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Employee Spotlight: Sourjya Rudra

At Akili, we have many interesting and talented professionals contributing to our success from all of our locations! This week we’re highlighting one of our Atlanta-based employees, Sourjya!

Tell us more about your role and what you like most about it.

As a Business Planning Consultant, I get to wear a variety of hats during a project. While the primary work is developing Anaplan solutions for our clients, there are various roles to play during an engagement and that’s what is so great about consulting in general, no two days are ever the same.

Akili is full of people that are extremely knowledgeable in their area of expertise and having that deep knowledge within the company makes it great for someone who is starting out their career.

What drew you to Akili? Is Akili what was described to you and what you expected?

I was introduced to Akili through a mutual friend and what I instantly recognized was the deep expertise people had across all levels for a company of this size. Akili has an on-boarding process that rivals big-name competitors which I believe sets everyone up for success when put on an engagement.

What is also great about the people that work here is the respect for personal time and the desire to have fun while you are working. There is definitely a work hard / play hard mentality here and it’s refreshing to see a company that follows that motto as well as many other principles that make Akili a stand-out company to be a part of.

What’s your favorite Akili memory?

Right before coming onboard at Akili, I got a chance to meet everyone at the annual summer party. I instantly felt welcomed by everyone I met and it was such a great first experience and intro into the company. I had a friend that I brought along as a guest and she even recognized how genuine and fun everyone seemed. Fast forward to the first day of work, I was instantly plugged in and felt like there was a support system and someone to always reach out to if I needed the help.

What makes Akili stand out from the rest?

I’ve alluded to the culture here are Akili already, but I’ll emphasize that it’s rare to see people that live by and practice the culture at a company. It’s something that everyone from the top down lives and breathes by and it makes it very easy for a new employee to recognize this firm is genuine and really cares about its people and the work it delivers.

What advice do you have for prospective candidates?

  1. Bringing your authentic self to the table is valued at Akili and at the end of the day, people want you to have fun while doing the work you’re doing.
  2. Having a desire to continuously improve and be better than the day before is demanded and respected and part of why Akili has been so successful in growing in the short time that I have been here. Everyone from the top down is dedicated to getting better and growing in their respective roles, you should be too.

What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?

I know I’m one of the younger ones at Akili, but I conceptually can’t imagine or remember a life without a search engine. That and Google Maps. I’m not sure how I’d live my life without either.

How do you like to spend your free time? / What are you passionate about?

I love outdoor hiking / camping trips. I have a few friends that get together just about every year and go on a week-long trip somewhere. I have a few favorite places I’ve been to, but the most recent favorite was Glacier National Park. There are trails that take you to the glaciers themselves while giving you views you could only dream of. There is something satisfying and freeing in knowing that you’re going to wake up and your only option for that day is to pack up and walk however many miles to your next destination (Or else you’re just stuck on a mountain).

Personal finance is a topic I am really passionate about. I nerd out on personal finance books and blogs and it’s a topic more people need to talk about. Understanding finances can be the difference between living a good life and a great life and it’s not a complicated topic. All the personal finance knowledge the average person needs can be fit on an index card, anything more and it is my opinion that you’ve overcomplicated it and you’re probably hurting your future self.

Motto or personal mantra?

“Aim for significance over success”

I feel lucky to have realized at a fairly young age that striving for success isn’t really as fulfilling as striving for significance. I’ve seen and read about a lot of people achieve success in life but later regret not having truly made an impact in the way they wanted. The definition of significance and success is different for everyone, but what’s important is making sure it is defined for yourself.

One of best decisions I ever made was to become a teacher right out of college with an organization called Teach for America. No matter how challenging that time was, I walked away from the classroom knowing what it felt like to make a difference and achieve something that I thought was significant.

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How to achieve end user adoption during an Anaplan project

By Josh Huilar | Senior Business Planning Consultant

What does end user adoption look like?

To me, end user adoption is when a company is using an implemented solution years later; furthermore, the solution has evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of the company.

Why is end user adoption important?

Believe it or not, many customers invest in a solution and never use it. End user adoption maximizes your company’s return on investment.

How can your company achieve end user adoption?

I suggest the following actions:

  • Commit
  • Engage
  • Dedicate
  • Train
  • Evolve

Commit

Do not implement a half-baked solution. Everyone wants a fully automated solution until they see the sticker price. I do not advise implementing a fully automated solution because business needs will change, but invest in a solution that is seamless enough so that someone new can jump right in.

Engage

The biggest risk to end user adoption is an organization not being engaged in the implementation of a solution. Anaplan is a tool, not a cure-all. Your company chose Anaplan because it has pain points it is trying to solve. Maybe it is enabling more efficient processes that will give employees their nights and weekends back. Whatever the reasons, stay engaged by focusing on the end goal.

Dedicate

If you use Excel in your everyday job, expect to use Anaplan just as much. It is easy to get caught up in your day-to-day job tasks. Make it a goal to dedicate 15 minutes a day to something Anaplan related. You will soon discover that 15 minutes can easily turn into an hour. Before you know it, you will be comfortable with Anaplan.

Train

Your initial set of users know Anaplan, but what about the people after them? Create an internal Center Of Excellence (COE) team to maintain, support, and enhance Anaplan. This team will be accountable for creating standard work documentation, training videos, and hosting training workshops.

Evolve

Companies choose Anaplan because it is flexible. Why? Because as your business evolves, Anaplan can evolve with it. Be aware and comfortable with the fact that Anaplan won’t look the same two years from now.

End user adoption will never be “complete”. It is an iterative process that requires an investment of time and a high level of accountability from you and your organization to ensure its success.

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Akili Wins for the Fifth Time!

Akili was named one of the 2019 Best Companies to Work for in Texas. Known for their expertise in implementing Enterprise Performance Management solutions, this is their fifth time receiving this award. The awards program is a project of Texas Monthly magazine, the Texas Association of Business (TAB), the Texas State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management (TSC-SHRM) and Best Companies Group.

Made up of 100 companies, the 2019 Best Companies to Work for in Texas was designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best places of employment in Texas, benefiting the state’s economy, workforce and business.

“In a world that has never spun so fast, business decisions have to be made quickly and have to be data driven rather than gut driven. Akili helps companies to make those decisions by implementing world class Sales, Operations, Supply Chain and Financial Planning Solutions,” said Shiek Shah, CEO of Akili. “I am most proud of this award out of all the accolades we receive, as this is based on employee surveys and not driven by financials or growth. For a professional services company like ours, our employees are our assets and we are absolutely committed to ensuring that we provide the best environment for them to thrive in.”

Companies from across the great state entered the two-part process to determine the Best Companies to Work for in Texas. The first part of the process represents 25 percent of the total evaluation and measures each company’s workplace policies, practices and demographics. Counting for 75 percent of the overall evaluation is the most crucial and telling, the employee survey. This survey consists of a series of questions that measure the employee experience and satisfaction. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking.

Akili was recognized and honored at the Best Companies to Work for in Texas awards ceremony as part of the Texas Association of Business Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. The rankings (Akili came in at 17th) will also be released in a special advertising section of Texas Monthly.

Akili fosters a strong culture of investing in employees and developing an environment that values them as individuals, provides the support of a team and enables employees to pursue their career goals without restraint. Akili’s vision is to create a work environment that gives employees the opportunity, encouragement, and recognition they need to truly excel at what they do.