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July - 2012 - issue > View Point
Having a Superior and Compatible Solution should be the Goal
Biju Nair
EVP, Product Management & CSO-Synchronoss Technologies
Monday, July 2, 2012
Biju Nair is the EVP, Product Management and CSO, Synchronoss Technologies and has over 18 years' experience as an entrepreneur and technology industry leader. In March 2011, Nair joined Synchronoss (Nasdaq: SNCR), a provider of on demand transaction management technology. Synchronoss' software platforms automate subscriber activation, order management and service provisioning for all connected-devices, across any communication service, from any channel, where he serves as the Chief Strategy Officer. He is responsible for leading the strategic vision of the connected devices and cloud computing for profitable growth of the company's product portfolio. Prior to joining Synchronoss, Nair was the Chairman & CEO of Sapience Knowledge Systems, Inc., a venture backed wireless software company (acquired by Synchronoss Technologies in 2011). He was also the SVP & GM of the Connectivity and Security Group at Smith Micro Software and Corporate Vice President & GM and founder of Mobility Solutions Group at PCTEL, Inc. which was acquired by Smith Micro in 2008.

Activities bursting in Synchronoss

Being an 11-year old NASDAQ company Synchronoss is one of the fastest growing technology companies in the U.S with roughly $250 million in revenue. Our primary customers are wireless status providers, OEM, and cable MSO's. As a transaction management technology company, we focus on connected devices base and participate in every aspect of connected device in the hands of subscriber of a wireless carrier. Our products like subscriber of activation and subscriber of procurement product is essentially an e-commerce platform. For example, if you make any transaction on the AT&T’s website such as buying a new hand set or any type of transactions related to that, and this is not just related to wireless but also to wire line set of the pieces that actually goes to our e-commerce platform called ConvergenceNow. Though all of this is branded to AT&T and runs as an AT&T system on the front line but behind the scenes the engine is ours. Our platform enables companies to get a new subscriber or retain a new subscriber by selling them additional products and services. So we are a part of their subscriber acquisition process.

­­­With devices becoming very personal and important, and data has to be backed up and secured, we have a cloud synchronization solution that saves contents on smart devices, uploads them and backs them up into a cloud. Vodafone deploys these solutions and this is the single largest cloud deployment solution available in the market today. With 42 billion subscribers who are on the solution, we manage about 5.7 billion entity in the cloud and various devices that are connected to the cloud synchronized about two million times every day with the cloud.

We recently made an acquisition of a company called Miyowa, which is based out of Marseille, France, which brings together very innovative solutions for us to help us leverage this platform. With lots of people using social media network and commenting on the pictures and thoughts at the same point of time creating a lot of chatter on the network and start to communicate with all the devices that are attached to that particular poster or picture, it creates two types of problems for network operators and subscribers; one is the amount of chatty traffic on the network, and the other is a large number of users create small amount of traffic but all being on the network simultaneously and communicating with each other through social media network. What our solution brings is the aggregation of the various social media networking sites available.

My role and strategies put forth

I work with the senior management team to make sure the strategy that is to be put forward for planning the next stage of our growth is two fold — one that is current and relevant with what the industry is doing today and more importantly making sure that we are very tightly catering to the current and featured needs of our customers. Since our major customers are mobile carriers, we continuously make sure that the technology available to them does not marginalize them as a pipe, and actually makes their customer stickier with their products and services. Our strategy is to make sure that they have a compatible or more superior solution that will give them an option to go with any device they chose to. The other strategy is around social media networking, and one of the largest areas of participation is in the e-commerce equipment as you get into any dotcom and you make any transaction, but only the strength is increasing consumers who will buy their product and services based on recommendation.

Challenges as a CSO

The biggest challenge is to make sure what we do today is very current to the business needs of these large carriers. They are always in a hurry to launch a service or product in NASDAQ. Being a vendor to them, we always have to stay nimble and flexible to make sure that why we are regretting the current road map. It also caters to any perceived threat that they might keep from their customers, as we should alter our road map at the top of our hat to address those needs. The second is the skill as these are all very large operators, so when we are putting a product out there we have to be extremely disciplined to make sure we are allocating time and following the agile development methodology to make sure that we are being flexible where we are offering products and services.

Biggest Career Learning

Having been entrepreneur earlier, and now a member of senior management of MNC, I have seen both sides of business. I believe that the entrepreneurial spirit is keenly important no matter where you are. At Synchronoss, even though we are moving towards being a larger company, internally we function with a "let's get it done" attitude which is exactly what the carrier expects out of people who are providing technology to them. That "can do spirit" and ability to turn on a dime and not say 'this is the road map we are committed to' and 'we can't do anything more for you', it does not fly with mobile operators today. Having that entrepreneurial spirit and keeping that going is very important. Being a public company we have certain commitments to Wall Street, so unlike a startup, where profitability and earnings per share are not critical in the initial stages of business, here we don't have that luxury. We need to be very careful of where we allocate our capital to. There are rooms for so many mistakes, be it pure organic based capital allocation or spending the share through its money in acquisitions that we do. When we try to launch a new business or acquire a company or get into a new area. I try to write a press release internally and see if I am able to tell a compelling story. If it doesn’t pass, we stay away from it. Secondly we try to get into area where we have one senior executive from that company who has an expertise in it. Everybody makes mistakes, but make sure to have another plan and have practical action in place to recover from it quickly.

Vision Ahead

The goal is to double the market cap in the next three years. We plan on continuing to capitalize on the opportunities available from the connected devices space. Right from the procurement of the device to all the way up to the usage of that device, we are looking to tap the opportunity. We are sitting in the middle of the circle, where we can leverage all the information and provide the wireless operator with a rich set of analytics that actually helps the operators to up sell more intelligently into the subscribers. If there is any innovative device and the carriers are holding, they know who the prime candidate for that device is and they sell it with a creative data plan along with the device. The ultimate goal of the company is to make sure that we can bring together all of these products and services that we offer and the intelligence that we gather as a result of doing that, without taking away the privacy of the subscribers and making it available to the carriers so that they can get more into up selling.

(As told to Christo Jacob)

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