June - 2010 issue > Cover Story
Caresoft Playing to Win
Christo Jacob
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Back in 2003 and 2007, several FDA reports revealed that about half of 13 factories in the island country of Puerto Rico manufactured contaminated pills. Recent reports show that one of the pharmaceutical companies continued exporting pills that it knew contained small metal particles which were also present inside the bottles the pills were packed in. This was due to the metal content in the drug manufacturing machineries. Hence, it is imperative that the pharmaceutical sector be properly regulated. This is highly essential and justified as medicines can either save someone’s life or make matters worse if proper standards are not maintained in drug manufacturing and information about the medical ingredients and their effects are not known.

Most pharmaceutical companies today are cautious about having their business processes in perfect health. Quality control of raw materials, specifications, formulae, manufactruring processes as well as the finished product is paramount, with exact standards often applying to the receipt and storage of raw materials in addition to the storage and dispatch of finished products. For major players like Pfizer, Schering Plough, Novartis, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson this means that their practices and systems need to be updated to enable the industry to be more agile and responsive and yet maintain a control over complex and costly development and production processes.

Caresoft, a provider of Custom Software Development, Temporary IT Staff Augmentation, and Outsourced QA is well aware that the complexities and challenges of documenting procedures, monitoring processes, authorizations, and managing heterogeneous tracking records are not trivial exercises. Deepak Khare, CEO, Caresoft was early to have a strong understanding of the major transition that is evolving in the pharmaceutical sector and no wonder most of the major players today are knocking at his doors for the same. “In fact the very first customer of ours was from the pharmaceutical vertical. This has given an extra mileage to us in having a better understanding of this vertical,” says Khare.

Caresoft’s customer, M. P. Pharmaceuticals, had complicated systems, long processes, numerous raw materials, and above all, a large amount of human involvement in the process of making medicines. There are frequent audits, and there is very strict demand for quality control data at all stages of the manufacturing process. The company needed a state-of-the-art Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to run their labs. However, LIMS does not come cheap. The cost of a typical implementation of LIMS exceeds a minimum of Rs 50 Lakhs. But Caresoft’s Care QCMS has helped its customers in addressing this issue, improving product and services quality, work processes, efficiencies, and morale, while reducing cost, standardizing business by giving it a consistent approach to operations, meeting government purchasing policies, giving confidence to customers that their quality needs will be met, improving customer satisfaction, minimizing fraud, reducing rework and wastage, and meeting quality standards set by different countries. Care QCMS is a Web based system that works on the SaaS model and does not require any client side installation of software or server side installation. Built on XML, XSL, and AJAX architecture, the facility lets the client start Care QCMS within 60 minutes of the subscription approval. For M. P. Pharmaceuticals this was a great relief. The team has been extremely happy with the implementation of Care QCMS. “We would recommend it to any company looking to implement a quality control system for batch manufacturing. The Caresoft Team worked very closely with us to customize and implement it in our unique situation. Not only is their support staff very responsive and knowledgeable but they have also met and exceeded all of our expectations,“ says Mukesh Nema, Director, M. P. Pharmaceuticals. Khare confirms that the product has worked well among midsized companies that are in the range of $5 to 50 million.

But rather than concentrating on one vertical, Khare felt the need to expand the company’s portfolio across various verticals and gain mindshare of the customers in finance, energy, insurance, manufacturing, public sector, telecom, and many more. Winning the mindshare of an Indian government organization itself is one of the biggest testimonials about Caresoft’s confidence among its customers. It was Caresoft’s RTI Soft that was able to grab attention of the public sector.

The RTI (Right to Information) Act is currently being implemented all across India to improve the governance, open the administrative processes of the government, and more importantly to make the government accountable. Followed by the enforcement of the RTI Act, the citizens of the country have gained access to the records of the central and the state governments. The RTI Act empowers an Indian citizen to ask for information from any of the government departments, but the pain point for most of them is the accessibility of information. The RTI Act implementation generates enormous amount of paperwork. Every RTI application must be tracked and the information requested must be disbursed within the stipulated time. The State Information Commissions are responsible for ensuring proper implementation of the RTI Act throughout the respective states. The State Information Commissions report matters of governance to the Central Information Commission on a regular basis. The issues are tracked till the information requested is provided and it is ensured that all the data that an Information Commission requires of the government organizations are obtained. At the state level, the State RTI Commission is responsible to ensure implementation of the RTI Act in each and every government, semi-government, and public organizations.

