The intricacies of ‘how’ and ‘why’ always fascinated me. How should a move be planned? Why should one set of possibilities weigh on the others? And, once I was ready with my set of recommendations, “so what” a small voice would ask in my head. It propelled me to dig deeper, and at every step, I discovered nuances that made me travel farther and farther in the realm of possibilities and strategies that lay behind every decision. Was this about certain, predictable outcomes or informed guesses? Were the unsolved mysteries of the world prone to the probe of human mind and vulnerable to logic, reasoning and calculated inferences? And could data, the millions of petabytes of information floating around the air we breathe, be the key to unlocking the deepest, darkest and even the most magnificent secrets of human existence? That became my quest.
How did I become a human of analytics? Well, it was not by chance of course! When most of my friends chose a more popular Marketing or highly lucrative Finance as a major during our MBA days, I stuck to Strategy – a deliberate choice. I began my career with a humble consulting start up. Later, I got a chance to hone this fascination, analyzing manufacturing company indices at Aditya Birla Group Corporate Management Services Division.
Back in 2006, I got a chance to join DSAS – Decision Support and Analytics Services, a nascent practice at HP. It was the incubation center of sorts for all the analytics crazy minds. Those were the early days of analytics, and we were just getting the taste of a world to come.
Today, if we look around; one could easily see a member of our team leading analytics endeavors in almost all major companies across the globe. It is both a satisfying and gratifying feeling. From the shoots of supporting business decisions, our small but well-knit team went on to define analytics based business strategies for large enterprises. From being an enabler to a decisive factor, the journey has been exhilarating.
More than a decade on, we have indeed arrived in the era of data and data sciences where every day new disciplines and practices are emerging. What keeps me thrilled and engaged is the picture that’s going to emerge as our focus shifts towards human and machine relationships. Amazing right? We talk about human relationships today but sooner the focus will be on human – machine relationship. And that is what keeps me motivated at Accenture, where in the past six plus years I have seen analytics mature from a statistical discipline to the computer science heavy Artificial Intelligence sciences, a decisive force that dictates not only businesses but human life in general.
Who am I outside of work? Well for me, teaching is something that takes me back to the roots. I am a visiting faculty with a few IIMs. Teaching comforts and challenges me at the same time. It’s sort of a de-stressing exercise and many of my weekends are spent with students who are pursuing analytics as a discipline. Seeing them inclined to the world of numbers, I can envision future already knocking on our doors.
Like every other person, my life is simply divided between work and home. In my free time, I would rather watch comedies and share a hearty laugh over a sumptuous meal. Friends, family, food and my idiot box – TV (to my wife’s chagrin) make my universe.
I would love my six-year-old son to learn coding – as Jack Welch says, ‘humans must learn to speak to machines and thus learn its language.’ But my wife, with her right brain inclination, would rather have him pursue languages. We are still arguing about it while Ashwath, happily doodles fairies with long hair and creates funny characters with interesting stories to have us overwhelmed.
Meet Mahesh Narayan: Educationist, Sitcom Fan, and Analytics Enthusiast
You can follow me on twitter @mahesh_narayan (https://twitter.com/mahesh_narayan)