SBL Knowledge Services Pvt Ltd: An Indian Tech Legend with Universal Digital Foresights

SBL Knowledge Services Pvt Ltd
SBL Knowledge Services Pvt Ltd

Modern technological advancements are born from the radical vision of ambitious tech legends who aspire to positively impact society through futuristic innovations. SBL Knowledge Services Pvt Ltd is one such forward-looking technology enterprise committed to redefining the modern industrial landscape with future-oriented digital transformation solutions that promise to reshape lives and society.

Founded in 2005 by Mr. Gopakumar Pillai, the Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SBL Knowledge Services Private Limited is a global Information Technology Indian Multinational that focuses on offering best-in-class technology solutions and services to businesses across the globe.

Regaling the SBL saga, Mr. Pillai says, “From a small business venture with 30 employees, we have grown into an established digital transformation leader catering to diverse verticals, including Technology solutions and services, Geospatial Science, Business process management services, and Multimedia services.”

With a solid adherence to the principle of ‘Success through Partnership, ’Mr. Pillai and his team of experts work passionately to spearhead digital transformation across the B2B, B2C, and government sectors. As a firm, they strive to be a leading knowledge organization that upholds the values of trust and integrity and fosters a culture of continuous innovation.

India’s Fastest-Growing Knowledge Organization

Being a dynamic leader, Mr. Pillai oversees the business’s operations, technology, and services, division. In addition, he is responsible for building strategic technology partnerships and driving the growth of the international business wing of SBL.

Prior to SBL, he was the Founder and Managing Director of SITCO India, where he spearheaded the launch of a multitude of textiles and plastics manufacturing units. He also served as a Consultant at Ocean Industries and was the architect behind the company’s business turnaround. Mr. Pillai was recognized for his insightful approach to converting underperforming manufacturing units to profit-making industries.

Brilliant Professional Benchmarks

Mr. Pillai started his career in the textile industry with Vardhaman Group. He served as a management consultant and led the establishment of textile and plastic manufacturing units in the African region. During this period, he successfully orchestrated many business turnarounds and exhibited his entrepreneurial skills with the innovative design of thermoplastic processing machinery.

After returning to his hometown, he founded a 30-member ITES company in Ochira, Kerala, with a vision of providing digital solutions to customers in the UK. Simultaneously, in his brief stint as a Consultant with Ocean Industries Ltd between 2000 and 2003, he identified the best practices and re-engineered the business process to enhance the company’s profitability.

In April 2003, he ventured into SITCO India (Kerala). As the Founder and Managing Director, he was instrumental in the growth of SITCO from a small home business to a diverse manufacturing and export business group with a strong foothold in ten different business verticals across four continents. In addition, he mentored many large turn-key projects providing strategic business consultation encompassing technology, finance, and change management.

He founded SBL in August 2005 to provide Genealogy services to the UK. As the MD and CEO, he directed the growth of SBL from a 30-member team to a business conglomerate rendering geospatial, image editing, business transformation, and software services. Under the stewardship of Mr. Pillai, SBL has a successful photogrammetry division offering global LIDAR Building Information Modeling Service and a highly acclaimed eParliament solution – the first digital parliament of the world.

A Glorious Persona of Awards, Accolades, and Honours

A post-graduate in business management, Mr. Pillai is proud of the recognition and accolades his flagship venture, eParliament, has garnered. Himachal Pradesh government recognized the exemplary mission behind SBL’s eParliament with the highest civil service award, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has selected the project for implementation on mission mode across India.

A Global Leader in Digital Transformation

Sharing the inspiration behind his venturing into the digital niche, Mr. Pillai says that back in the early 2000’s India was emerging as a preferred global outsourcing destination. “During my decade-long career at Vardhman Group and as a business consultant with some of the leading global consulting groups, I was always eager to join India’s IT boom and bring technological growth to the country’s remote areas,” he reveals.

Seeing the way the emerging technology opportunities were getting limited to the Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities, Mr. Pillai was inspired to venture into the IT and BPO segment with a new business model that leverages the untapped potential in Tier-3 and Tier-4 cities. He reflects, “I believed this could transform the lives of the rural youth and increase their standard of living.” Motivated by this vision, he started SBL Knowledge Services in 2005 in a remote corner of India.

Today they are a global leader in digital transformation and a pioneer in building eco-friendly parliaments with historic achievements like the implementation of India’s first high-tech legislative assembly (eVidhan) and India’s first NeVA to their credit. He conveys, “Indeed, my biggest motivation is when I see SBL emerging as a platform for youth to innovate and contribute to technological progress.”

Partnership is in Our DNA

With vast experience in the legislative automation domain, SBL recommended a structured way of NeVA implementation for its successful rollout. The whole project scope was divided into six major steps, as detailed ahead,

*System study of overall requirements

Detailed Project Report (DPR) presented to each of the state assemblies for implementation of NeVA is a templated DPR (i.e., a DPR that is prepared chiefly with generic objectives and brief specifications without going into detailed requirements). Hence a detailed system study had to be carried out to assess IT hardware and networking requirements, and detailed architecture, Bill of materials, and specifications were arrived at.

