Unlocking the Business Potential with Ethics

Date:   Thursday , October 03, 2013

The millennium year 2000 saw dot-com bubble bust. Several companies either shut down their operations or were acquired by their competitors. When the world IT industry was chasing the Y2K deals, around the same time Devendra Deshmukh and four of his friends who just got their degree in engineering launched their own IT Services company e-Zest Solutions. It all started when Deshmukh and his friends, who shared a passion for technology, wanted to do something of their own when they got moved by a book named ‘The Creation of wealth - The Tatas from the 19th to 21st century’ by R M Lala.

e-Zest saw the light of the day in a 12x8 office in Bandra, Mumbai when the friends launched a customer focused and technology-driven company providing product engineering and enterprise software/application development services that help clients in crafting holistic value for their software development efforts. With an uncertain growth, the friends stepped in the shoes of sales representatives and travelled extensively to build relationships with new clients which worthily rewarded the company in the long run. Today, the company specializes in providing cloud computing, enterprise mobility, analytics and UI/UX outsourcing services and serves over 80 satisfied customers worldwide ranging from startups to global 500 business corporations like Volkswagon India, Reliance Industries, Siondo, Emerson Engineering, ESSAR Oil and several others. They have fully functional offices in Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore in India & Detroit in the U.S. and provides services like product engineering, outsourced product development, enterprise application development, custom software development, startup services and web and mobile/iPhone application development through their 350+ professionals on board.

The company focuses on understanding its clients’ needs and delivers IT services and solutions at right value and required speed. “We bagged one of our first projects from Israel in our first year of inception. The project was with regards to voice recognition. We bagged the project and realized that developing world class products is our passion rather than marketing. This project gave us the push and installed confidence in us,” explains Amol Pande, Director & Founder, e-Zest.

Thirteen years in the game and today the company stands high along with Capgemini, Cognizant, Deloitte, Dextra, MarketShare, Wipro, Accenture, FUJISOFT, Hitachi Solutions and other 833 companies as a privilege Advanced Consulting Partner status of AWS (Amazon Web Services). The company offers cloud consulting and development services and with the new Advanced Consulting Partner status that highlights advanced knowledge of e-Zest on AWS and its wide and proven expertise in handling critical cloud projects to maximize scalability, availability and performance. They are conducting joint event with AWS to communicate Cloud – Roadmap offerings for Enterprises & Datacenter transformation case studies with Fortune 500 clients. This shows how confidently e-Zest is playing their cards right in the most emerging market called Cloud and rising as a strong player in the space by deploying their services of cloud application development services, cloud infrastructure provisioning and administration and cloud computing consulting and professional services through different cloud deployment models like Public, Private and Hybrid cloud services. On the cloud computing consulting and professional services front, e-Zest caters to the ISVs and enterprises by providing experienced professionals in the areas of cloud readiness assessment and ROI/TCO calculations, business critical cloud security assessment and solutions, cloud high availability and storage related consulting services and several others.

A global travel services company headquartered in Paris and Minneapolis was looking for a business and technology consulting partner to implement solution that would replace their existing Microsoft Excel based PEM (Price Evaluation Model) with SaaS based delivered solution and wanted to standardize and automate it to meet worldwide strategic business goals of the company. e-Zest with their strong expertise in travel and hospitality domain coupled with business and technology consulting skills provided the company with a highly cost effective technology solution. e-Zest recommended developing user experience exactly like excel sheet based on cloud, so that client can save millions of dollars on training to users in more than 30 countries and achieved this using rich internet technology & strong architectural skills at e-Zest. They delivered projects for half the time & resources over their competition. e-Zest developed a Quote engine solution which is used on the SaaS based delivery model, it is accessed by all the global offices of the company.

Leveraging the emerging enterprise mobility, e-Zest works across the mobile platforms, frameworks and environments to mobilize ones business. Their mobile application development services spans from idea conceptualization to delivery. They develop mobile applications using SDKs provided by the mobile platform vendors or the cross platform development kits such as Rhodes, Titanium and Phonegap. The company makes use of agile development for quick turnaround of mobile development projects in short development cycle.

