Sahil Sharma, the Business Development Head, and Ravi Jethwani, CFO at Innovations Group, speak about the opportunities 2022 will bring along
How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
Sahil: By the start of 2021 everyone knew how to deal with the new normal. Businesses have been quite cost-conscious and the same was the case with us. With a focus on EXPO, Govt. projects were put on hold and E&I (Energy and Infrastructure) business was impacted. We as an organization had a good year as we focussed more on to Logistics & Health Care sector that enhanced our revenues for 2021.
Ravi: In general, it was a good year for our company. While H1 was flat, H2 saw a good momentum as travel restrictions were lifted by most of the countries which enabled a lot of businesses to grow and move toward the recovery phase.
What sort of opportunities did 2021 bring along?
Sahil: Logistics, E-Commerce, and Last-Mile Delivery were the sectors where the market wanted companies like us to support with more delivery boys, warehouse staff as the demand was much more than the supply. This was the right time for us to start an entity that is now supporting last-mile delivery solutions.
Ravi: 2021 was a unique year for us as it gave us opportunities to work with different sectors (Federal Government, Logistics, delivery services, Expo 2020) due to the shortage of skilled manpower present in the country.
Did you face any challenges in 2021?
Sahil: Our cost of operations increased significantly because of safety measures and restrictions for Covid. Retention of business and margins was another challenge as most of the customers were asking for price cuts. With flight restrictions, we had no option of sourcing talent other than the candidate community that is within the UAE, which wasn’t sufficient to meet the demands of our customers.
Ravi: Yes. In our business, the influx of manpower in GCC happens from Asian markets. The big challenge was to fulfill the manpower requirements as most Asian countries had travel restrictions for most of 2021.
What were your key achievements in 2021?
Sahil: Our employees are very important for our business, and we did not lose any in-house employees. We started a delivery company, a new entity, and did well in the first year.
Ravi: Despite all the challenges we faced in 2021, we successfully grew our business by 7% on top line. We were also awarded a few big contracts for infrastructure projects.
What promises does 2022 bring along?
Sahil: Many government projects are likely to open and we anticipate a spike in revenues for Energy and Infrastructure vertical. We are quite hopeful of growing our business at relatively better ratios than the previous years. We plan to hire over 4000 staff for our customers across the business.
Ravi: To recruit more people from non-Asian markets mainly African countries.
Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening?
Sahil: With Qatar preparing for FIFA World Cup and KSA revolutionising, we expect these markets to have huge demands of a workforce that shall expand our business in the region.
Ravi: Yes, we have already expanded in GCC markets.
According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
Sahil: With loads of data, it is imperative for every business to use relevant tech for data analytics in order to make smart business decisions.
What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
Sahil: Retaining employees and increasing productivity by aligning with the UAE’s mandate of a new work week. We will focus on expansion, specialisation, and diversification.
Ravi: Expansion and diversification will remain the core focus.
What milestones have you set for 2022?
Sahil: To be considered as one of the leading HR services organizations across APAC and EU. We would be expanding in Eastern Europe and GCC.
Ravi: To increase brand awareness globally by using different marketing tools.
What would you like to do differently in 2022, when compared with 2021?
Sahil: Give more focus to quality, health, safety, and environment. To help our clients succeed in their businesses, we plan to provide managed services solutions in some industries.