Mediabrief.com caught up with Vinay Bhartia – Head for Lark in India, and who is responsible for the brand’s complete go-to-market strategy, which he has led with strategic aggression during the still-ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in India
Vinay brings more than 20 years of experience in the technology and logistics industries, Vinay has a long history of driving innovation, growing disruptive initiatives and strategic partnerships with numerous organizations in technology and logistics industries. He joined Lark from Alibaba Group where he headed DingTalk and was instrumental in the business growth and acquisition strategy.
Collaborative online tools will deliver sustained value even after the lockdown, says Vinay Bhartia of @Larksuite India. Click To Tweet
Vinay also brings much value from his entrepreneurial experience, having co-founded Diamond Threads & Machines and MYPACCO – an integrated logistics solutions company.
We caught up with the man who’s been taking Lark’s next generation communication and collaborative suite combining multiple essential tools in a single interconnected platform to market in a locked-down India which is working hard from home.
Vinay, whose role includes managing and growing the company’s operations and businesses in India, speaks about what sets Lark apart from other online collaborative tools suites, what it is offering to businesses and individuals, its special initiatives to help power education during the lock-down, on how it is ensuring the protection of data and cyber security of its users, and how the role of collaborative platforms will evolve once the lockdown is lifted. And more. Excerpts:
In these days of great demand, tell us about Lark as a solution and what sets it apart from other collaboration tools available online? What are the tools it offers in a single consolidated platform?
The outbreak of COVID-19 virus has certainly led to significant economic and business hiatus across the world. Organizations are rapidly adopting work from home to stay abreast and ensure business continuity in these trying times.
Lark has passed some of the most authoritative and dependable information security standards in the world, including ISO 27701, ISO 27018, ISO 27001, SOC 2 and SOC 3 certifications. We are now certified to ISO 27701, the international standard for Privacy Information Management: Bhartia
The scenario has caused a surge in the use of remote collaboration tools to connect people across geographies and help work in tandem. Lark, which is a next generation communication and collaborative suite, combines essential tools including Chat, Video Conferencing, Live Streaming, Calendar, Documents AND Sheets and Cloud storage in a single interconnected platform.
Since these essential tools are integrated in a single suite, consumers can avoid juggling between applications and hence ensure productivity.
Lark’s free version comes with unlimited video calls (complete with advanced screen sharing and recording functions), 200 GB of cloud storage, online collaborative docs and sheets, a smart calendar, a powerful messenger, unlimited third-party app integrations, and customizable attendance / approval workflows.
For large companies that have special need for customized customer success service, Lark provides a paid enterprise version as well as value-added services. Lark is an affordable suite that makes remote collaboration seamless, mobile-friendly and enjoyable.
You recently announced you were making Lark free for all organizations in India. What is the business model to sustain generate revenue in the long run?
In April 2020, we made an announcement of making our enterprise-grade suite free for all individuals and organizations across verticals. This helped enable organizations regardless of size to operate effectively with no additional cost: Bhartia
For large companies that have special customized requirement, Lark provides a paid enterprise version with value added services. We believe that our business model is sound and sustainable in the long run. Currently, instead of profit, we are more focused on improving our product to enhance the user experience and increase our user base. We are constantly working to improve our product in order to fulfill our users’ needs.
In terms of partnerships, we have 3 partner programs: distributor, reseller, and ISV. We will increase our network to work with more distributors to ensure Lark suite reaches to all professionals who require one-platform solution for all their office needs.
How is Lark helping businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations to continue operations remotely?
With work from home becoming the new norm, organizations have adopted digital communication tools to stay relevant in these trying times.
Lark as an integrated communication tool specifically addresses virtual office needs and enables easy collaboration for them.
The free services are empowering educators and students to continue their studies out of classrooms, start-ups and large businesses to continue their services and individuals to connect and collaborate.
We are excited about the India opportunity and that we are able to contribute to the growing ecosystem. For instance, Lark is supporting an Indian education company called MPTA, which is dedicated to providing On Job Training (OJT) to thousands of young Indians from rural populations: Bhartia
With Lark’s scalability and ease-of-use, it has allowed their team to be agile, offer better opportunities to youths and scale programs across India.
Another example I would like to highlight is where Lark is supporting an EdTech company called Stones2Milestones (S2M) that is committed to empower students in India to become proficient English speakers. Lark is providing the advanced solutions to facilitate communication between its teams of facilitators and educators across India.
We are building a culture of effective communication.
Lark is offering its services to individuals, business, educational institutes as well. Is there a plan within the same to target more verticals in the time to come?
We started our operations in India in August 2019 and since then, our list of clients is growing across verticals. We are working with clients across the spectrum, including Retail, Manufacturing, Education, Social Services, FMCG, Corporate and Financial Services.
Lark operates across businesses and supports small and large teams for seamless online collaboration and business continuity.
Our platform is also equipped to support varied verticals offering seamless, mobile friendly technology. Customers and organizations of different sizes are using Lark and we are providing all support and services needed during these crucial times.
How is Lark ensuring data and privacy security and of its consumers?
At Lark, the security of user services and data is of paramount importance.
To ensure that we provide our consumers with the best features enabled with highest measures of security, Lark has passed some of the most authoritative and dependable information security standards in the world, including ISO 27701, ISO 27018, ISO 27001, SOC 2 and SOC 3 certifications. We are now certified to ISO 27701, the international standard for Privacy Information Management.
Also, Lark ensures business security allowing only authorized team to invite, add or delete users to Lark for the company. This ensures relevant teams are getting relevant information in a secure manner. Moreover, when an employee leaves, he/she is automatically removed from all work groups instantly with no access to any past or present communication.
Lark protects client’s data with the strongest infrastructure available— in any region with built-in security service and 24×7 emergency response.
What do you think will be the role of collaborative platforms once the lock-down is lifted?
The current scenario has provided a strong foundation for organizations to take a leap, adopt and integrate digital technologies to perform business functions. Companies have started to gain experience and realize how remote processes can be managed and executed effectively as remote working has become mainstream and attained mass acceptance.
All these new and upcoming changes have made businesses contemplate how to gain more value out of the present models.
Corporate heads also realize the flexibility office automation tools provide which help them in managing costs effectively. Collaborative platforms like Lark are empowering professionals to become more productive and adopt new age tools and solutions.
Once the lock down is over, businesses will be more accepting to this change because of its pliability and potential, and more will adopt this new style of working.