Being a custom software development company with heavy emphasis on Social Media Applications, Tekriti finally created its Facebook page. The page can be accessed at http://www.facebook.com/TekritiSoftware - please become a fan for updates on what is happening in the company.
We have also re-organized the company a little bit and our new focus is in the following areas:
1. Custom Software Development - right from Conceptualization to implementation to quality assurance to deployment to maintenance and support. This includes work in Web Development and Desktop Applications.
2. Mobile Application Development – we have been doing great work with Blackberry, Android and iPhone application development.
3. Agency Services - Not only do we build solutions, we have also graduated into suggesting solutions to the decision makers and run the platform for them to produce the desired reports / results.
Now that it’s my 3rd attempt in re-starting this blog, I will start writing my thoughts on these subjects along with the usual stuff that I write on entrepreneurship
A part of my work profile is to meet with executives from small to medium sized software companies which are into providing software services to companies in the US, Europe and other developed nations. It is a joy to say that I have learnt a lot in this process – about running these companies, their positives and the problems faced by the respective management teams. Since my company Tekriti also has a profitable software services arm, I could connect even more with these positives and the problems. Without going into the listing of the above mentioned positives / problems in this post, I will first talk about my classification of these software services companies and their characteristics and touch upon the problems in a later post. It is important to understand the various tiers to be able to create different solutions for IT industry.
Tier 1 IT Outsourcing company – These are the big guys of IT outsourcing in India and responsible for putting India on the map when it comes to IT outsourcing. Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Polaris, Cognizant are a few and notable examples. But, overall, any IT outsourcing company which typically has more than 2500 people on their rolls is classified under this category. These guys have very strong processes, from generating and capturing sales leads to closing of leads, delivery and employee training and performance appraisals. From a client’s perspective, these companies make a very strong fit for somebody who needs process excellence more than the product excellence. Testing and maintenance projects are the best fit here.
Tier 2 IT Outsourcing company – These are typically the companies who have focused on 1-2 verticals and have developed strong expertise in these domains. They thrive mostly on the testing and maintenance projects from companies who find Tier 1 companies too big for their comfort and budget. Obviously, if your contribution to a company’s top-line is very insignificant, there are chances that you will not get the necessary attention that is required. Most of these companies will have some certification, whether it is in the CMM series or ISO series. These will typically be between 350 – 4000 people strong. They will also be interested in taking development work, as long as it is not too small.
Tier 3 IT Outsourcing company: This is where the companies really starts becoming a company. The size typically range from 75 to 500 and they rely on the individual brilliance of a handful of people rather than the processes. The company has figured out that to move to Tier 2, they need to have stronger processes. These companies thrive on the new product development projects and most OPD (outsourced product development) companies define their strategy when they were still in the Tier 3 classification. In the Indian market, there is a lot of technology talent in the companies in this tier – what they lack is the expertise in sales and marketing and bandwidth for project management. Only those companies who are operating in certain niche segments here (instead of doing everything), move from Tier 3 to Tier 2.
Tier 4 outsourcing company: These are either the entry level startups or your mom-and-pop shops. More than a company, this acts more as a partnership firm. Every founding member will be involved in active project delivery and the company has not even gotten a chance to think about the processes. They are struggling to find people, retain people and unless they move fast and reach a critical mass – they will either cease to exist or convert themselves to a mom-and-pop shop. They are good for projects where the client need certain number of people on retainer for some time.
A small graph representing the classification is shown below (you will notice that the membership of these tiered companies is fuzzy instead of being discrete).
Next on, I want to talk about where Tekriti currently is and also a few possible business opportunities in this sector.
I didn’t believe too much in the “special days” including Father’s day that we all are celebrating today, until I met my wife Paavani. I never thought that I had to wait for a day to express my gratitude to my father, and have probably never expressed it very explicitly to my dad (he always understood, I guess). But today, I wanted to express my love and respect for my dad – the other one (in-law), and wish to make his profile known to few more people than the family members.
Not only is Mr. Bajrang Bishnoi my father-in-law, he was also a noted poet, painter and a very creative person before deciding to spend his life establishing a Handmade paper factory. He has invented a lot of things in handmade paper creation and I got a chance to look at his factory a couple of weeks back – but I think that his other creative skills could have fetched him far more adulance and wealth. After all, not many people get a chance to be profiled in “Reference Asia” amongst “Who’s who of Asia” when he was still in his late 20s. Click on the photo below to see the larger image.
Long live Dad – it’s a privilege knowing you.
My last post was written on August 31st, 2007 and it’s April 10th today – so it’s been almost 7.5 months since I blogged. I did contribute a few articles in the press / magazines in the meanwhile but didn’t write here and I honestly don’t know if I have readers left (I haven’t checked the web stats in over 6 months).
So, what really happened? Did I get too busy? Did I get bored of blogging? Did I find some other way to unwind and share my thoughts? The answer is a combination of all this, however the real fact is that too many things happened in my life in these last few months – both professionally and personally. The words may not do justice to all that happened, so I will take the help of pictures in the interest of writing less.
Tekriti has a new website and now we do talk publicly about the different businesses we are in and different things we have been building over the last few years. We also moved into a new office where the entire building is occupied by us – it’s a good feeling to have a personal cabin which is bigger than our entire first office meant for 7 of the initial Tekriti employees.
