Exclusive Interview with Mr. Mike Muralidharan, COO, Bahwan CyberTek

Digitalization in railways can enhance the passenger experience, improve asset management, and make journeys faster and safer: Mr. Mike Muralidharan, COO, Bahwan CyberTek.

Exclusive Interview of Mr. Mike Muralidharan
Exclusive Interview of Mr. Mike Muralidharan

Metro Rail News conducted an email interview with Mr. Mike Muralidharan, Chief Operating Officer, Bahwan CyberTek. In the interview, Mr. Muralidharan talked about Bhawan CyberTek growth journey and digitalization in Indian Railways. 

In his role as COO, he spearheads the global operations and steers the organization’s business across various geos. Muralidharan has over 26 years of experience in running various organizations in the areas of Marketing, Operations, Human Resources and Support Services along with overall enterprise management.

Here are the edited excerpts: –

Apart from various other recognitions the company has received, Bahwan CyberTek is one of the first 50 companies worldwide to be assessed at CMMI Level 5 version 1.3 company for its process and delivery excellence. From a fair start in 1999 to the present status. How do you see the growth journey of Bahwan CyberTek (BCT) Group?

Since its inception in 1999, BCT has been a product and innovation-driven organization.  We specialize in value delivery for customers and help them stay relevant in a constantly evolving business landscape. Value has been a common thread driving BCT’s growth plan right from our first online product Cashswitch, to our successful innovations such as Dropthought for 360-degree digital experience feedback, rt360 for Banking sector and retina360 for the broader industry. 

Adopting a future-fit mindset and razor-sharp customer focus has helped us gain market acceptance and recognition from across industry sectors. The CMMI level 5 appraisal is an acknowledgement of continuous process improvement, dogmatic compliance, and our capability to go that extra mile to deliver optimum value to customers. This strengthens our go-to-market strategy and positions BCT as an authentic and industry-leading digital transformation partner. 

Over all these years, we have been committed to being a hybrid organization straddling on both product engineering and services. Both these engines have grown steadily over the years. Our journey has been marked by the launch of multiple products in different focus areas like Digital Experience, Predictive Analytics and Digital Supply Chain Management. Apart from home-grown products, we have also acquired products to expand our offerings. Today, we are serving large customers in areas such as AMS, EAM, Digital, Cloud and Data Services.

Today, we are present in 20+ locations, have 4000+ associates and have more than 1000 clients. 

As a company, we focus on collaboration and connected innovation. Our journey of 23 years saw us partnering with globally acclaimed companies like TIBCO, IBM, and Oracle, with whose platforms we’ve been delivering enhanced solutions to customer-specific issues. Our collaborations share the common goal of delivering maximum value to customers and not just on bottom line improvement.

BCT today is a well-known name in providing digital transformation solutions. What major efforts is being done by the company in delivering digital innovation solutions in the areas of Predictive Analytics, Digital Experience and Digital Supply Chain Management across various sectors and destinations the organisation is offering its services? 

Our digital journey started way back, before the quantum digital leap that the world was forced to, during the pandemic. We had created a strong portfolio of accelerators in the products space and were helping clients realize their digital transformation goals, while others were just getting started. 

For us at BCT, digital innovation solutions are table stakes. We have invested time and resources in developing sophisticated technology for smarter operations, better results, and an improved bottom line. And this helped us develop competitive capabilities in emerging technologies like predictive analytics, AI, ML, IIoT, etc. BCT has developed a cornucopia of products. 

  • Our products in Predictive Analytics include retina360, which is a patented AI and ML powered platform, and rt360, which is a risk management product suite that manages the entire risk portfolio of banks and financial institutions.
  • For enhancing Digital Experiences, we have dropthought, which uses an AI/ML-powered deep analytics NLP engine to gather instant feedback from all stakeholders, privately. Additionally, we have CueTrack, a comprehensive customer service management solution for effective management of customer complaints, and thereby improve their satisfaction levels.
  • Our futuristic supply chain solutions use IoT, sensors, and other digital technologies to assess, track, monitor, and manage end-to-end logistics operations. FuelTrans is an end-to-end fuel station automation and logistics solution for oil marketing companies. Our other product CueTrans is an integrated Logistics and Transportation products suite that helps manage and optimize the end-to-end process for cargo, materials and people logistics.

What does digital transformation mean for India? How do you see the future of digitalization in Indian economy especially Indian Railways?

Thanks to Digital India, our digital transformation was well on track before the onset of the pandemic. Today. Our UPI systems are probably the most mature in the world, and India is perhaps one of the biggest spenders in the digital transformation space along with the United States, Europe, and China.

Digitalization in the railways can enhance the passenger experience, improve asset management, make journeys faster and safer, and ensure comprehensive train services. Indian railways, which are among the top 5 longest railway networks, offer a huge scope for transformation.

The consequence of transformation will not be limited to the mobility industry but will have ramifications on the nation’s economy as well. Diligent Digital permeation can strengthen railway logistics with the relevant products and solutions to expand the network across the length and breadth of the country, creating a seamless trade route to bolster the economy. A sophisticated railway transport will play a crucial role in moving production materials, optimizing manufacturing and export.  

Recognizing this potential, the Indian railways recently announced Rs 50 Cr investments annually to fund start-ups as part of the Indian Railway Innovation Policy. I’m confident this program will identify and enable Indian tech entrepreneurs to invest time and talent in developing sustainable, practical, scalable solutions and functional prototypes for the national transporter.

How are you contributing to the management and maintenance of railroad infrastructure in a sustainable manner, optimizing costs and enhancing safety through digital enterprise asset management?

