Magical Companies

It is the Spirit of Enterprise which
created the IT industry. Organizations which had nothing but dreams as working capital.
That this industry today has a higher net worth than any other industry in the world is a
tribute to that spirit. Here we look at some companies which are in the lead in carrying
on with this spirit. These are tomorrow’s heroes:

Datacraft RPG
Last year, we placed Datacraft RPG amongst the 15 sizzling companies (January 15, 1997
issue), and looking at the company’s performance we weren’t wrong. This JV between
Datacraft Asia and the RPG Group s definitely going places. What has been most amazing is
the company’s consistent growth since its inception three years back. And why not, when
the company’s main motto is ‘growth with profits’. Says Lynette Saldanha, CEO of Datacraft
RPG, “For us qualitative growth is more important than quantitative growth. Though
even in terms of quantitative growth we have grown by 50 percent in the last year (despite
the recession); what is more creditable is that we are looked upon as a reputed systems
integrator which is dependable.” The fact that the customers, which the company
bagged three years back, are still there reiterates this claim. Also, 60 to 70 percent of
the company’s business comes from repeat orders. Today, Datacraft RPG has over Rs 3 crore
invested in spares to service its clients better.

What does the future hold for Datacraft
RPG? Well, if network computing is the way to go, Datacraft RPG will reap a rich harvest
netting the country with networks of all variety.

In the coming year, the company’s major
thrust areas will be private and public ISPs, hybrid networking, and corporate intranets
and extranets. Also, the company plans to open more offices in the country in the next one
year. Having implemented prestigious projects and tied up with datacom companies, the
company is now looking at a broad spectrum of hardware and software platforms in order to
address a primarily price-sensitive market. Its close alliance with VSNL, on the setting
up of the national backbone, should prove advantageous to it.

Querisoft Systems Pvt. Ltd
Querisoft is in a strategically unique position to lead the transition from
network-centric to directory-centric management. Its main line of business is directory
and security management software. Scanning far out on the horizon, Querisoft has produced
world-class software products that will find acceptance in the times to come. Talk of
security in electronic transactions over networks. Querisoft has partners like Microsoft,
Verisign, Syprus, and TIS which present the complete suite of technologies required for
security software. This makes Querisoft best positioned to cash in on the ecommerce
opportunity.

As a Microsoft Solution Provider, Querisoft
has a strategic alliance with the software giant to bring ecommerce to India by leveraging
its security expertise. The last couple of years saw some hectic activity at Querisoft.
The company established a 6500 sq. ft software development facility at Pune. Today, it has
around 40 software design and QA test engineers in its product team and the Consulting
Group employs 10 engineers providing development help to companies like Microsoft, SAP
etc.

GPTL
The largest IT distributors in the country, Godrej Pacific Technologies Ltd (GPTL) has
been consistently expanding its product portfolio every year. Virtually all the IT biggies
have chosen to partner with this mega-distribution monolith-Microsoft, HP, Brother,
Panasonic, Digital, TISL, Samsung, Intel, 3Com, Compex, and Epson. Amongst the new vendors
added in recent times are IBM for notebooks and desktops, Samtron for monitors, Motorola
for modems, Compex for low-end network interface cards, and APC for modems. Recently, the
company was appointed as a distributor for Compaq products.

The last year also saw the company entering
into new product segments and consolidating its earlier range. In the distribution
business, GPTL has been able to focus on five distinct channels, with the structures to
focus on these already in place. The channels are systems integrators, value-added
resellers, box movers, software dealers and resellers, and OEMs. The company’s tie-up with
Tech Pacific, Australia, has lent it a distinctive edge since its foray into the
distribution business in 1995. Considering that the distribution business has immense
potential, the company has just been able to scratch the surface till now. So, while the
going is good the best is yet to come.

California SoftwareA small company, daring
and doing something different. An Indian company developing products for the Net. These
are the two ways of describing Chennai-based California Software. Popularly known as
Calsoft, the Rs 6-crore company has chosen to work in the niche CAD/CAM segment. Accepting
the fact that it is unwise to take the leader head-on, the company has, since its
inception, developed and web-enabled products for using AutoCad. And all this by cracking
the proprietary encryption code of the product. Thereby positioning itself as a company
that will cater to the requirements of engineering companies who have to use AutoCad
without actually having to buy it.