NeVA is a centralized application developed with standard process flow in mind. To roll it out effectively in each State Legislative assemblies, a detailed system study is carried out to map NeVA process flow with respect to existing processes in the State Assembly. Business Process re-engineering is carried out, effecting minimal change to adapt NeVA to the State Legislative Assembly process flow. SBL coordinated with the NeVA team to carry out essential changes in the base code as well. An exhaustive workshop was carried out with all stakeholders to freeze all relevant process flows, and a detailed BRD document was made at the end of the System study.

*Implementation of NeVA

Implementation of NeVA is carried out in phases. In the first phase, all module workflows are created and tested in the Test server. All relevant stakeholders are practically trained on the test server. Once the users are familiar with and confident in the workflows, the module workflows are configured in the live server in the second phase.

In the third phase, before the start of a session, all modules used for the generation of the LOB, like Question processing, Notice processing, Bill Processing, etc., are brought live systematically. In phase four, during the session, in-house modules line eBooks, Business controller, Display controller, etc., are effectively deployed. In phase five, all relevant documents are published in the web portal. Finally, all hardware and Networking components are procured, installed, and commissioned as per phased requirements.

*Supply, Installation, and Commissioning of IT Infrastructure

Overall evaluation and study are made related to hardware, networking, and infrastructure areas, and the findings are documented in the BRD. Based on the proposal and BRD, SBL ensured procurement of top-of-the-line IT infrastructure components from reputed OEMs within the stipulated time frame and quality audited them before affecting supply. Furthermore, SBL engaged experienced supply chain management engineers for systematic OEM follow-up, as well as competent network engineers for timely installation and commissioning of the hardware, networking, and infrastructure. Apart from the standard BOM suggested by the NeVA team, additional items required to implement complete IT infrastructure are identified, and the same is procured and implemented in the assembly.

*Training Program for all Stakeholders

Every user of NeVA required detailed training in the NeVA application and domain. This is made possible by preparing a training calendar with the assembly’s core team; based on the same, detailed training is provided. This covers the officials of the assembly, honourable members, and other department users.

*Session management and operational support

All users of NeVA will require support to use the application, especially during the initial stages and during sessions. This is provided by the experienced resources of SBL.

*Project management

The success of the project depends on how effectively the project is managed. Therefore, SBL has deployed senior resources that have more than 20+ years of experience in project management and implementation. This ensured that the project was monitored by a central project management team and timely advices were provided to the onsite team for successful implementation.

Digital Mission Mode

Mr. Pillai and his SBL team’s approach to ensuring a successful implementation of NeVA was thorough. He states, “We followed a detailed step-by-step, incremental deployment approach for NeVA implementation. Our approach, starting from system study, BRD preparation, obtaining sign-off from stakeholders, analysis of hardware/networking requirements, detailed site survey related to civil, electrical, and other areas of work, detailed training plans, and clear-cut go-live plans covering every aspect of software and hardware, paved the way for successful implementation. This ensures that assembly is getting benefits and maximum ROI.”

According to him, there were significant immersive benefits of the services/solutions that his team provided to the Mizoram Legislative Assembly. SBL’s vast domain experience, system integration, and project management capabilities have resulted in the successful implementation of the application at the Mizoram Legislative Assembly. He elaborates, “Our onsite and offshore team consisting of resources with vast experience in software, hardware, assembly automation, and system integration helps the assembly to get the best solutions to the requirements raised.” In addition, SBL’s systematic approach and planning sessions with the concerned officials ensured that the assembly requirements were met accurately.

Ensuring End-to-End Global Business Digitalization

Being an experienced leader, Mr. Pillai shares his precisely astute opinions on how adopting modern technologies impacts the consultancy space and how SBL is adapting to the change. According to him, the incredible growth of SBL can be attributed to their foresight in embracing technology innovations and delivering customer-centric solutions for redesigning business processes. He informs, “We follow a well-defined training plan to upskill our team and ensure that they are updated with the latest in technology. Our research division continuously identifies critical business challenges and resolves them through advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, mobile communications, robotics, and eCommerce.”

In the changing scenario, on envisioning scaling brand SBLs operations and offerings in the future, Mr. Pillai divulges that with a strong emphasis on digital transformation initiatives, they plan to launch innovative products and services in IT and ITeS verticals. Since they are champions of green technology, they aim to spread awareness about the need for digitalizing not only the business sector but also government institutions. “We would like to position ourselves as industry leaders in the end-to-end digitalization of businesses and legislative bodies across the globe,” he states.

A Compassionate Wisdom

Born to a devout family in the Kollam district, his father, Mr. KP Pillai, was an ONGC employee, and his mother Mrs. Vasanthy, a housewife. Imbibing strong moral values from his parents, Mr. Pillai is a staunch follower of Shirdi Sai Baba, the great spiritual master of India. He follows Sai Baba’s teachings of love, forgiveness, compassion, charity, contentment, and devotion to God and the guru and sets an example for others. Keeping the values of his spiritual master alive, Mr. Pillai believes that the greatness of a person is not the money but the positive impact and benefits he can bring to the lives of others.

Similarly, Mr. Pillai’s advice to budding entrepreneurs aspiring to venture into the consultancy space is wise. He says, “Persistence is the key to success in any field of work and life; success comes from repeated hard work. There are no shortcuts. Do not be disheartened by setbacks; rather, train yourself to see an opportunity in every challenge. Be innovative and open to change, as it is imperative for survival in the digital era.”