Knowledge Hub / Introducing Vish Varsani

Introducing Vish Varsani

The author: Isabella Hales

23/11/2023

Written by Isabella Hales

At SilverRail, we’re not just about trains and tech- we’re all about our people. We’re a key player in the rail industry, not only leading the way in transforming the way people move but also placing a strong emphasis on the happiness and the growth of our employees. In a field where innovation is paramount, we stand out not just for our advancements but also for our commitments to building a vibrant and inclusive company culture. We are dedicated to empowering and championing our workforce, employees are not merely contributors but integral members of a tight-knit community.

We are thrilled to highlight the wonderful individuals we have at SilverRail. Each team member brings unique skills, dedication, and perspectives to the table, contributing to the overall success of our organisation. In this blog, we will shine a light on Vish Varsani, Director of Customer Delivery. Vish recently celebrated his 6 years work anniversary at SilverRail after joining us from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), is an avid football fan and enjoys spending time with his family.

What do you do at SilverRail?

My role at SilverRail is to effectively Champion the Customer. It's a motto that has been ingrained in me for many years. When we onboard a new customer, it is my responsibility to oversee their implementation and operational activity and experience within the business. This means challenging and pushing ourselves and other internal departments to make sure that our customers are heard and remain at the forefront of everything that we do. I work in a team spread across multiple countries and I'm fortunate that my role is made easier with their hard work and dedication- and just as importantly, we all have the same ethos and objective.

What excites you most about your role?

Part of my role involves change. There is still nothing as exciting as making an operational change for a customer that affects what they see and get from the various products that we offer as a business. Making something work, switching something on - simple things can bring excitement! Working with new customers and seeing their journey from implementing rail on their platforms, all the way to going live and selling rail is always a proud achievement. Our Product and Engineering Teams make that possible, we then help them navigate their journey.

Within our teams, we always try to challenge each other to strive for more or something different. I have a great team who are here to use their experience in what else we can do, how we'd like things to look and work.

What's the biggest challenge within your role?

Rail in general is a good challenge, but that is why we are here. To simplify it for others to use. Different countries that we integrate with have varying levels of technical interfaces that we interact with. Those technical layers then need to get broken down into functional, business logic layers, then they will get normalised. Each country/market will have its own rules, fare types, cross border journeys – and we need to glue that together. So, you could say normalising is the biggest challenge, but we have overcome it. There will always be more to add and do within those technical and functional layers – however these challenges we simply see as hurdles to overcome.

What is your rail background?

I spent around 9 years working for what was then, Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), that later became known as it is today, Rail Delivery Group (RDG). My time there was primarily spent managing systems and suppliers of the underlying retail platforms. Unlike most markets, RDG has tens of different systems and at the time, different suppliers, providing journeys, fares, reservations, and ticket fulfilment systems. There wasn't really a system integrator for that other than the retailers themselves. This is where I spent a lot of time managing change and implementations to effectively improve the output to retailers. I spent the first 4 years doing that, before moving onto becoming the subject matter expert. A lot of time and energy was spent working with teams to produce requirements and assess bids for replacement systems. (Cliché alert). I thoroughly enjoyed my time as I was able to learn something new every day. (Cliché over). My time there kept me very much interested in rail where I can also use that RDG experience but also apply it and learn across other rail systems that Silverrail integrates with across the world.

Where do you see the future of rail?

We have seen various countries invest in their back-end retailing infrastructure. For me and in my role, this is key and exciting. It means that globally, people want rail to succeed and there is demand for rail travel. Improving the technology is a huge step. This can then unlock things like Fare Structures, Seat Maps, Calendar Views to empower the customer more in their purchase decision making. We've already seen organisations like Google & Formula1 encouraging more rail travel for environmental reasons that also shouldn't be forgotten. We have a duty to be aware of carbon emissions and we can already see how mindful the newer generations are aware of that.

What is the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?

For me it goes back to when I was a teenager and working in a video shop. Fantastic memories, but even then, it was about the Customer Experience for me. A bit like a librarian, the person running the shop is expected to know where things are, what interests the customer may have, what is coming up in the next few months, when something will be available. It made me think and understand it was more than just punching in keys and letters into a keyboard. It was about knowing your customer.

Describe what you were like at age 10.

I've always tried to understand others' perspectives and put myself in their shoes. Perhaps I didn't quite think that when I was 10! However, it's something that has always been ingrained in me and helped me be where I am today.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Like many other parents out there, I'm a part time taxi driver for my teenage children, ferrying them wherever I get told to go! I enjoy watching and playing football, however after 20 years of playing once a week, I don't appear to be getting any better. I go and watch my local team, who also after 20 years aren't getting any better! A match made in heaven; I think.

Do you have any interesting facts about yourself?

So, for this question, I always say that my interesting fact is that I've climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It sounds great and adventurous like I was some sort of dare-devil free climber. In truth we were all strapped up, safe and secure and it wasn't risky at all – but it was fantastic to do.

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