streamlining and automation of key telecom processes, including inventory management; procurement and order management; invoice processing, auditing and cost allocation; and advance business intelligence and reporting.
A simple but powerful idea: organisations should have complete control over their mobile and fixed communications assets and costs, with the ability to administer their telecom infrastructure over the web. Realising the idea and sustaining it was a major challenge on account of various factors, which Sonia successfully addressed by pushing the solution rather than the product. Thoroughly analyzing the business needs, industry and requirements, Airsoft delivers tailor-made, cost-competitive, scalable and robust solutions. For its remarkable performance, the company has been awarded many a times includingCMAI 6th National Telecom Award – “Innovative Telecom Consumer Billing Advisory” and Winner of Grand Prize – Lufthansa Runway to Success Contest. Sonia was among the 10 Girls felicitated on 7th May 2013 celebrated as “Girls in Information & Communications Technology Day” over 30,000 girls across Asia.
Airsoft’s experience across the industry translates into a differentiated value proposition and stimulates time-to-market for clients. The company delivers comprehensive services to hundreds of businesses including Fullerton India Credit Company, Tata Motors, Yes Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, ICICI Securities, Polyplex, Future Generali, HCL, DELL and Godrej etc. Airsoft’s transparent, efficient and flexible world class service process zero downs risks of project failures and creates productive solutions that are right for you now, and for transitioning in the future as needs and technologies change.
The CEO Magazine, in a conversation with Ms. Sonia Manchanda, COO & Founder of Airsoft
TCM: What are the differentiating factors of the company?
Sonia: Man Machine combination integrating Technology, Analytics, Service and Economics in one unified process. It is a telecom only service applicable to ALL service types irrespective of liability model.
With rare domain expertise and special tools, Airsoft’s commitment to provide cutting edge product services, to audit telecom expenditure, and to enable a unified, enterprise-wide effort to gain command and control over telecom expenditure stands it out as the leader in the segment.
TCM:What are the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Sonia: Customer service and delight have been our major marketing ammunition. Endeavour is to perform at a level that meets and exceeds corporate expectations. We have recently established our marketing office in Mumbai and have started exploring avenues through our channel partners in government and international markets while we focus to invest in our operations’ efficiency for the existing customer base and introduce the concept in the retail segment.
TCM: What are the Milestones of the company?
TCM: The milestones shared by Sonia are below:
- Fullerton India Credit Company Ltd bagged EDGE award – using our solution to generate Rs 15 million savings in a year (33% of their total telecom spend)
- An NBFC with an all-India footprint received a billing error refund of Rs 20 million
- Saved over Rs 30 million (savings over 25%) on mobile spend, in Round 1 itself purely on reduction a/c optimisation
- Based on actionable intelligence, a leading BFI sector company brought down mobile out flow from Rs 108 million – to Rs 70 million in the very 1st year
- A leading financial services company was able to redeploy 8 FTE’s (Full Time Employees) to areas of core competence
TCM: What is the business problem it hopes to solve with its solutions and offerings?
Sonia: Most enterprises waste tens of lakhs of rupees annually by not managing their telecom spend. Management of these costs is a complex matter requiring sophisticated expertise and tools – traditional controls are not applicable.
‘… Enterprises not having properly trained professionals assuming this responsibility could be forfeiting at least $100,000 for every $1 million spent.’ Gartner Group 2000
There is constant pressure to improve the scope and nature of these controls and indeed initiatives are undertaken. But slim staff and lack of capability makes it a heavily paper-based exercise. It’s common for companies to delegate the task of auditing to employees who have neither the expertise nor the tools required to verify and validate telecom related expenses. Enterprises may not even accurately know their telecom spend and as a result, costs with direct impact on the bottom-line do not draw the deserved level of management attention.
Airsoft feeds into these issues and provides an end–to–end solution to reduce telecom costs and to increase the control over all the moving parts – to quantify, in financial terms, the impact analysis of selected tariff plans affecting in a fundamental way the future structure of optimizing telecom costs.
TCM: How do you learn in your life and what is your biggest dream?
Sonia: The best way out of difficulty is through it. Have shaken hands with success seen through failures. Each customer experience has been my steadfast teacher.
Dream is to be an enabler for young minds willing to venture into this very new domain of Telecom Expense Management and help them to set in their footprint and drive innovation to further strengthen the arm of our service.
TCM:What was the most difficult lesson you have learned as an entrepreneur?
Sonia: Success is teamwork and teamwork is success. To keep it going when the going gets tough, a good passionate team is the suspension media for the smooth roll over on the speed bumper.