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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

June - 2010 - issue > Cover Story

Tally: The Brand Mystery Decoded

Eureka Bharali
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Eureka Bharali
When Bharat Goenka says, “If you want to build a successful product story, you have to make it the best and not the cheapest,” it echoes his own journey to build the best accounting software brand in India. If there is one software product that is known to every man in India, then it must be Tally. Calm and composed, Goenka has his own charm and his being soft natured may be mistaken to be a weakness by many; however, in contrast it’s this attitude that helps him to be a visionary. Without his vision, Tally, which has emerged as a top software product will not have materialized at a time when computing was not even a buzzword in India. It’s a product that revolutionized the way businesses at the bottom of the pyramid perceived and leveraged technologies.

This Bangalore-based financial accounting software company that today enjoys an unrivalled 95 percent market share in India, started with the conviction and vision of two men, late Shyam Sunder Goenka and his son Bharat Goenka.

Birth of an Idea

It was in the 1980s, when Sunder Goenka was in his textile mill and something caught his eye. It was an ad of IBM in a pamphlet. ‘The quality, power, and performance of the IBM Personal Computer are what you’d expect from IBM. The price isn’t’, was the tag for the IBM PC, which heralded the start of the personal computer age. While companies like IBM and Apple signaled the computer age from the US, Sunder Goenka rallied for a software revolution in India. He saw an opportunity to create a brand which was ‘made in India and made for India’ and it led to the birth of Tally Solutions in 1986. Taking a close watch into the businesses, he realized that to operate the simplest of applications, it required one to know numerous commands. For him it was like ‘buying a car to be a mechanic than to drive it’. He immediately exchanged ideas with his son Bharat Goenka, who was a coding expert, and junior Goenka right away began utilizing all his coding skills to create a better solution.
“After four months, I showed the first demos to my father. There was a payment for traveling expenses with the entry code ‘T001’. My father couldn’t understand the need for codes, and we told him the computer does not understand English, it only understands codes and it’s easier to write programs with codes,” says Bharat reflecting on the initial days. Sunder Goenka, however, saw it in another light. He sent his brilliant coder back to the drawing table, as he was particular that any software needs to be programmed to make the life of the user easier and not that of the programmer. That set Tally’s benchmark. The product should be easy to use, convenient, and reliable irrespective of being pricey or not.

Eventually, Bharat came out with what was recognized as the first ‘codeless accounting’ software. However, the practice was set in a way that the senior Goenka would try something, and if he couldn’t do it without his son standing behind him, it had to be redone. This imbibed a different discipline into Tally’s brand. In simple words, it ensured usability and customer experience in a much efficient manner.

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