Persistent Success

Date:   Tuesday , August 01, 2006

It is not just about numbers and charts,” claims Anand Deshpande as he flaunts a list of customers he has acquired over a period of time. His customers include some of the biggest names in the software product industry.

The suave founder-chairman and managing director of Persistent Systems proudly says that his customers brought him fame and a place to be amongst the top IT companies in India. Among the frontrunners of the Outsourced Software Product Development companies, Deloitte Consulting rated Persistent Systems as the 11th fastest growing company in India in 2004; Persistent has customers ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups. “We have a right balance that helps us create esoteric stuff and that is our value proposition,” Deshpande says.

With the ever-evolving nature of programming, the outsourcing of software product development has evolved more rapidly than other areas of outsourcing, giving Persistent Systems all the more reasons to smile.

Explaining its forte, Deshpande animatedly gets down to a breakdown of the nature of product development. Terming it as understanding the requirements and building solutions that can be improved and enhanced over subsequent versions and that it will be better than the previous one, he added that unlike a typical IT outsourcing project, where a set of well defined requirements working under the constrains of time and money would be the order of the day, product development poses a different challenge with time and money preceding the required codes.

The creation of a code for any product needs to ensure that the code is scalable enough to adapt to subsequent versions of the product as well. A product’s life is thus based on the quality of the codes created. The implication being that one would have to be futuristic about the next version while creating the initial code and ensuring its efficiency. The code has to beat the time and money constrains in addition to having the engineers focusing on what exactly is likely to be needed in the next version of the product and the versions thereafter.

Pointing out that the challenge in India today is with people having an un-subversive attitude, Deshpande added “Unless you think along both those dimensions at the same time you can’t be an effective product developer.”
It is here that Persistent steps up helping engineers help themselves think out of the box.

A need for a understanding of the product life cycle to build products effectively is mandatory and Persistent is steering this frame of thought as their main theme for all the employees.

Asserting data as the DNA of the company, Persistent’s mandate is to focus around data. With great expertise and experience in the field, Persistent has completed full coverage over all the aspects of data structure phases.

Mentoring the new techies are the mature ones with a deep understanding of product development culture. The company has taken the data infrastructure domain and mapped it on to areas, which have a lot of data intensive activity such as telecom, life sciences, infrastructure and other application areas.

Constantly evolving and growing, Persistent is now focusing on new technologies and additional applications.

Under the aegis of the Tech-Forum at Persistent, the newer technologies being tracked are search and categorization of structured and unstructured data, real time analytics, performance monitoring and tuning of large systems, convergence, security and multimedia in wireless telecommunications and data management for biological systems.

Narrating the story of Persistent’s successful 16-year tenure, Deshpande lays out the company’s futuristic vision. In the next two three years, product outsourcing will be about building a product end to end. The aptitude for an engineer to be well versed in all the aspects of product life cycle will serve as an advantage in the long run.

A very unique proposition that the company offers is its tech-led environment and its engineer dominated culture. All the senior level people including the likes of the CEOs and the COOs are techies in the coding field.

Comparing Persistent to contenders, Deshpande exudes confidence in his company management style, which is based on a hierarchy where the senior level officials (being well versed in coding themselves), guide and mentor the juniors. This creates an open and interactive work culture.

Passionate about his field, Deshpande has not stopped coding even today. “I still enjoy coding. I am coding at a script level and am writing programs in Ruby and Python currently but I don’t ship what I code.”

Persistent shares Deshpande’s enthusiasm about codes, its increasing clientele evidence enough to set it apart from its competitors.
Providing on the job role models, Persistent follows the work culture of an everyday interaction with its employees. The company believes in understanding the kind of challenges from the engineer’s perspective as it lets build a better work culture. “We work with the expectations they have, the excitement they are looking for and try to channelize this into creating new opportunities. We understand their career plans, career paths and opportunities and we do things to ensure that we take care of them by collaborating working with them to make it happen.

Echoing innovation, the company prides in having various industry and academia collaborations. Through seminars, workshops and academic programs (both interactive and self-study), the employees are ensured with a chance for higher studies and better exposure.

Some of its collaborative efforts also include the advanced work on cancer and bio informatics grid at Washington University, at St Louis, and also at the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCCA), Pune, where data analytics software goes in for looking at huge amount of complex data. Active collaboration with these universities helps the company stay aware of new ideas and allows engineers on the teams to work with cutting edge technology.

Citing the maturity that the outsourced software product development segment is gaining, companies have begun to realize the advantage of outsourcing. There is a certain efficiency that companies who are focused on product development provide, vis-à-vis the companies that offer anything and everything. Persistent offers an bird’s eye view toward all the major company product developments that will help the techie have an over all view of the current market “If you want to write good code, be responsible for shipping different number of products, and get a very good understanding of how products are built and shipped, people like us are the best place to be,” Deshpande assures.