The company’s entire suite of product hepls
a customer view, read, write, or edit AutoCad in any file, without installing AutoCad.
Sold in the Dr DWG brand name, 75 percent of the product sales is through the Net. A 100
percent EOU, with major business from the US market, the company is looking seriously at
Japan, Australia, Scandinavia, and Korea. The company has added on HP and Sony, two
prestigious contacts to its client list this year.

American Power Conversion
Having received the go ahead for its 100 percent Indian subsidiary last May, APC has
demonstrated its commitment to the Indian market by enhancing its service and supply
chain, and launching products like SmartUPS UX and the BKMI, tailored to suit the Indian
power conditions. Already a dominant player in the Indian UPS marketplace, 1997 saw APC
increase its presence by opening new offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. The
company also recently got into a distribution tie-up with GPTL. In another move to
strengthen its position, APC appointed Accel Automation Ltd to provide end-users with auto
warranty services in 18 locations in India. The company remains the only UPS manufacturer
offering two-year warranty on all products, and ensuring minimum downtime for users with
its quick-swap system for replacing damaged units.

On the business front, notable wins for the
company included names like BPL Ltd, Whirlpool, 3M, and Duracell. Not only this, a recent
IDC study showed APC as the marketshare leader in the branded under-5 KVA range of UPSes.
Other than this, the company continues to win prestigious awards, including PC Quest’s
Editors’ Choice and Users’ Choice, and PC World’s Readers’ Choice and Users’ Choice in
1997.

Lanbit India Pvt. Ltd
The Indian arm of Taiwan-based Lanbit Computer Inc.-Lanbit India Pvt. Ltd-operates on one
simple dictum: ‘Business through friendship’. And the company has achieved more than it
set out to in the short span that it has been here. Its biggest achievement till date has
been to establish itself as one of the premier networking companies for workgroup,
mid-corporate, and the SOHO market. Lanbit’s next mission is to get into the large
corporate market. In the modem business too, Lanbit has established itself as a strong
player. In spite of being a late entrant, Lanbit has been able to establish a clear lead
over its competitors. According to the company, it sells over 4,500 modems per month and
enjoys a marketshare of over 25 percent. A laudable achievement by any standards.

Another feather on the company’s cap has
been the launch of its innovative range of CD servers on a mass scale. This has resulted
in the opening of an entirely new business segment. The company has also successfully
introduced a high-speed mirror server link product line for Novell Software III. This
product line has been widely accepted by banking and financial institutions in the
country. But more than all this, what the company is proud of is that it has not lost a
single channel partner ever since it started business in India and that 35 percent of its
distributors are single company distributors and are exclusive to the company. Not only
this, in the last two years, only one empoyee has left the company.

The company, targeting a growth rate of 80
percent, is gunning for the numero uno position in networking and datacom business in the
coming year. Lanbit also plans to acquire/invest/assist suitable hardware manufacturing
companies in India. The idea is to make its products competitive and marketable in the
international markets. Lanbit is also looking at acquiring/investing in a manufacturing
setup in India. With the company’s present philosophy and the success that it has
achieved, all this seems quite achievable.

Aditi Technologies
This 3-year-old Bangalore-based company was among the early vendors on the Internet to
provide a 24-hour global technical support for software developers. Today, Aditi finds
itself in the DATAQUEST Magical 15. And steering Aditi toward this success path has been
Pradeep Singh, CEO, Aditi Technologies, whose passion for building an ‘Indian product’
brought him back to the country after a ten-year long stint with Microsoft.

What differentiates Aditi from others? For
one, the company has reiterated its focus on delivering services on high-end technology
since its inception. What began strictly as a technical support service has today grown
into a system that can handle any email-based query or transaction.

Also, what one cannot miss at Aditi is the
‘friendly’ ambience. This has been the key factor for the company-it has built a
development team of 180 people (up from just 30 during 1995) and then gone about building
its organizational structure around them. According to MD Ramaswamy, GM (Technical
Support), it is this “talent farm” that grows each day to learn and understand
customer problems.

Last year, Aditi launched its Aditi Updown
product and, interestingly, it was entirely marketed and sold on the Internet. It is
currently developing two other Internet-based products, viz. Support Plus and Customer
Desk. While Support Plus is based on Notes and is specific for people in technical
support, Customer Desk is specific for processing voluminous email. Aditi expects to
launch both the products by August 1998.

IBM Global Services India
Just over six-months old in India, IBM Global Services India (GSI), a 80:10:10 joint
venture between IBM, Tatas, and Tata-IBM, focuses on providing services from consultancy
to education to systems integration and outsourcing. With this, customers in India now
have the entire range of IBM services. The center, based in Bangalore, houses a team of 25
consultants plus technical talent of over 1,000 professionals.