Not just the railways, but almost all asset-intensive industries such as energy, oil & gas, transportation, telecom or logistics require smarter enterprise asset management roll-outs for effective maintenance and optimized enhancements. 

BCT offers a bouquet of products and services for the transportation industry, with specific reference to rail. We offer comprehensive services around IBM Maximo, one of the world’s leading solutions for enterprise asset management. With our retina360, we have on offer effective energy management solutions. We also offer ERP, Predictive Analytics, Passenger Experience Management etc. that are helping not just in the maintenance of the railway infrastructure, but also to enhance the experience of stakeholders, reduction of breakdowns and managing the HSE aspects of employees.

Please tell us something about your recent rollout, of the prestigious CAMS project at Mumbai Metro (MMRCL). How are you delivering the expected enterprise-class EAM solutions for the project? What is the present status of the project? 

BCT is delivering an integrated CAMS to optimize processes, perform lifecycle cost monitoring and improve the cost efficiency of MMRCL. BCT’s technology experts, enterprise solution architects, and integration and quality assurance experts will be engaged in the project for a total period of 4 years. 

The CAMS solution will help MMRCL manage different types of assets such as rolling stock, tracks, power supply systems, traction systems, signalling and control systems, platform screen doors, telecommunication systems, plants and equipment, automated fare collection systems, escalators, and lifts, tunnel ventilation systems, security systems, infrastructure, and related system and electro-mechanical systems like fire alarms, domestic water, lightning, etc. through a single-window enterprise application.

Railways in India is going through a transformational change. The national transporter is focussing on new opportunities and future strategies to fast-track project execution. Having executed large scale EAM projects in different parts of the world, in what ways are you playing your part in this transformational journey of Indian Railways?

This is the time for Railways 4.0, a time to take full advantage of Industry 4.0. Our experience and technical expertise in predictive analytics, AI, ML, IoT, and data science can improve predictive maintenance, optimize processes, and improve cost efficiency. Our AI/ML-driven integrated asset management solutions keep critical assets operating at maximum efficiency. Our sophisticated solutions based on technologies like predictive analytics, AI and ML, bring the board rooms closer to where the action is at a time when real-time, data-driven decision-making has replaced tried-and-proven approaches and boardroom hunches, these solutions have made a huge impact in keeping the business healthy as well as establishing stakeholders’ trust.

Digitalization in rail transport can lead to safer connectivity, better passenger experience, and above all increased reliability in public transport. 

While driving innovation through outcome-based business models, proven and powerful IP solutions, which major sectors amongst fortune 500 companies, are you partnering with presently? What have been the landmark innovations and major accomplishments?

Our focus on IP is based on a simple architectural concept – to sense; to analyse; to predict; and the capacity to drive business decisions. Our products, across verticals, are designed with this foundation. 

In terms of Fortune500 companies, we are serving one of the world’s largest bio-tech companies, with complex integrations, and new application development. We are also empowering a large bookseller company in the US with their entire technology backbone. 

Our hit product drop thought onboarded several new customers last year and witnessed a significant increase in its user base, while rt360 won multi-million deals from public sector banks in India, became cloud-ready and added a new product to cover the governance, risk and compliance space. Retina patented its ‘Intelligent Decision Synchronization Technology in real-time’ and FuelTrans had a strong year with significant wins, setup a new Network Operation Center, and had successful implementations in the African market.

You are also known to play an active role in creating knowledge pools to tackle the growing demands of emerging technologies like AI, ML and IoT. Please elaborate your efforts on the same. What have been the major accomplishments in strengthening collaboration between industry and academia by BCT group?

Employee experience is no longer a mere catchphrase. It’s a business priority. The flexibility to work from anywhere or democratized learning, enabling upskilling on the go, has become the norm. And this is what we’re catering to – building workspaces or ecosystems that augment individual strengths and thus the entire organization’s performance.

At BCT, we have embraced a culture of learning that has helped us build our knowledge capital. Employees today see value in pursuing a career with a company that invests in their development. To upskill, we developed a robust learning program called ‘Learning Gateway’ to help employees learn from anywhere, anytime. Last year alone, we had 300+ associates benefitting from this program by getting upskilled. We also have leadership development programs, certification drives and soft skill programs to enable our associates to move up the value chain. These programs help us stay in sync with the changing needs of our customers globally.

Our differentiator is our knowledge capital, and we will continue to invest in the student community to strengthen our value proposition. In Chennai, we began our first academic partnership with the launch of the ‘AU-BCT Kalam Centre of Excellence’ in the Anna University’s campus in 2012. Since then, our industry-academia partnerships in various other colleges, have given students, the access to cutting-edge technologies, and our associates, access to fresh innovative ideas. Recently, we signed MoUs with Heriot-Watt University, BITS Pilani – Dubai, and Evolvence Group in the Middle East. 

Please share some details about the CSR policy of the company. Being one of the fastest growing IT companies of the world and recognized for excellence in various forums what are your efforts and contribution for New India and Atmanirbhar Bharat?

We have a strong focus on CSR. Every year, we support various initiatives, along with NGOs, across countries. We have been investing in initiatives that are helping use technologies to better life and alleviate suffering. We contribute to the care of the elderly, along with NGO’s. We partner ALERT NGO, to evangelise the knowledge of emergency response, in case of accidents or other trauma situations, by training the common people as volunteers.  We are working to provide education for children fro, the economically backward segments of our society. We focus on providing vocational training for helping people use technology for furthering their career. All the initiatives we are investing in contributing towards the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative in areas like training and education and entrepreneurship.

Please share your views about Metro Rail News. Any message for our readers? 

This is the destination for news on rail mobility and I have enjoyed reading the editions online. I’ve also found your events to be impactful and made some great connections there. My best wishes to the team! 

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