Currently, there are no cost effective solutions that allow a smooth transition of an RTI related request. Self implementable, Caresoft’s RTI Soft is a Web based product that allows the public to request for information from any government organization starting from the kasba (small village) level to city corporation, district, and state levels.

CARE RTI handles the complex task of implementing the progress of an RTI application in a very simple and logical manner. Caresoft implemented this for government organizations and NGOs in Madhya Pradesh. “RTI Soft is able to provide the mechanism that implements the whole RTI framework for any organization looking to be compliant with the reporting requirements of the State Information Commission as well as the Central Information Commission,” says Rajnish Murab, Director of Sunita (M) Foundation, an NGO focusing on helping people help themselves. Currently, the company’s 15 member sales team in Bhopal is in talks with implementing the same in other government organizations in Madhya Pradesh and other states like Uttaranchal and Chhattisgarh.

From Services to Practices - Caresoft’s 360 Degree View

Caresoft’s best practices in Hyperion, security services, and Quality framework could bring in lot more traction. Caresoft, being an oracle core partner, implements end-to-end Hyperion solutions for their clients. Hyperion is a financial management suite of solutions from Oracle, which takes care of the complete financial management requirements of a company - switching routes, planning, auditing, financial forecasting, and doing all kinds of financial analysis like actual expected budget versus forecasted revenue and more. It also helps in financial consolidation. For instance if a US based organization has a profit center in Mexico, five profit centers in China, two cost centers in India, and a sales team in Europe, it will help to consolidate the financial reports of the global organization. It will also generate financial statements as per the local generally accepted accounting practices in each country.

AMResorts, a group of more than 20 resorts spread across Latin America and the Caribbean with the headquarters coordinating from the United States, is a global resort management company. The company found that there were a lot of flaws in the financial statements received from over 20 resorts all over the world due to which it lost millions of dollars. The properties under AMResorts were on a rapid growth trajectory and, therefore, needed a centralized yet flexible BI system. With a rising requirement for a common platform of reporting, AMResorts was gearing towards automation of financial reports and increasing its reach to more and more granular levels of analysis when it selected Caresoft as its Hyperion implementer. Caresoft has handled AMResorts Hyperion project since its seed stage and is now more a part of AMResorts’ team rather than just an implementation partner. This project was a full life-cycle development project in which Caresoft assisted AMResorts to automate its procedures on all the three scenarios – actual, budget, and forecast.

Amit Sanghi, Caresoft’s EPM Solutions Architect says, “Our Hyperion team tirelessly worked for extended hours breaking complexities of the maze of financial systems throughout the company to capture, centralize, and automate them into a single financial data management system. It is truly satisfying to see how our System releases the otherwise blocked time of financial analysts from mundane spreadsheet activities by automating most of the number crunching. Free from much of report preparation and reporting tasks we are happy to see that they can now participate more on the growth frontiers of the company with their CFO.” Currently, the team of Financial Analysts at AMResorts manages the reports in a jiffy on the new financial consolidation system that Caresoft has implemented, instead of spending all of their time in consolidating spreadsheets. The system takes care of all currency conversions and it creates consolidated financial statements for entire company at the touch of a button. Emmanuel Samia, Senior Financial Analyst at AMResorts says, “Caresoft has done a great job. We are very happy with the quality of their support. They go the extra mile in their customer support. We are glad that we chose them as our implementation partner.” “We implemented the system in record 24 weeks – from start to finish. It was like a whirlwind; when we hear victory stories like this, it makes it all worth it,” says Dhaval Desai - Hyperion Practice Head, Caresoft.

Caresoft also focuses on security services that are named Second Practice. In order to have focused provision of information security advice and assurance services within the context of industry and country-specific regulatory requirements, Caresoft has partnered with Symantec. It provides end point security, network security, and application security. Caresoft has built long term relationships with major clients and information security stakeholders in both the public and private sectors, providing exceptional customer focus throughout its business units. With its modus operandi, work philosophy, and commitment to always providing the very best to its clients, the company has helped them develop several long term and successful associations. It provides onsite services, audits, and assessment with the help of their team of CISSP certified experts who have years of experience in different areas and from varied complimentary backgrounds as MCAs, CEH, CISSP,CISM, auditors, and also the education vertical. Its pragmatic approach to IT security begins with the process of in-depth assessment, and then based on the analysis it can suggest and provide help in creating and publishing appropriate security standards for the client’s environment. The standards may include specific controls for the various platforms, a set of best practices that cross over the platforms, and linkages of the standards to higher level policies, governmental regulations, and lot more.

