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SunTec CEO Nanda Kumar on why the culture of continuous learning has to percolate throughout an organization

In today’s fast paced world where everyone is trying to move ahead of the other, organizations can stay relevant and evolve only if they continuously learn. The culture of continuous learning has to percolate throughout the organization. This starts with converting every employee into a self-motivated and continuously learning individual. Organizations have to master the […]


In today’s fast paced world where everyone is trying to move ahead of the other, organizations can stay relevant and evolve only if they continuously learn. The culture of continuous learning has to percolate throughout the organization. This starts with converting every employee into a self-motivated and continuously learning individual. Organizations have to master the art of building the competency of every employee. You improve competency, you improve talent. That’s a win-win situation. Without it, organizations will find it difficult to thrive.


I had the pleasure to interview Nanda Kumar the Founder & CEO of SunTec. A technology evangelist with over 26 years in the industry, Nanda Kumar (NK) has shaped the wave of customer-centric software platforms and solutions for pricing and billing, particularly in transaction-intensive verticals. He pioneered the concept of relationship-based pricing — an idea industry analysts and thought leaders now acknowledge as the key to balanced pricing dynamics. NK has made SunTec one of the global leaders in revenue management and business assurance space in the financial and telecom industries. Under the guidance of NK, SunTec has forayed into areas such as offer management, loyalty and relationship-based pricing. Under his leadership, the company has won several awards and is considered as a leader in enterprise products. He has delivered numerous talks across global forums such as SIBOS, 3G Mobile Forum, Indian Banking Summit, Gartner Summits etc. He is also a widely read writer who has written for many technology-oriented newsletters and blogs. NK holds a master’s degree in management and physics.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I studied physics in school and one of the things that always fascinated me was how to create something that solves a fundamental human problem thereby adding value. I applied this same focus to starting a business. Only a few businesses actually add real intellectual value — meaning it solves a vital problem. Once you solve that problem there could be an exponential value not just linear. I wanted to convert an intellectual value into a business opportunity — which came once the software industry started to evolve. And so Suntec was born. I also wanted to stay local too, in Trivandrum to be able to provide employment opportunities and put Trivandrum on the world map when it comes to innovation from my home ground!

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Back in 1995 we had been trying to sell our products to a Malaysian company. Unfortunately, they handed over the contract to a Singapore telecoms company instead. However, I did not want to give up and I called the leadership team and said that I could deliver a fast, basic pricing system in 30 days. They were impressed, but skeptical. They checked around and found out that I could deliver on my word. So, the CEO and CTO came to India and signed a contract. After a tough negotiation, what I found funny was when the company mentioned that they realized they didn’t have a billing system after going completely live with the network! A typical billing system implementation would take around 1–1.5 years in those days. We did it in 30 days and I wrote the code by myself. This was one of our first achievements.

What do you think makes your company stand out during these disruptive times? Can you share a story?

Our philosophy of end-to-end value management is what truly makes us different. As the business ecosystem moves into a real-time digital world, businesses are going to be conducted at the speed of light! And therefore, the traditional revenue management and financial control will not be sufficient to handle the business environment. A system that is fully integrated into the full flow of the business completely, and looking at the value creation at every atomic level, and in turn connecting it together to achieve the end to end view of business will become a necessity. Our system enables this across all lines of businesses. When companies move into the digital market place during these disruptive times, their ability to adopt new business models, and then adapt them in their context poses tremendous risk. One critical ability they need to have in this transformation journey is the ability to measure and monitor their business from a revenue creation and cost perspective, and provide this insight on a real-time basis. This is the basic value that we are providing to the marketplace. In addition, we provide the ability to create products and service offering based on this value insight and ultimately link to their brand promise.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

In today’s fast paced world where everyone is trying to move ahead of the other, organizations can stay relevant and evolve only if they continuously learn. The culture of continuous learning has to percolate throughout the organization. This starts with converting every employee into a self-motivated and continuously learning individual. Organizations have to master the art of building the competency of every employee. You improve competency, you improve talent. That’s a win-win situation. Without it, organizations will find it difficult to thrive.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story or example?

My mother has been my inspiration especially in building my ability to take risk and devoting oneself for a greater purpose. This has really helped in starting my entrepreneurial journey.

Another inspiration is nature itself. Our planet functions as an open ecosystem where elements interact with each other to create value. From the microbes in our body to the microbes in the soil, the smallest of beings collaborate to create. There are no boundaries to nature — it’s open for all. Every element in the ecosystem comes together effortlessly to create magnificent experiences and derive great value. Imagine if businesses across the world would collaborate similarly to deliver experiences as rich as nature? We would have a powerful, collaborative, integrated and open ecosystem, right?.

Share what you believe will be the “Top 5 Fintech and Banking Trends Over The Next 3 Years” (Please share a story or example for each).

1. Digital only banks and institutions. We will see more of these as the cost of doing business to meet consumer demands becomes more integrated with financial services. One stop shopping from digital-only entities will offer a greater flexibility for consumers. We will also expect to see them from non-traditional players in the market — those who have captured the online experience. Who doesn’t want to shop for groceries, pay bills and apply for a loan all on one portal?

2. Use of machine learning and robotic process automation to improve customer experiences. AI will help streamline processes and make the customer experience quicker and more effective — such as in loan processing, account origination and fraud prevention.

3. Biometrics for better security — I expect we will see better ways of authenticating customers. We have already seen fingerprint identification but behavioral biometrics will be stronger too. Iris and facial scanning and even voice recognition will grow in adoption and in untraditional places such as in automobiles on appliances, etc.

4. IoT in banking — The collection and exchange of information from objects such as sensors are happening, but it will grow in the banking industry as the ability to collect and manage data about people’s finances becomes an imperative. Consumers, who are already banking via smartphones, will do so on wearables and voice-activated home devices such as the Echo. More devices will be enabled for connected payments too such as cars and even in-home appliances.

5. Going beyond banking products — driven by the human need rather than the segment of the financial need of the purpose.

6. Evolution of Market places and the banking industry will becoming the substrate on which various human needs will be fulfilled especially from a basic needs point of view

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

“THE ONLY JOURNEY IS THE ONE WITHIN”

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Every conflict in the world happens because of inequality. If commerce was fairer, this would influence harmony and take away the friction of doing business. What if we could enable fairer transactions and ensure value exchange in every transaction where no individual feels that there is value lost. This would influence harmony and take away the friction of doing business.

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