Making sure we never fail our clients again

Dinesh Modi

Chief Financial Officer

November 5, 2020

The CACTUS Way #1: Make your customer succeed; set no limit to what you can do.


“How can we stop this from happening to our clients in the future?”

A simple question that changed the way we work.

In October 2019, the Mumbai office had started experiencing power fluctuations. This office housed a majority of CACTUS’s workforce and these interruptions were proving to be an inconvenience. Power fluctuations in India are not uncommon. Things are usually back up and running in a few minutes. The Admin team followed protocol and reported these fluctuations to the power company.

One afternoon, after a major power fluctuation, our UPS, some firewalls, servers, internet lines, and all phone lines went down and some 35 air conditioners, across the office were badly affected. The office was without power for 5 hours during the busiest time of the day. The customer service team was the most affected because they could not contact customers. It was chaos!

When we assessed the situation, we realized what had happened. Each time there was a power fluctuation, the IT team would reboot the system. This happened too many times and it eventually led to a short circuit, which brought down the entire power system, including the UPS, and with it the communications and IT infrastructure.

The IT team burnt the midnight oil to bring all systems back up. At 4 am the next day, they rebooted all systems and by 6 am, the power, internet, and firewalls were back up. Things were back to normal. Blaming the power company would have been the easiest thing to do and we would have gone about our business as usual. But Vikas (Narang, Chief Operating Officer and Head, Editage) and Aneesha (Jaisheel, Vice President, Customer Service) made us think again. Our systems had been down for 5 hours and the business impact of these hours lost was massive. It affected not only our revenue but also the trust of our customers. “What exactly happened, and how can we stop this from happening to our clients again?” they asked.

For 3 months, the IT team and I went over every detail. We analyzed everything that went wrong, every mistake we made, and how we could have prevented the systems failure. It dawned upon us that we had to do things differently. We had to change the way the IT team functions. This introspection helped us understand the purpose a professional IT team is supposed to serve.

After several weeks of discussions and deliberations, we concluded that many issues were a result of the IT infrastructure being too dependent on the physical environment. Our data center was located in the building. It was managed by the IT team, but the team would have been helpless if the building’s power system went down or our access to the building was restricted, say, due to floods. We decided to move all of our data to the cloud and get rid of physical systems. It was a massive undertaking. One immediate next step was installing cloud-based applications like Microsoft OneDrive, moving all our file servers to the cloud, and installing Teams for the entire workforce so that we could work from anywhere and on any system.

This measure proved to be a blessing when Cactizens across locations had to work from home on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown. The move was made seamless with the help of the measures we had taken after the incident in October. It’s heartening to see that we are becoming a company that can now deal with difficult situations and are not easily shaken by external circumstances, not even a pandemic. IT infrastructure is often intangible and taken for granted as long as it serves its purpose. Our IT professionals are always on their toes, trying to ensure you have a seamless experience and don’t find anything amiss. This episode brought forth their commitment to serving both their customers—Cactizens and our end-clients. And even today, they continue to work behind the scenes to bring you everything you need.


This writeup is part of a series called The CACTUS Way Leader Stories. The CACTUS Way is what we collectively call our 8 guiding principles. We asked the senior cadre at CACTUS to share personal experiences where they practiced or identified with these guiding principles. These stories of struggle and reinvention, despair and hope, conflict and collaboration, and self-doubt and self-discovery make for an interesting read.

Learn more about The CACTUS Way here:

By Dinesh Modi


Chief Financial Officer

Dinesh brings with him a rich and hands-on experience of over 20 years across various domains like corporate finance, planning and budgeting, strategy, operations management, fundraising, IT, and M&A. He has worked extensively in the United States of America as well as in India in multiple organizations such as BearingPoint, M. C. Dean, Eros International Media, WNS, Prana Studios, and Modiguard. Having engaged with a range of different business houses, he has helped streamline finance and operational processes, enhancing efficiency and bottom-line. A qualified Chartered Accountant and a Certified Public Accountant (USA), Dinesh brings a healthy mix of knowledge and hands-on skills. Combined with a strong business acumen and an entrepreneurial approach, he possesses exceptional leadership skills.

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