Another practice that Caresoft focuses on is quality assurance framework. In 2002, a study commissioned by the US Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that software bugs, or errors, are so prevalent and so detrimental that they cost the US economy an estimated $59 billion annually, that is about 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product. A good quality assurance framework for software takes into account two factors - the ability to functionally test all the specifications for which the software was built and the ability to test how efficiently and predictably the software will run under all specified conditions. Caresoft has complete understanding of customer needs. Caresoft’s QA services ensure that there are quick QA implementations done for these frameworks, where you can develop the portal quickly and roll it out in two months from scratch to end. For instance, if there is an organization that develops portals as quickly as one in two months, it is difficult for the QA team to keep pace with it. So, for this Caresoft has developed a set of tools, pre-designed templates, and a library for frameworks that help the company’s QA frameworks rapidly. The knowledge of tools like Documentum, WebLogic, WebSphere, and iPlanet enabled them to deliver the full benefits of JAVA technologies. Moreover, Khare was quick to prove their customers, how it can reduce their IT budget using proven Microsoft technologies such as COM, MTS, and VisualBasic.

Commitment Beyond Contract

Despite a myriad of products and services on offer, the foundation of Caresoft’s business success lies in the customer centric culture within the company. The company promotes a culture of commitment and curiosity; hence not believing in signing unrealistic deals. Since inception, every associate is instilled with the values and culture the company stands for, and they are tuned to the fact that it is beyond the contracts that relationships are built. Khare made sure that most of the employees had a relentless research and development mindset and a commitment to stay ahead of the technology curve with continuous in-house training and career development. This has boosted each individual in their team to take ownership of their actions and realize how individual actions build a champion team. The commitment of Caresoft reflects in its motto itself - ‘We Care’. The company has a legacy of bringing a million dollar smile to its customers through its best of the class customer service. Khare always wanted to have a deep understanding of the customer satisfaction. So, in order to serve its customers better, the company has set up a very stringent methodology in customer care service. It has monthly customer care service reviews that it presents in detail to the customers on a quarterly basis. In fact, this has helped Caresoft to prove themselves to their customers how they have met the requirements according to Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and how they have gone beyond the SLAs. “According to me, SLAs are contracts but very dry. We believe in going beyond the contract and providing the human touch,” says Khare.

Life@Caresoft

The company is not only well known for its unique customer services, but also as a great place to work in. The company is keen on grooming the employees and creating a place where they can learn and grow. The key to Caresoft’s success is the belief that something great is always out there, waiting to be discovered, and the effervescent entrepreneurial spirit omnipresent in the company. “In keeping with the Caresoft culture, we celebrate all achievements - big and small, together as a team. We take fun seriously and believe in working hard and partying harder,” says Varsha Sepaha, HR Manager, Caresoft. Summer picnics and Christmas-season parties for children and adults offer everyone the opportunity to meet in more relaxed circumstances and look back on a job well done. Having grown rapidly over the last decade, Caresoft still enjoys an environment more like a small startup with a high degree of flexibility in roles and a minimum of structure, guideline, and policy. Common sense is the rule and good judgement is everyone’s responsibility. “This is what makes us proud to be one of America’s fastest growing companies and a genuine success story,” she says.

Behind the Scene

William Shakespeare once said “Time has a different appeal for everyone.” This is the same in case of Deepak Khare too. Founded in the fall of 1994 to provide software consulting services to Fortune 500 companies, Caresoft has grown steadily, even as the software industry itself went through the bubble and bust cycles. A graduate in mechanical engineering, Khare has founded several businesses in the last 18 years. Currently, many of these businesses are flourishing. Khare never hesitated to try out new ventures. Back in his career, even though he had failed ventures like Greatingtown.com, and a few more, Khare was not pulled down. On the contrary, learning from his mistakes he rose like a phoenix. “If we look around, whether it is in the US or India or elsewhere, everybody wants to move forward, achieve excellence, and do well with one’s life. That’s where entrepreneurship was born out of. The only thing that stops people from becoming entrepreneurs is the fear of risk and failure and fear of people. Like anything in life you win some and you lose some. You may lose more often than you win, but a single win might overshadow all of your previous losses. One must be resilient, learn from failures, and move forward because entrepreneurship keeps you young, fun, and alive.”

During his career as a software consultant, he worked with prestigious clients like J.P. Morgan Chase, Hoffman LaRoche, Scholastic, Management Science Associates, and Warner Systems. In fact this has helped Khare take Caresoft into the next level of it growth. This steady growth has not gone unnoticed. Today, Caresoft is a highly respected company because of Khare’s magical touch.

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