The center is in the process of
implementing a systems integration project for the Indian Airlines and is involved in
replacing its entire range of Unisys systems with IBM systems. The center has identified
ERP as one of the fastest emerging segments in India and expects a large chunk of its
business to come from here. Banks and financial institutions are other segments that are
recognizing and taking to IT services. Significantly, the center has added HLL, Bank of
India, and Ahmedabad Stock Exchange to its client list.

Silicon Automation Systems
Headquartered in Bangalore, the company’s core competence lies in signal processing that
has resulted in solutions for digital communications. It has implemented solutions in
wireless networks for customers such as Northern Telecom and Fujitsu. Since its inception
in 1989, Silicon Automation Systems (SAS) has been unceasingly working toward creating and
developing Intellectual Property (IP).

Rajiv Modi, CEO of this Rs 16-crore
company, began with a modest four-people team and realized that to develop IP it was
essential to have an academic perspective. Today, SAS is perhaps the only software company
to have 16 PhDs in its fold in addition to over 270 engineers, with 55 percent of them
being MTech graduates. SAS has been wise enough not to take on a large number of customers
and has strived toward striking a balance between employee aspirations and customer
relationships. Solutions being developed currently include MPEG 2 that enables multimedia
and RapidS, specifically for processor designers to dramatically shorten their development
time.

Given the kind of work it is involved in,
it is not surprising that it has a low attrition rate-less than half the industry’s rate
of 25 percent. And it is precisely this kind of work that SAS intends pursuing,
irrespective of temptations of easy money from other development work. As, the company
strongly believes that success will depend largely on the challenges it gives the
employees in developing IP outside India.

Innomedia Technologies
Many of us may sneeringly call the TV an idiot box, but not Mohan Tambe, Managing Director
of Innomedia Technologies. To him, the TV-in tandem with the ubiquitous miles of cable
snaking through most major cities and towns of India-represents a tool of information, and
no, he is not talking about MTV News. Mohan wants to transform the TV and make it more
interactive, enabling a user to access whatever information he wants with ease.

The modus operandi is simple. Your
cable-wallah invests a couple of lakhs to purchase the hardware required to pump
interactive content into your home. You, the receiver, need a TV and a connection to the
cable guy, alongwith a device called the CHOISpad-CHOIS stands for Cable TV-based Home and
Office Interactive Services-which enables you to receive the interactive content at home.
This is almost like accessing the Internet with your TV, only it is isn’t-you get a lot of
local content, which is not possible today with the Internet. Also, the speed is very
good, because what you are using is a cable modem (integrated inside the CHOISpad), which
can handle greater bandwidth than your standard modem.

The tough part, obviously, is with the
cable guy-Tambe has to persuade him to spend a good sum on the equipment, which is not
always possible. The user, fortunately, does not undergo much hardship-he needs to just
dole out a few thousands for the CHOISpad, to access the content. With time, this
technology has the ability to change to a certain degree the way we access information
that normally affect us.

Spectra Innovations (India) Pvt.
Ltd

Spectra Innovations is into the business of providing a comprehensive range of
peripherals, from Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), CPUs, and CD ROM drives to motherboards and
monitors. The Rs 11-crore company has consistently and quickly registered significant
growth rates since its inception in 1992. Spectra grew from Rs 30 lakh in 1995 to a
stupendous Rs 7 crore in 1996.

Though it registered a conservative growth
of 67 percent in 1996-97, its projected turnover for 1997-98 is Rs 30 crore. All this has
come with some smart planning. Being in the capital-intensive IT hardware business, it
became very imperative to fund the growth for inventory and debt financing. The company
became a part of Singapore-based Electronic Resources Ltd (ERL) recently and has done well
in funding the growth via its ERL joint venture.

Spectra has partnered with Intel as its
distributor for CPUs and motherboards, with HP for storage products and Quantum for hard
disks, and shortly plans to partner with Microsoft for software. The company also enjoys
tie-ups with various other peripheral manufacturers in the storage segment like Sony,
Colorado, Tandberg Data, and Mitsumi. With this, Prasad Mamidanna, President of Spectra
Innovations, has set a goal of making high volume distribution a reality in India.
Unwilling to make compromises, the company has invested heavily in infrastructure to make
products available at the lowest possible transfer costs to the end customers.

