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Q&A with Alpha: Anuraag Verma, Global Head, Strategic Transformation

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

Verma have successfully launched new businesses and products across four continents, and have a diverse career spanning engineering, consulting, technology, education and not-for-profit.

1. How do you exploit the opportunity to sit down and talk with the right people at GDS summits?

Planning and preparation. We spend a lot of time understanding who we’ll be meeting with (both individually, and in the roundtable), delving into their specific pain points, and figuring out how Alpha may be able to help. Knowing ahead of time what projects everyone is working on is a bonus. It helps us focus the conversation.

2. Do you prepare for this in advance of your meetings?

We do research into the individuals and organizations we’ll be meeting with. We’ll research their industry and business context, as well as the specific project they’re working on. Following this, we’ll leverage Alpha’s insights platform to run a series of high-relevant tests on their specific challenges. This has proven to be a great way to showcase our capabilities, while also leaving a prospective client with something tangible and valuable.

3. What is your approach in moderating a roundtable at a GDS Summit and how do you maximize the value of this set-up?

The core to our approach is creating a candid and authentic dialogue. We want the participants to guide the conversation, and as moderators, ask thought-provoking questions to encourage dialogue. We maximize value by using each roundtable to build on the discussion from the previous day, moving the team from talking about challenges to discussing practical solutions.

4. What would you tell roundtable participants at a GDS Summit to excite them if it is their first time attending?

I’d tell them about the unique nature of this experience, and how it’s unlike workshops or roundtables they’ve attended before. I’d highlight the fact that participants will also be able to genuinely connect to their peers (and do so in a meaningful and in-depth way), because that’s also an exciting element.

5. Of the 6 main 'challenges' being addressed at the upcoming Digital Innovation Insight Summit, which are most interesting to you and how does Alpha fit in?

Negotiating with the business and getting projects past the pilot stage.

Implementing something new in a large organization – a project, product or strategy – requires buy-in from cross-functional stakeholders. As the scale of an initiative increases, the need for stakeholder alignment grows. The ability for leaders to negotiate with the business becomes really critical. All too often, projects get stuck in pilot phase, because leaders have no mechanism to communicate the broader, organizational value of a pilot, as well as having no way to allay concerns of risks associated with scaling a pilot.

Alpha’s insights platform provides leaders with a powerful way to bring objective, market data into the conversation. Leaders can use Alpha data to demonstrate market appeal, and de-risk critical business decisions. It empowers leaders to negotiate with data.

6. Alpha’s roundtable will be focused on finding novel ways to get projects 'past the pilot stage'. Can you give us a taste of what you will be discussing?

We’ll be covering a wide range of topics, with a focus being on “novel” way to move past pilots. Some of the other topics we’ll discuss may include:

• Moving from a “pilot mindset” (scaled down version of a large project) to an “experiment mindset” (low-cost experiments to stress-test critical project assumptions)

• Co-creating a way to get stakeholder buy-in during the pilot/experiment phase

• Moving “past the pilot stage” often implies an implicit risk to the business. We’ll discuss how experimentation can de-risk the decision to scale a pilot.

7. What is your view on 'scaled change' and how do you develop a strategy to implement change at scale?

From our perspective, change only happens when teams have the right mindset, a relevant skillset, and an accessible toolset. Scaling change can be challenging, because it requires a critical mass of employees to think, talk, and act in new way. This requires both a bottoms-up approach (getting thousands of people to adopt new mindset and work in new ways) and a top-down approach (having senior leaders consciously advocate for new ways of working). Form our experience, without senior leadership actively championing a change effort (and themselves adopting a new mindset), it’s very difficult for change to scale.

8. What drives you to participate in GDS Summits?

Accelerating profitable revenue growth, winning market share, and positioning Alpha as a trusted advisor.

9. How do you achieve these on-site at the summit?

Engaging in an authentic dialogue with stakeholders at a cross-section of leaders and organizations, specifically around the themes and challenges most pertinent to their business.

Want to find out more? Interested in joining the event?

To find out more about Alpha, you can visit their website here. They attended the Digital Insight Summit in November. If you are interested in joining the next one in 2020, you can register your interest here.

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