Could you share a bit about yourself and your career before Poppulo?
I consider myself a technologist, an engineer, and above all a problem solver. Throughout my career, I have worked across a wide range of business domains from Financial Services to e-commerce Technology, building a variety of products from low latency and high-frequency trading systems to big data analytics.
I am based in the New York metro area and before coming to Poppulo, I was a Senior Engineering Manager at Amazon, where I ran an Engineering and Product development organization responsible for one of Amazon’s main analytics products powering their retail business. For a decade prior to that, I ran various engineering teams in Morgan Stanley’s electronic trading business.
I started my career in India over 20 years ago as a Software Engineer at Infosys, an IT services company in India. I hold a Master’s degree in Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA, and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Bangalore University, India.
Can you tell us more about Poppulo and your role there?
Poppulo is a pioneer in enterprise communications experience software. Our mission and ultimate goal is to connect people and achieve more together. Hence we call our platform Harmony.
I am the Chief Technology Officer at the company, and I am responsible for product development, engineering, architecture, AI, research, data science and technical program management.
What do you enjoy most about working in this industry?
This industry is all about connecting people. In the current climate, where the workplace has changed drastically, enterprises are so distributed and interpersonal connections have reduced so much, communication is everything. As leaders, our ability to reach our audience anywhere, anytime and on any platform is key. The power of creating a cohesive and effective organization through our software is very inspiring and is what drives me.
Could you introduce us to your Harmony Platform? What are its distinguishing features?
The Poppulo Harmony platform helps enterprise organizations achieve more by effortlessly connecting their employees, customers, and workplaces through omnichannel employee communications, digital signage, and workplace management. The scalability of our email software and extensibility of our signage platform, with its sophisticated admin center, and the combination of all these channels puts us in a unique position to define this market.
Which industry domains does Poppulo mostly cater to?
Poppulo’s 4,500+ customer base is representative of the world’s most successful companies, including 47 of the Fortune 100. We have strong coverage across key verticals like Manufacturing, Hospitality, Financial and Business Services, Retail and Banking, Healthcare, Education, Transportation, Government, Insurance, Utilities and Telecommunication.
How, according to you, is AI impacting business communications?
Before the huge strides in the last 12 months or so, the application of AI was most prevalent in data analytics and recommendations. In addition, it was subjected to the expertise built in house, and homegrown machine learning models. But now, AI is available to all as a service. The applications of AI have expanded to so many dimensions such as, content creation, templates, visualization, development tooling and insights. This is making business communications more effective, relevant, and accessible.
How does omnichannel comms impact the employee experience?
The biggest aspect employees look for in the current climate is flexibility. This applies to work style, presence in the office as well as communications. Therefore, with omnichannel, we are increasing the reach of our comms, getting to employees, anywhere, anytime, and on any device. This increases the effectiveness of the comms, and creates a more engaged enterprise.
What do you believe brands should do more of when it comes to scaling a business in a competitive tech market?
Brands need to ensure they evolve their core offering to stay with the market, while anchoring their core proposition. In addition, they need to stay nimble to cater to the changing ways customers use their products. Growth is important as we scale, but growing profitably, ensuring an optimal cost structure and free cash flow will be another important factor. Lastly, the tech landscape is changing rapidly, particularly with the opportunities presented by generative AI. This is an enabler to scale the business, and to hire and retain talent. Brands should certainly assess how their products and organizations can leverage this, while balancing the risks that are also inherent with these new technologies.
Could you give us a sneak peek into the next growth phase of Poppulo?
Poppulo is in an exciting growth phase. We are driven to create the most seamless omnichannel communication experience for our customers. We are excited to be expanding our AI and intelligence capabilities so they can leverage the latest technological enhancements to boost their productivity and deliver high-impact programs more easily.
What is the one book that most impacted your career? Why?
One book that comes to mind is The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. The point of the book is how small changes at key moments have a sweeping impact. This is particularly relevant now, with the explosion of AI capabilities in the market. In my career, I have looked for opportunities to anchor on the most impactful change, the circumstances, and the people available to effect that change. As a big takeaway from the book, I focus on the small factors rather than the size of change needed.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to business leaders?
My advice in this climate is to be adaptable. The climate is changing on us constantly, and ways of working are challenged all the time. Identifying and cultivating the leaders in your organizations that can wear multiple hats, see different perspectives and don’t settle for status quo will be vital to continuously review priorities, and execute to drive the most impactful outcomes.
Abhi Anantharaman, Chief Technology Officer, Poppulo
Abhi Anantharaman serves as the Chief Technology Officer of Poppulo and he brings more than 20 years of software engineering experience to the role, working across industries such as Financial Services and Technology, building a variety of products from low latency, high-frequency trading systems to big data analytics products for e-commerce. Most recently, Abhi served as Poppulo’s Senior Vice President, Head of Engineering, where he was responsible for product development, engineering, architecture, AI, research, data science, and more. Previously, Abhi held software development and engineering leadership roles at Amazon and Morgan Stanley. Abhi holds a Master’s degree in Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon University, USA, and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Bangalore University, India.