InterviewsOutlook

Outlook 2022: “The Best Promise of 2022 is Clarity”

Abhay Pandey, Founder and CEO of MAST Consulting Group, says his company now has a dedicated Cyber Security Lab

How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
At MAST Consulting, we believe the year 2021 was an inflection point in the trajectory of the globalized world as it hurriedly adapted to digital ways. While the year 2020 revolved largely around COVID-19 and lockdowns, 2021 reflected our ability to adapt and sustain in the face of disruptions. Digitalization has now permeated business and industry, unearthing new opportunities and challenges. As a techno-consulting company, this period was fruitful for us, from a business as well as a learning standpoint. We hope to keep the momentum heading into 2022.

What sort of opportunities did 2021 bring along?
The year 2021 was particularly opportune for digital-first businesses, e-commerce retailers, the healthcare sector, etc. Even the service sectors witnessed a shot-in-the-arm with the Expo and lifting of travel restrictions. So, opportunities were created by the government as well as end-user spending. At MAST Consulting, we witnessed an uptake of enterprise risk management (ERM) solutions, as clients pursued greater resilience and readiness. Limited mobility continued to drive a service wedge between vendors and customers, unlocking an opportunity for us to market our full-suite, integrated solutions like the Customer Experience Solution.

Did you face any challenges in 2021?
As consultants, we perceive our clients’ challenges to be our own. And clients across industries faced unique challenges in 2021. However, with digitalization becoming a recurrent theme in every industry, clients have been particularly wary of cyber threats. So, we have invested additional focus on cybersecurity this year. MAST Consulting now has a dedicated Cyber Security Lab as a result of this priority. Besides cyber threats, there have been operational roadblocks due to lingering uncertainties and uneven recovery.

What were your key achievements in 2021?
Our achievements are measured by the discernible value we create for our clients and customers. In this regard, our achievements in 2021 are largely owed to our Integrated Managed Security Platform (IMSP), which brought deep-dive visualization into clients’ internet-facing systems and enabled critical interventions; Customer Intelligence and Analytics App (CIAA), which collated enterprise data and provided insights for effective decision making; and Retail Intelligence & Analytics App (RIAA), which helped retailers optimize scheduling, task management, and product placement.

What promises does 2022 bring along?
The best promise of 2022 is clarity. We were shrouded with uncertainty for the better part of 2021. We now have greater clarity on the risks and the mitigation methods. There is also consensus among the general population on the ability of technology to create transparency and accountability. These promises will lead to greater integration between people, processes, and technology — which has the potential to revolutionize business interactions that are central to our existence.

Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening up?
Absolutely. We can explain this best with real estate. Due to the marketization of proptech, functions across the real estate value chain are transforming, geared towards greater efficiencies and value. Growth markets like the UAE and the KSA have responded enthusiastically to these developments. As a result, proptech is shaping into a dynamic market in these nations. Its emergence spells opportunities for stakeholders across the value chain. Needless to say, this is just the real estate example; there are several others.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
We believe automation is primed for greater demand in 2022. Our rationale is simple: The challenges and opportunities of digitalization are no longer human-scale. Automation finds application in addressing the challenges and capitalizing on the opportunities. It will enable humans to optimize repetitive functions and avoid manual errors. As part of enterprise-grade solutions that feature AI analytics and ML, automation will announce itself in all industries. In fact, MAST Consulting’s CIAA and IMSP have considerable automation capabilities.

What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
The customer experience (CX) has been the cornerstone of all our products/services thus far. It will continue to be so in 2022 and beyond. Alongside, we intend to channel our resources towards cyber security and sustainability. These comprehensive objectives will require us to emphasize compliance with regulations, certifications from authorities, and upskilling.

What milestones have you set for 2022?
We have a motto of helping our clients adopt a zero-trust approach to cyber threats. In doing so, we hope to raise awareness in the business ecosystem. Also, with ESG becoming a core component of contemporary business, we remain committed to helping our clients align themselves with larger sustainability goals.

What would you like to do differently in 2022, when compared with 2021?
Comparing 2021, we are going to focus more on customer experience and digital transformation in 2022. We will be shifting more towards CX aligned cloud offerings and subscription based consulting service.

Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products/applications to your portfolio in 2022?
We have a strong market presence in Saudi, the UAE, and India, which hold vast growth potential. So, our foremost objective is to strengthen our presence in these markets, followed by expansion into new growth markets. Additionally, we will enhance our existing offerings, develop fit-for-purpose solutions for FMCG, auto, healthcare, finance and real estate sectors, and craft a niche for ourselves in techno-consulting and advisory. MAST’s integrated service offerings for Managed Infrastructure and Managed Security is one of the unique offering which is equipped with consultative approach helps customers to achieve service excellence and availability.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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