Leading DataFlow Group‘s ambitious approach to achieving its business strategies, Sunil Kumar, the organisation’s CEO, has enjoyed many successes since he took the helm of the leading global provider of Primary Source Verification (PSV) solutions and risk management services in 2018.
The dynamic leader has over 25 years of experience in manufacturing, finance and professional services industries. He is a results-driven, seasoned executive with extensive industry knowledge. Prior to joining DataFlow Group, Kumar held COO and CFO roles with Deutsche Bank, Genpact, and General Electric. He is a certified management accountant and holds a master’s degree in Accounting and Law.
Kumar grew up as a sportsperson, playing badminton and cricket for his school, college and university. That has made him competitive, and he is always up for a healthy competition. While a background in competitive sport means he does not like to lose, what is clear is that Kumar would never compromise his integrity or values in order to win. He credits his success, in part, to simplifying life and business complexities.
“I believe in facts and simple data-based thinking. We as human beings make life more complicated than it has to be, but people should start thinking more simply. Facts and data speak for themselves. I never planned my long-term career; I just knew that I wanted to go into finance, which was a natural fit for me,” asserted Kumar.
The Transition from Finance to Data Verification
Kumar has always been curious about new things, and he loves to learn about new cultures and interact with different people. Before he moved to Dubai six years ago, he held finance roles within General Electric and Deutsche Bank in India, and Genpact in Budapest and Manila. When the opportunity to join DataFlow Group arose, he was ready to embrace the challenge and step outside of his comfort zone. He shared that it is only by saying yes to new things and meeting challenges head-on that growth happens, and the leader truly believes that no matter where people are in their life or career, growth should always be a priority.
“When I was asked to join DataFlow Group, my experience in data verification was limited. However, that was what really excited me. I saw this role as an opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives as they built careers, moved countries, and took exciting steps in their life’s journeys,” says Kumar.
What does DataFlow Group do?
DataFlow Group verifies documents submitted by people when they change jobs, move countries, or switch locations. At first glance, it may appear the organisation is carrying out a policing role – either saying yes or no after reviewing applications. However, Kumar sees DataFlow Group’s role as much more important than that. The verification services the organisation provides allow people to start the next chapter in their lives – playing an essential role in their ability to seize new opportunities. To DataFlow Group’s clients, the company is a trusted partner helping them make crucial recruitment decisions, giving them the information they need to make well-informed decisions about who will join their teams and contribute to their future successes.
While the company has a varied client base, DataFlow Group works extensively with government entities and healthcare providers. Considering the sectors DataFlow Group serves, it is critical that the right people are in the right job.
Kumar explained, “Of course, you want the most qualified doctors, nurses, teachers, and caregivers looking after you and your family, and that is always at the forefront. We are committed to ensuring the communities we live and work in can access the best and brightest of the professions who apply through DataFlow Group.”
Awards & Milestones
Kumar and his team have achieved a great deal of recognition. In 2019, Dubai Health Authority acknowledged DataFlow Group for its important role in the launch of its new licensing system for healthcare specialists and facilities. In 2021, Business Worldwide Magazine named Kumar as the Best CEO in the Global Risk Services Industry, demonstrating how important a role Kumar and his team play in the verification of people’s documents and how this process helps clients around the world mitigate recruitment risks.
From the Founder’s Desk
Discussing what motivates and drives Kumar, he said, “Our work protects the substance of society, and if I could impart one universal truth to educate anyone who reads this, it would be: do not lie on an application and never alter your documents to deceive. The truth, how you present yourself, and what information you provide is the only truth you have in this life, nothing else. That really motivates me when I get up in the morning.
“We can help people to get to more countries, build careers, and improve their lives. To further this mission, we have created and launched TrueProfile.io. Most providers verify every document each time a person changes role or relocates. We designed TrueProfile to streamline this process, allowing people to verify their documents only once while being able to demonstrate the authenticity of those documents as many times as they need to. In essence, it provides them with a career passport that is going to give them access to countless opportunities all over the world.”
Major Hurdles To Navigate and Overcome
Kumar concedes the industry is facing challenges, stating that while innovations are happening, they are occurring in pockets. He said that although the industry should be highly automated, 90% of verification still happens manually. The pace of change is very, very slow. Another challenge is a result of cross-border migration – each country, each region has different regulations, and they are not complementary to each other, so standardised processes are not always possible.
Significance of Technology
Technology has played a significant role in DataFlow Group’s success and the organisation continues to roll out new technology to help applicants and clients. The TrueProfile.io platform means a person only needs to get their documents verified once. It uses blockchain technology, so security, privacy, and reliability are inherent.
“Someone might change jobs seven times in 35 years of working, and through traditional verification methods, the verification of the degree is carried out seven times even though the applicant has only qualified once. It’s a waste of resources, time and is grossly inefficient. Of course, it’s good business for verification providers, but are we really helping the larger issue? We asked ourselves this question and knew there had to be a better way that didn’t sacrifice quality but empowered people to take charge of their careers,” said Kumar.
“While TrueProfile.io is a dramatic exit from traditional methods of verification, I truly believe it is the future. Let’s make things easier for people and add real value, even if it means less revenue in the short term. The only way this sector is going to evolve and meet its full potential is if we change the way we see the verification process and innovate with new business models,” he further added.
A Day in Sunil Kumar’s Life
While Kumar thrives on change, he makes sure to do the things that truly matter to him every day. He spends eight to nine hours at work. He loves to meet people, so he makes a point of not sitting in the office all day in favour of getting out to meet with his team and clients. He has a dedicated hour-and-a-half for physical exercise, even if he is sick. He plays golf and loves running. During the weekends and vacations, he travels with his family. He explained that something about new environments never fails to excite him and makes him want to learn more about new people, cultures, cuisines, and places.
GITA: Spirituality for Leadership and Success by Pranay is a favourite of Kumar’s. He often listens to it while driving for renewed inspiration.
Best Advice Received
Kumar’s advice to people, whether beginning a new career or looking for their next challenges is, “Never say no to any opportunity and be agile. Sometimes people get stuck in one place because they are scared of taking risks and moving out of their comfort zone. Finally, be authentic and be honest – with yourself and with others.”