Critical business decision makers need access to the right information at the right time, thus their BI and data warehousing solutions practice come with the assurance of predict, track, analyze and present information that impact one’s business decisions eventually resulting in improved business performance. e-Zest provides BI services that include consulting, implementation and support & maintenance services. Deshmukh shares that one of their California based sales, marketing and information solutions provider for distributors in SME market wanted to re-engineer their existing product for sales management using .NET platform along with n-tiered architecture. The challenge was that the existing product was developed as an access application using Visual Basic for Applications. The database was neither normalized nor optimized. It was difficult to add more features and functionalities to the existing system. e-Zest gave high emphasis on technical breakthroughs throughout the execution of the project. In order to eliminate scalability, extensibility and performance issues with two-tier architecture in existing application, e-Zest devised a multi-tier architecture leveraging .NET platform capabilities towards enterprise scale architecture.

With so much of diversity in services and privileged customers, it is no wonder that e-Zest is also an SEI-CMMI Level 3 certified and ISO 9001:2008 certified company and a member of HL7 (Health Level Seven International), which is the global authority on standards for interoperability of health information technology with members in over 55 countries. The company is also technology partner with Microsoft and Amazon.

Valuing Ethics, Valuing Customers

At a time when several companies were struggling hard to get their operations churning, e-Zest got a golden opportunity to grab a project worth crores of rupees. Undoubtedly, the team was ecstatic but suddenly came a big bombshell. They were asked to shell out around 20 percent of the project cost as bribe. Having strongly imbibed and weaved business value and principles in their core DNA, the quintet declined them and did not pursue that path which brought the team closer and made them stronger in ethics. “Although the company lost the project of a large magnitude, but the message others got from this was loud and clear that we are not in the business of bride and we believed strongly in our merit,” adds Deshmukh.

Uniquely placed within the industry and driven by passion to create value for their clients, e-Zest strengthens themselves through customer partnership approach and agility serving a diverse range of industries and business domain including healthcare, manufacturing, travel, education/e-learning and others. The company is well positioned to leverage the major shift happening in the industry, i.e., enterprise user’s demand for world class user experience and anywhere accessibility of enterprise applications due to the advent of cloud applications, big data and next generation mobile apps through strengthening their customer partnership. They take complete ownership and responsibilities for all the projects they undertake. Every project is perceived as an opportunity to bring in innovation through constant learning and application of latest and cutting edge technological solutions.

Through their delivery approach based on e-Zest’s strategy pyramid of key goals: cost, quality and speed, e-Zest has created an enviable track record of delivery & customer delight. One of their delighted clients, an Online ERP company, says, “We are very satisfied and happy to have found e-Zest as our offshore development partner. During our relationship, e-Zest has developed a good understanding of our own vision and work flows and found a way to successfully complement our operations without causing any discontinuities or issues on our side”. Augmenting to the testimonial, Stephen Forte, Co-Founder & CTO, Corzen says, “We engaged with e-Zest for development and offshore staff augmentation. e-Zest enable us to have a good production and high quality that add a long value to our process”.

Deshmukh attributes his success to his employees and believes that ownership is all about taking responsibility. “It is about taking the initiative to solve problems and acting like e-Zest is your own business. We empower the team members by giving them space to take ownership and explore. We strive to bring back the joy of creativity and creation in everyone’s life. We understand that real joy comes from using our talents to create value for others and self. We believe in challenging ourselves and growing in all dimensions including business and personal dimensions,” adds Pande.

The quintet serves clients in 4 continents impacting the local ecosystem positively by providing opportunities to local talent. Deshmukh strongly believes in the lyrics of John Lennon’s song which goes as:

“Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace”

“We believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, i.e., whole planet as a family. We inculcate the ethics that we developed over a period of 13 years and do not restrict our CSR activities to where our offices are but spread it over through the world and provide maximum benefit to our customers,” says Deshmukh.

The Road Ahead

Striving new highs within the industry, e-Zest decided to go IPO and filed DRHP with SEBI for IPO but had to cancel their plans due to uncertain business environment and advice by their mentors about pitfalls of being public when the company is quite small. However, they have not folded and shelved their plans, instead scheduling to do so in the near future subject to capital needs for their growth, market consideration and right time for wealth creation for their stock holders. e-Zest has setup ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) scheme to ensure wealth distribution to all key team members/partners in the company’s growth. At this point in time, the company is focused towards organic and inorganic growth and they have already established themselves in the mobile market through acquisition. The company is already in talks with niche players in cloud, mobile, analytics & BI and UI/UX domain for acquisitions or mergers. They envision being a company of one billion in revenue in next few years and be ranked as “Top 50 Emerging IT Companies in India” and “Best 50 Companies to Work for in India”. With the way the quintet is working, the road does not seem to be so far.