Dinesh Pillai - CEO - Mahindra SSG
Dinesh Pillai – CEO – Mahindra SSG

Mahindra SSG, is India’s leading corporate risk management consulting firm that helps organizations reduce business risks and enhance competitive advantage. As the CEO of Mahindra SSG, Mr. Pillai defines the road map for all business risk security assessments and innovation. Under his dynamic leadership Mahindra SSG has created a global footprint with successful project implementation in over 200 organizations.

  • Team Estrade: Tell us about Mahindra SSG and your current responsibility as CEO?

Mr. Pillai: Mahindra Special Services Group is a strategic division of Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd., a company which provides distinct defence solutions. Parent company Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd. is a 100% subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

Mahindra Special Services Group is the market leader in corporate security risk consulting. All our services are focussed at cutting down risk quotient and building competitive advantage for our clients. As information becomes vital for any business organization, our advisory helps our clients to safeguard their physical and information assets. We provide our services across the country and key locations across the world. Our differentiation comes from our team which comprises retired senior defence officials and other domain experts.

My current responsibility is to continuously work on company’s vision and service portfolio in an extremely dynamic business environment. I also try to nurture the right team, culture and capabilities to exceed the expectations of our existing as well as future clients. The company has set some significant milestones for the future and I am responsible to oversee progress towards these milestones.

  • Team Estrade: What are Mahindra SSG’s domain expertise & core competency?

Mr. Pillai: As stated earlier, the company provides advisory for security of critical physical as well as digital assets. Some of the most significant services from us are:- Information Security Management Services, PSP (Physical Security Practice) Service, Managed Information Security Services, Technology Advisory, Infrastructure Security and Surveillance, Smart Cities  and Forensic Advisory services. Our core competence is to highly customize our services to suit the specific business needs of clients.

  • Team Estrade: How do you stay on top of the changes and developments taking place in your field?

Mr. Pillai: Like every industry, ours is also subject to constant headwinds and developments. To stay abreast with these, we have got several small research teams. These teams feed our client servicing teams with the latest industry insights. On the other hand, client servicing teams also bring back client specific insights as they deal more and more with the clients. We encourage a collaborative environment in our company which triggers knowledge sharing. This knowledge sharing keeps us updated and relevant in the industry.

“Our client can be assured that we not only provide solutions for their existing security issues but can assess and mitigate the future risk even before it actually arises”

  • Team Estrade: How concerned are your clients about security issues, and what solutions does your company provide to help them to alleviate their concerns?

Mr. Pillai: Be it the security of the physical infrastructure or the digital assets, today it is one of the most important concerns for all corporates. All these assets are built with significant investment of time and money and in many cases; these represent the core competence for their business. Hence, it is better to invest on the security of these assets rather than recovery in case of any damage. The range of our advisory service portfolio covers all the potential risks that may come their way and provide them with the best solutions to mitigate these. Moreover, our service portfolio is not static but continuously evolving to address the newer security concerns. Hence, once a client signs up with us, they can be assured that we not only provide solutions for their existing security issues but can assess and mitigate the future risk even before it actually arises.

  • Team Estrade: Do you find that companies are receptive when it comes to instilling a security culture rather than simply addressing issues on a case-by-case or piecemeal basis?

Mr. Pillai: Hence, when we advise our clients, it is always to nurture a culture of security, be it the security of their assets, intellectual property, or operations. In my experience, the culture of security comes to the companies as they progress on the learning curve with us. In a large number of cases we see that they initially address these issues on case to case basis but as we work with them, they are more sensitized about these issues and want to develop a long lasting culture of security.

“As government collaborate and learn about the global best practices and what suits for our country/state, we can move closer towards establishing a national culture for corporate security.”

  • Team Estrade: How would a company go about creating a strong top-to-bottom security culture?

Mr. Pillai: You may call me old school fellow but I wholeheartedly believe that the security culture starts from the top and trickles down to the bottom of any organization. So, it is the leadership team which needs to establish the security related values, pass it to the middle management to develop the security framework, and the rest of the system can follow these norms. In order to have a full proof system, it is also important to have constant monitoring of the operations and the upgradation of the existing security norms. It might seem significant time and resource investment but the long terms rewards totally justify this investment.

  • Team Estrade: How can government & private bodies work parallelly to resolve the concerns of corporate security?

Mr. Pillai: I see a lot of opportunities for these sectors to work together. The government bodies are expected to bring up the regulations which address various security concerns regarding corporate security. These regulations should always be extensively discussed and debated with the private sector (who is actually supposed to use and benefit from these). Knowledge sharing is another area where stakeholders from government and private sector can work together. As they collaborate and learn about the global best practices and what suits for our country/state, we can move closer towards establishing a national culture for corporate security. Once we have this culture in place, a lot of our present corporate security concerns will automatically be taken care.

  • Team Estrade: Please shed some light on your roadmap for next 5 years?

Mr. Pillai: In the next 5 years, Mahindra Special Services Group will work on consolidating its existing service portfolio as well as adding many more new services basis the evolving needs to our clients. We already have a strong presence in the Indian market and we will try to further strengthen it. We have already started our services at some locations outside the country and in the next 3-5 years, we would like to further expand outside India. Hence, I can say that we are looking for both, geographical as well as portfolio expansion.

Mahindra SSG: On a Geographical Portfolio expansion mode