Siemens Information Systems Ltd
Growing by a fat percentage of 50 percent every year, Siemens Information Systems Ltd
(SISL) has established itself as a company of strong credentials. The company is also
known for a low employee turnover in the software industry. Although 60 percent of the
revenue comes from exports, the company is very strong in the domestic market too. This
report card is because of the company heavily piggybacking on SAP ERP application
implementation, being a SAP solutions provider. It rakes in a large amount of revenue from
this segment, and will continue to do so, in the light of SAP’s outlook being high on the
positive side.

Already, the company is localizing SAP R/3
for Essar, JCT Electronics, Crompton Greaves etc. The other recent achievement on the
Indian front is the development of the Vehicle Tracking System for Delhi Police. SISL is
planning to market the system to other such departments in the country. This has been a
strong highlight in last year’s achievements of the company. In the area of CAD and GIS,
the company has bagged a lot of orders from the Far East and Europe. With a balance
between strong exports and a vibrant domestic business, the company is well on its way to
be one of the software companies in the Indian market to be reckon with.

Institute Of Quality Ltd
IQL started out as a baby of Rajendra Pawar, Vice Chairman, NIIT, who has a penchant for
the new ‘quality’ mantra. The company is still very much in the concept selling stage,
organizing seminars and meets on quality and benchmarking of business processes all over
the country. The seminars are obviously well attended as these are addressed by eminent
gurus like, Phil Crosby for quality, and Robert Kampf for benchmarking. IQL has another
distinction also. The company claims to be the only organization in the world that has a
tie-up with two quality gurus of this century-Crosby and Joseph Juran. The latter tie-up
happened recently when IQL tied up with Juran Institute, USA. With concepts like business
reengineering, process benchmarking, and total quality management becoming more of a
reality in the Indian market in an era of globalization and liberalization IQL has a head
start over other such organizations. Especially, in the light of its esteemed tie-ups and
the vision of Pawar.

Tata Technologies India Ltd
It was launched barely a year back and already its revenues have crossed the Rs 35 crore
mark. "We are technology practitioners with a mission to make a visible difference to
the manufacturing industry by providing leading-edge technologies," this is how SD
Pradhan, CEO, TTIL, sums up the vision of his company. A subsidiary of TELCO, Tata
Technologies India Ltd (TTIL) has over 2,500 work years of experience in developing and
implementing high-quality systems for TELCO’s manufacturing plants, corporate offices,
sales offices, and other outlets. And what is it that the company offers to its other
clients-total solutions from ‘product concept’ to ‘delivery’ which includes planning,
material requirement planning, product delivery, after-sales support, warehousing
management, and dealer information systems.

In its first year of operations, the
company has established itself as the second largest SAP business partner in the country.
In this arena, TTIL’s major successes include the procurement of 5,000 SAP user licenses
to be implemented across the Tata Group. Other than this, TTIL also had the fastest SAP
implementation in Asia. In barely four months, TTIL was able to implement SAP for a
Greenfield project. Also, TTIL’s CAD/CAM division assist TELCO in the development of the
Tata small car. With alliances like Matra Datavision, Lotus Engineering, Concentra, and
PTC, TTIL has got an entire suite of technologies that need to be deployed in a
manufacturing enterprise. The buck doesn’t stop here. TTIL’s another dedication is toward
product development. The latest star is Object Analyst-an object-oriented CASE tool. This
product which is very much the need of the hour has got encouraging reviews form the
industry and the academic community.

Persistent Systems Pvt. Ltd
This small Pune-based company’s main mission is to bring out world-class software
solutions. And its business is to sell leading edge technologies to the technology leaders
themselves. "We want to demonstrate that products from India are capable of matching
with the best in the world." Established in 1990, the company has already brought out
two new products-PS Enlist and PS EnQuire.

The products aim at achieving a powerful
synergy between an organization’s LDAP directories and the industry standard query
language-SQL. While PS Enlist is targeted at end-users and developers who want to deploy
LDAP directory data in their applications/tools; PS EnQuire leverages the power of
corporate LDAP directories to enhance existing enterprise-wide ODBC applications with no
change to the applications themselves. It is targeted at the IS department that needs to
deploy LDAP directories.

The success of the products is evident
looking at the impressive clients: Microsoft, HP, Illustra Information Technology, Data
Parallel Systems, O2 Technologies, Gill and Co. etc. With ambitious plans to achieve SEI
CMM Level-3 compliance by August 15, 1998; Persistant Systems belongs to the new breed of
techno-savvy companies dedicated to quality and ethics.

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