The emergence of the 21st Century witnessed women from different walks of life have demonstrated their mettle in leadership, engraving across every discipline. Ms. Praachi Abrol, COO 9Yards Technology, is the first technopreneur in her family who carved a niche for herself. Over the years, she has worn multiple hats varying from an employee to a decision-maker, enriching her cognitive skills to continuous refinement.
Have a peek at her life expeditions through this amazing interview!
Before becoming an entrepreneur, you played several roles in the Quality Assurance domain for over a decade. How did this experience prepare you for your entrepreneurial stint?
I’ve worked for over 15 years with both MNCs and startups in the QA domain. During my professional journey, I fostered my passion for creating brands rather than working with one. And working with startups and mid-sized firms was like a cherry on top. Since then, there has been no turning back. The competitive environment enhanced my learning curve, gave me an experience of true collaboration, and offered me multiple hats to wear with prospects to work on myriad things in a short duration. Some of my key learnings while working there were how to work under pressure, balance the experience parity, and get things done more quickly than ever before. In addition, the whole experience enriched my cognitive & leadership skills.
Enumerate some of the key professional lessons you learned throughout these years which have helped you in your entrepreneurial journey.
I have never confined myself to one role, and my entrepreneurial journey taught me to step up to the task while enriching my entrepreneurial skills. In my professional journey, working as a QA professional, I explored my efficiency and capabilities while liaising with HR and TA in reducing the overlays. That’s how I acquired a niche for myself and worked efficiently to retrench. Eventually, my capabilities and interest allowed me to foray into the operational role rather than just restricting myself to technical work.
Given the rapid pace of evolution in today's world, I had an epiphany - nothing is permanent. Whether it's an idea, methodology, individuals or even the way of executing things, we must evolve and mould our practices to stay abreast with the changing world and successfully negate modern-day challenges. So, being versatile and upgrading yourself is the most crucial thing at this time in order to persist or keep up with the rivals. That’s why I follow the mantra of being adaptable and open-minded to change in this fast-paced world.
What motivated you to venture into the IT services industry as an entrepreneur? What were you trying to do differently through your venture?
While working in the corporate world, I noticed that, over the years, MNCs had been afflicted with functional inefficacies and bleak grievance redressal mechanisms, ultimately leading to the clients facing the impetus. There was always a feeling of the need for personalization and incorporation of empathy into an organization. So, when I got a prospect to implement the learnings and experience to deliver top-notch IT services to global clients and devise a sterling working environment unified with DEIs (Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion), I didn’t think twice before embarking on my journey as a Co-Founder to disrupt traditional IT Services Setups with ingenious solutions filling the void when it comes to seamless delivery & deployment of services.
What are some business challenges that you have had to face in terms of building 9Yards Technology from scratch?
We started our business with a strategic vision similar to life. We faced numerous challenges like - building our enterprise business from scratch without any base collateral and work. For any business, especially in the early stages, finding the right talent with ingenious ideas and abilities is always a challenge. On the other hand, procuring the services of influential candidates with impactful skillsets to work in a startup which often invites skepticism, presents another challenge. We at 9Yards Technology negated all those challenges to eventually assemble a quality workforce that continues to thrive in a positive work environment while working in tandem with our vision to contribute towards the organization’s growth and subsequent success.
Entrepreneurship is not an easy path to walk. What are some key characteristics one must possess to become a successful entrepreneur?
In today's startup culture, entrepreneurship is often mistaken for a doddle or, simply put, a walk in the park. What people don't understand is that it's a never-ending hustle that often translates to blood, sweat and tears. While there is little doubt over its challenging nature, entrepreneurship is arguably the most adventurous journey one can undertake. But before one embarks on this topsy-turvy path, possessing certain primary characteristics is imperative. At the forefront, you need an entrepreneurial mindset brewed for uncertainties and strong willpower. Furthermore, vital factors like risk-taking capabilities, ability to multitask, quick decision-making, and, most importantly, self-faith and self-confidence remain true virtues of a successful entrepreneur.
Building the right team is key to any venture’s success. How do you approach recruitment and team building at 9Yards Technology?
We never wanted to create a typical conventional working space. Thus, building everything exceptional and avoiding red tape in the hiring process or aligned introductory interviews and HR rounds remains our top priority. Breaking away from archaic practices, we’ve formulated procedures according to the business needs and requirements to procure the best-suited talent for the job.
For instance, when hiring a candidate to bolster our marketing team, we seek more creative thinking, new ideas, and ingenious minds whom we can channel for better results. Similarly, for technical aspects, we look for people with domain-specific knowledge, logical thinking, and practical coding assignments. For Sales, we look for people with fantastic communication skills, excellent knowledge, and curious minds who can be a great fit for growth ppts and market surveys. So, we huddle and redesign strategy as per the market lookout and needs.
How do you foresee the Indian IT services sector evolving in the near future? What is your roadmap to align 9Yards Technology with emerging market trends?
With digitalization and technological advancements, the IT sector is flourishing, and the 2020-2030 era is expected to witness a major boom in the industry. A report cites India's potential to generate $300-350 billion in annual revenue by 2025 with rapidly emerging business opportunities in cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and cybersecurity.
Through efficacious practices, the IT services sector can leverage the potential of deep technologies, thereby contributing to the overall economy in the ensuing decade. Our road map is to embark on these imminent prospects and offer best-in-class services to global clients incorporated with ultramodern technologies. Thus, our vista is to make 9Yards Technology one of the world’s fastest-growing firms disrupting conventional practices while offering seamless delivery.
Can you recount one specific moment in your entrepreneurial journey where you felt immense happiness? What led to the moment?
Though I relish the entire journey of being a Co-Founder and COO of 9Yards Technology, a few moments hold a peculiar space in my heart. Those moments made me realize that we have already completed 1.5 years of the journey while following our passion. No year has ever passed so quickly for me while giving innumerable learnings. Another memorable moment was when I handed over first-anniversary gifts to our employees who led the foundation of 9Yards in its early stage. These individuals were among our first employees who showed faith in us, stood, and supported us in our endeavours.
Praachi - A Woman Bridging Abyss!
Under the visionary leadership of Ms. Praachi, in a span of mere 1.5 years, she has won several accolades, including the prestigious Women Entrepreneur of The Year 2022 by the Indian Achiever's Forum and got featured in the revered CEO Monthly C-Suite Magazine under the category SOFTWARE QA & DEVELOPMENT COO OF THE YEAR. Likewise, she partook in myriad national and international events, awards like GLITX Global (the world's largest tech show in Dubai), North American Software testing awards (Atlanta, United States), and MSME India Business Convention, among others.
Her efforts aren't bounded to 9Yards Technology. Besides being a Co-founder, she is also a philanthropist running her own 'Neena Punit Abrol Charitable Trust.' Which monetarily empowers the underprivileged and weaker sections of society for healthcare treatment. From raising her son with values to successfully dealing with IT challenges shows her vast scope of operations. The immense transition cement that she's capable and has the mental grit to lead with a singular intention to win.