Behind every successful business, there stands a successful leader with a precise mindset. This mindset is just as important as hitting sales objectives and producing sustainable business models.
Every business leader has unique abilities and traits to ensure a successful business. These leaders work exceptionally hard with prompt leadership approaches to solve problems for their customers, overcome operational obstacles, and thrive in the industry.
Also, these leaders comprehend a particular skillset to manage their organizations. They ensure smart working principles to increase the organization’s efficiency and productivity.
One such successful business leader is Shweta Srivastava, CTO, Paul Merchants. She holds expertise in strategic approach, mandated to develop and drive IT Strategy, IT business partnering, project delivery, support, training, and building and developing strong IT teams aligned with the business.
In an interview with Insights Success, Ms Shweta sheds light on her journey as a business achiever making a difference by working towards enabling her organization in its digital transformation journey with the adoption of new-age tech tools.
Please tell us about your professional journey at Paul Merchants.
With 20+ years of experience in strategic and technology execution, I am continuously working towards enabling my organization in its digital transformation journey with the adoption of new-age tech tools.
Presently working with Paul Merchants Limited group of companies, I am taking on the role of CTO for Paul Merchants Finance (P) Ltd., in addition to heading the technology vertical for all group companies.
I am managing the IT transformation processes to accelerate growth and business objectives, with information technology emerging as an enabler in business. My comprehensive experience includes Technology and Technical Management under Prince Two and ITSM (ITIL) best practices.
I have helped transform the business through the right technology adoption. My continuous effort is towards optimizing IT cost and business processes in alignment with compliance guidelines.
Additionally, I helped ensure regulatory compliances, RBI Audits, IT Audits, and statutory IT obligations, including IT Security Compliances. To achieve the same, I have continuously worked closely with the legal department for executing legal agreements with technology vendors/partners as well as regulatory bodies. Mandated to develop and drive IT Strategy, IT Business Partnering, Project Delivery, Support, Training, and Building and Developing strong IT teams aligned with the business.
I have spearheaded the setup of PPI business for the company that involved setting up necessary automation systems and applications, server and network infrastructure, processes mandated by RBI for governance, monitoring, and risk management. I have been actively participating in collaborating with government authorities like RBI, NPCI, etc., as well as banks for enabling desired services to support the operations.
My key strength lies in:
- IT Strategy and Roadmap development
- Risks and Compliances
- Business Partnering creating synergies to achieve business growth – Sales and Marketing, Finance, Operations etc
- Business Intelligence
- Mobile Computing
- Cloud Computing
- IT Innovations and Implementation of several business-oriented applications
- Projects Management
- Techno-commercial Operations
- IT Audits and Compliance
- Service Delivery
- UI/UX/CX oriented innovations
- Business Continuity Planning and Management
- IT Infrastructure and Security Policies and Standards
- Vendor Management
- IT Budget Forecasting/Management
- Contract Management and SLA Management
Tell us more about Paul Merchants, its vision, and the key aspects of its stronghold in the Digital Payment Industry.
Paul Merchants Ltd is a Public Limited Company with our scripts listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. We hold licenses issued by the Reserve Bank of India to act as Authorized Dealer Category II and is a prominent Sub-Agent of EBIX Money Express (P) Ltd for providing inbound International Money Transfer services.
Further, PML is an IATA accredited Travel Agency. For our quality systems and processes, we are ISO 9001:2015 certified by the United Registrar of Systems. We have been serving customers for the last two and a half decades. PML has an interest in various fields and offers numerous services, such as – Money Transfer, Foreign Exchange, Travel, Insurance, and Allied Financial Products.
Paul Merchants Finance Pvt. Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “PMFPL”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Paul Merchants Ltd., was founded in the year 2010 and aimed to serve customers with fast and easy loan services. PMFPL is a non-banking financial company by virtue of License No. N-06.00596 issued by the Reserve Bank of India. PMFPL is also a licensed entity for issuing PPI in the form of Wallets and Prepaid Cards.
PMFPL also has a corporate agency license from IRDA and is authorized to sell insurance policies. PMFPL provides hand-crafted loan solutions specially made to complement our motto ‘easy to avail and easy to pay.’ With PMFPL’s smart gold loan service, an individual can suffice one’s financial requirement against gold in an easy and hassle-free manner.
From a business leadership perspective, what is your opinion on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Digital Payments Industry?
COVID-19 has thrown a lot of challenging situations in front of each enterprise and especially the ones for which we could never practically be prepared.
Like every other enterprise, we have also survived and explored multiple avenues with limited possibilities. Nearly all industries are majorly impacted along with the global economy. At the same time, the positive side of it is that a lot of industries have seen a boom in the past two years, especially Digital Payments and Information Technology.
Luckily, I work in both domains, IT in BFSI, and we were able to innovate a lot of solutions and support business in all possible ways to sustain and ensure business continuity. The digital payment industry has seen a major revolution, and we are riding on the same wave.
What efforts did you take during the pandemic to sustain operations and ensure the safety of your team at the same time?
To sustain our operations during the pandemic, we extensively worked towards the digitization of all customer service-related areas. We supported businesses to reach customers through cloud telephony and other digital media.
We developed digital platforms to offer products and services to our end customers. We extended Web and Mobile platforms for our existing customers to get seamless support on the services being availed.
What is your opinion on the necessity for companies to align their offerings with technologies like AI and ML?
While the new buzzwords in the industry are AI/ML, I strongly believe that every solution and decision for adopting a technology should be driven by well-thought business use cases. One should do a cost-benefit analysis before making any such decision.
It is extremely overwhelming to keep innovating and adopting innovative technologies, but there should be a direct contribution to the Top line and Bottom line.
As an established industry leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the Digital Payments Industry?
The Digital Payment industry is extremely interesting and dynamic. Anyone planning to make a career in this domain is bound to see a lot of success, provided you are open to continuous learning.
It is not just technology enhancement; it is, in fact, a combination of business/revenue model analysis, financial viability, compliance, and sustainability which is interesting to understand and implement.
How do you envision further strengthening Paul Merchant’s stronghold in 2022 and beyond?
As the ecosystem is evolving every day, our company is also progressive in terms of staying abreast with the latest trends and is working aggressively to deliver the products and services admirably adapted to the current trends.
We are planning to launch a lot of new products that are digital in nature and would impact the lives of not only Tier One and Two cities.