CxO of the Week: Pankit Desai, Co-founder and CEO, Sequretek

By : |June 18, 2019 0

Pankit Desai co-founded Sequretek, a cyber security company, which started in 2013 with an aim to provide enterprise clients an end to end cyber security platform.

Pankit, a veteran of the IT industry, brings 20+ years of hardcore technology and leadership experience from the information technology industry to lead Sequretek. His vast experience has given him the ability to manage and scale global business units and service lines rapidly and efficiently.

What is your top priority while making decisions to improve tech infra in your organization?

As a young company, there are always competing priorities that vie for resources – time, people, infrastructure and finance – as we look to scale. Then there is a constant balancing act between near term needs vis-à-vis a long term approach. As far as investment in tech infra is concerned, we have always made sure that for our core needs, thinking needs to be always long term as against ancillary where we would be more open to looking at opex based investments. All decisions do have one common theme, i.e. there should be no compromise around security, we are a cybersecurity products company and as such believe in practising what we preach.

Challenges you face in driving digital transformation?

If you look at the past three industrial revolutions – mechanical, electrical and then computer technologies; they led to significant improvement in the operational productivity of the organizations. The focus of these transformations, for the most part, stayed internal with their respective customers getting a much better, cheaper and faster version of the same product or service. Digital transformation threatens to up-end that model where change is driven not by internal transformation but what is happening around us, changing consumer behaviours is creating new markets opportunities and threats. Whilst technology is a big enabler to this transformation, the biggest challenge organizations face is the inability of their workforce to understand, appreciate and be willing to transform themselves to drive that change.

From Sequretek’s point of view, digital transformation affords a great opportunity both internal and external. We have the advantage of being a “Born Digital” company who knows how to play in this ecosystem. But the bigger play for us is working with our customers to ensure that their digital transformation does not create any potential security related challenges. In fact, our mission statement has captured this very nicely “To empower you to grow without fear as the trusted partner by simplifying security”. We want our customers to embark on their digital transformation journey whilst being rest assured that we have got their back and they need not fear about security related challenges in this journey.

Do you feel that freshers in the industry come with only basic knowledge but don’t have the right skills to fulfil job requirements? If yes, your suggestion to students and colleges?

Yes, I feel that irrespective of the curriculum our colleges have become a machine that churns out kids with a degree, but no mechanism to validate to what degree (pun intended) they have internalized the domain that they are supposed to experts of. The gaps are on account of a few challenges that emanate from how the process of intake into colleges to off take in the industry happens.

• To start with, I am not a big fan of standardised tests as the only way for intake into colleges. The proliferation of institutes that profess their expertise in cracking these exams itself should be a sign that the process is already manipulated
• Second, the curriculum is too much around theory and the practical trainings including the internship process is treated as just another tick mark that is required before one gets out.
• Third, the faculty that the colleges employ are nothing much to write home about. A fair amount of faculty is past students who find themselves there and more often then not, not because they want to pursue education as a career but because nothing else was available. Education as a profession needs to be made attractive enough and at par from compensation as well as opportunity perspective to any other job.
• Colleges need to figure out a way to become hotbed of entrepreneurship, and to that degree collaboration between students, teachers, industry bodies and investment vehicles is essential so that the ideas can see the light of the day and will also serve as a vehicle for retention of the right talent.

What’s your mantra to become successful in life?

Success or failure are a result of what you did in the past and therefore you have very little ability to influence the outcome. Delving too much on either state means that you have not sowed the seeds for the next outcome.

What would you like to give back to society?

I know how difficult it is for someone who is fresh out of college to land on his or her two feet. I was blessed to have the opportunity of finding these options in beginning of my career, those decisions have shaped me into who I am today.

I am not much of a believer in the standard CSR initiatives, if through Sequretek we can become the preferred first employer to students and play a role in helping them achieve their dreams and in turn they do the same to another deserving kid, than that would be the best way of giving back to the society

Your favorite book and what are you reading now?

I am current affairs and world affairs junkie, I will read up anything from world history to historical figures to economy. I believe, that the more you know about what surrounds you, the better prepared you are in dealing with circumstances around you. I am currently reading Factfulness by Anna and Hans Rosling and the next on my list is Homo Sapiens by Yuval Novah Harari

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my free time, I like to catch-up on reading, especially global affairs, world events as well as watching some good content on Netflix.

Achievements (Awards & Recognitions)

Stanford SEED program: Selected from 500+ companies from across India to create a transformation plan that can help the company scale up

Top 50 Innovators: By world innovation council, 2018
Next Big Idea 2017 Winner: from 400+ companies across India, award by Canadian Government and Zone Startups
Top 100 Startups: By Centre of Research and Excellence, an initiative by Top CIOs of India
Top 10 Fintech Startups: Fintegrate 2017

Experience

For a large part of my career, I have worked in North America selling tech products to tech companies to accelerate their design of work. My IT expertise comes from working in senior leadership roles in companies like Rolta, NTT Data, Wipro, Cognizant, IBM and CMC. My previous roles gave me a sneak peak into the world of running a sustainable business, prepared me and the company for the ups and downs, prepared us for future challenges.

First Job – CMC Limited

Education – BE from Bhavnagar University and MBA from Gujarat University

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