The Journey: Early days to how I got here

Date:   Tuesday , July 03, 2012

I have been in the IT industry since 1993 with more than 18 years of experience. Initially, I ran a bespoke software solutions company called Global ware in early 90’s. I also had an experience of running a dot com company for a very brief stint from 1999-2000 which business busted. Then, I founded Udyog Software India Ltd.which became the largest selling excise software company and 2ndlargest brand in India in Packaged Software (D&B 2007). Exited this venture when a US based company wanted to enter in India markets. I also had an investment in ERP Services Company where I exited with average returns in 2007.

My experience includes create successful start-ups and creating software brands and marketing them. I have knowledge of Indian software product market and specliazed domains like Manufacturing, Retail & Distribution.

Since2006 I am the CEO & founder of MAIA Intelligence, an enterprise application software product company with less than 50 technocrats and mission to democratize BI.

Also currently I am secretary for ISB (Indian School of Business) CEE Alumni Mumbai Chapter and secretary of IAMCP (International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners) for India Chapter. I am NASSCOM Regional Council Member for West. I am also a member of IT Committee at Indian Merchant Chambers (IMC) and Indian Angel Network (IAN).

Decisions that mattered

American scientist Carl Sagan once said, knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart. Intelligence is not information alone, but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used. This holds as good for companies as it holds good for individuals. The start-up we were part of had taken decisive growth steps, implementing ERP software. The customers were happy with the product, but often found that an ERP implementation alone would not suffice to meet their information needs.

The Turning Points

My efforts and laser beam focus has so far helped me defeat bigger and highly funded competitors in diverse business. My two most precious assets are: time and money. My secret weapon is know how to cut through bureaucracy.

Work and Role: Then and Now

After we had set up this ERP product, we found the challenges of creating lots of report. People were putting in data and saying that they weren’t getting enough back. The Udyog team added a reporting tool to the business software as a plug-in and found the users liked it. Customers soon started asking for reporting features in specialized business software such as customer relationship management and human resource application.

After having tasted initial success, each day that goes makes it easier for us to reach our goals. Being recognized as a significant player in the BI space by the industry, media and customers is our biggest achievement.

Two Years down the Line

Going forward BI space shall definitely is going to mature and open up. BI will meet the demands of tomorrow’s digital natives; integrate seamlessly with cloud data and platforms; align people, conversations, and data with business strategy;and make the most of the infrastructures we have today.

• Simple: the right interfaces for the right people at the right time
• Seamless: tightly integrated with data sources, applications, and business processes
• Social: allow people to collaborate around analyzing information and making decisions
• Strategic: closing the loop between strategy to execution
On-demands BI, embedded BI, would be the future roadmap.

Changing Days: Lessons Learnt

Following are few of the lessons I have learnt across my professional life.
One has to go where the other guys haven't. Take advantage of what you have so that you can beat the competition with what they don’t. Many believe that great ideas and lots of energy will always triumph, so they waste countless dollars and years fighting the bad guys on their own turf. Well that is not the case many a times.

In any industry, you’ll discover is that the people with power are those who either do the buying or make lots of sales. Follow the money! The money leads to power—the power to make decisions, the power to build the business you want to build, the power to hire and fire and shape and dream and succeed.

What I learnt along the way

Following are few of the things which sometimes keep us awake at night: In spite of the rapid growth of the company, there is always a big question mark on "How Do We Make It Big?" There are several factors that as a start-up, we had to work upon, to keep everything in the air – marketing, fund raising, product development and team building.

My startup feels like a juggling act. How do we keep everything in the air — product development, fund raising, marketing, developing a team, keeping the coffee cups clean. Every day we just hope that when we do inevitably drop something that it isn’t the chainsaw.

We need to be an execution machine! All great problems to have! It keeps me on my toes.

Trends to Watch Out For

Quite a few trends like self-serve, real-time analytics, on the go enhanced data visualization, and BI through mobile are shaping up in BI space.

My Advice If You are Starting Out

Do what you are passionate about, with required skills and experience. At the same time the business plan should be able to derive big opportunity for revenue. Starting a new business is one of the most exciting things that you will experience in your life. It is also one of the best decisions that you are ever going to make. Also, constantly look for mentorship from a senior industry veteran who can help sharpen your vision further.

Areas of specialization

A lot is happening in BI front-end space beyond conventional drill down, slice-dice. We have already started exploring the Web 2.0 based technology wave of RIA (Rich Internet Applications) based BI. This kind of intuitive GUI was never experienced before by business users. BI on Rich Internet Application technology is evolving.

Books/ Websites I Recommend

Business Intelligence Blog - which has now become the hub for most comprehensive compilation of enterprise level corporate IT content, including information on emerging BI software trends, CIO community, events and knowledge, Challenges, vendor commentary, compliance considerations and other areas of interest to both global and Indian companies, technology professionals and industry constituents.

Last But Not Least

BI professionals must understand and address critical challenges to manage the work flow smartly in a BI environment. BI project has to be recognized as cross-organizational business initiative, and to understand that as such they differ from typical standalone solutions. Business sponsors to be engaged who enjoy required authority in the enterprise. Availability or willingness of business representatives for a BI. Skilled staff available for BI project implementation (ETL, data warehousing, etc.) and management. The project should follow a breakdown structure and a methodology. Business requirements should be analyzed and business activities to be standardized. Dirty data should be tackled before being ready for BI as it may drastically impact business profitability. The necessity for and the use of meta-data should be understood well.