The 2nd update is much bigger, actually much much bigger. I GOT MARRIED. Paavani and I, after a courtship of almost 3 years, finally got married on 13th March and had a good vacation after that. I came back to work only late last week and, I guess, still am not very attentive at work. Life is good, so far
It doesn’t take a lot to figure out that Entrepreneurship is my favorite subject and I have written numerous posts on the subject. There are a few institutions which has been pretty active in talking about it and organizing events around that. National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), backed by Wadhwani foundation, is one such institute that I have known for more than a year now and have also spoken in events organized by them.
Babit from NEN informed me a couple of weeks back about the re-design of the site that they had launched – which is essentially a very complete online resource for entrepreneurs in India. I have been refraining from writing about it for some time but the more I go through it, the more I think that this is an awesomely well done site and acts as a complete resource for the Indian entrepreneurs – particularly the first timers. Having spent more than a couple of years running Tekriti, I wish that this existed earlier for me to have easy access to certain things that I learnt the hard way.
All in all – highly recommended for all entrepreneurs in India to bookmark this. They have articles / answers from VCs, have a weekly coverage on various startups and tons of articles / presentations on various things that a first time entrepreneur wants access to.
What I see missing is a link to their RSS feed that I could just subscribe in my blog aggregator that doesn’t force me to go to their website all the time to read the contents.
I am not somebody who is into books and can really count how many books have I read. So, I am not really an authority on providing recommendations for the books but a few people sent me the books they authored over the last few months and I wanted to explicitly mention 2 of them here.
Book 1 – Give me back my Guitar The author is Ravindra Potharaju, who is the founder and CEO of Bangalore-based PEM Training Solutions. It’s written in a very simple and sweet language and is a collection of age-old stories in a new light where Ravi has emphasized that managing the personal energy is what defines the quality of life and success associated with it. If you are like me who doesn’t exactly read a book only for its literary values, you will like this book. It makes for a good and light bed-time reading material. The Hindu has a 1-page write up on the same. For more details, go to the book website at http://www.givemebackmyguitar.com/
Book 2 – How Innovators Connect
Rohit Agarwal from TechTribe is one of the 2 authors of this book and is about the entrepreneurial experiences of several innovators in Silicon Valley and India. It attempts to showcase innovation through experiences of more than 40 successful innovators in the 2 geographies. This is a nice book to keep as a reference and not necessarily finish reading in its entirety. If you are in a similar space, it always is useful to learn from the experiences of somebody who has ‘done that, been there’. Go to http://www.howinnovatorsconnect.com/ for more details.
Do let me know if you decide to follow my recommendation and read these.
Lately I have been talking to a lot of people who are starting up or have started in the last few months. It’s always good to talk to people who have the courage to ‘move out of their comfort zone’ and do something creative. This is not to say that I don’t like to talk to people who are happy in their comfort zone
One question that I almost always get asked is “How can I trust my clients, customers, business partners, lawyers, accountants, employees and who not?”.
That is a very valid question. And this is something everybody faces – and I can relate it with my experiences. But let me turn around the question and ask you - what option do you have other than to trust? When you are small, you neither have the bandwidth or resources to hire ‘experts’ or expensive lawyers for documenting everything. At the same time, for the lack of experience, it’s almost impossible to think about a list of situations that one could run into – and hence it’s rather foolishness to even attempt doing it in its entirety. But here are certain things that one should do:
- Spend money on the legal contracts: When you are small, it is very common to sign contracts without seeking legal opinions – as it helps save you a lot of money. Don’t do that – absolutely don’t do that. If you are signing a similar 2nd contract, it is still OK to not get it whetted by the lawyers but do engage the lawyers the first time you are creating a particular kind of contract. You wouldn’t realize the importance of it until you become a little bigger and then know the potential downsides of not doing that.
- Spend time and keep an eye on all the major aspects of business: It’s good to follow the policy of ‘Divide and conquer’ with different heads for different aspects of business. But have regular meetings with the different heads and open all books (including yours) for scrutiny by all major stakeholders from time to time.
- Create a Shareholders Agreement: This is probably much more crucial than what it seems initially. You could survive even if your biggest customer leaves you stranded / cheats you or your accountant did something to maximize their benefits. What will hurt the most is if you or your business partners lose trust in each other. Remember that we all are humans – there will be times when the misunderstandings will creep in. So, it’s important to create a shareholders’ agreement soon enough which exactly talks about what are the authorities of each person and the team as a whole. A good analogy is that if you keep the money lying on the floor with nobody watching, many people will turn ‘thief’ and steal but very few of them would actually do it if they know that somebody could be watching.
- Communicate regularly with the stakeholders, customers, team-members and others important for your business: Yeah – follow all processes, have the legal systems in place and sign the right contracts but there is nothing to replace the regular communication with all the parties involved. Most people wont do anything bad with somebody they really treat as their ‘friend’. Communicate with people and be their ‘friend’ and you will mostly be in good shape.
In spite of all this, trust people. As long as you exercise a bit of caution, you will be much better off by trusting people rather than spending your time and energy thinking about what can go wrong and who can do wrong. This is not to say that people will not cheat you – THEY WILL – most of the times unintentionally but sometimes (sad) intentionally. And if it happens, just increase the level of caution that you exercise but dont get too paranoid. Try your best to forgive and forget it and worry about the common long-term goal. But, yes, don’t hesitate in making your concerns very clear to the offending party and / or severing your ties if you absolutely cannot withstand what has happened. No loss will be as big as losing out when you become bigger.
Whatever you do, please remember that you should forgive me for being really irregular with blogging BUT dont forget even if you can’t necessarily find a common goal Instead, keep visiting the blog. I do intend to be regular, though not necessarily frequent.