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Advice Request
Sathya Karthik R
Sathya Karthik R

Sathya Karthik R

CEO

ABIBA Systems

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Sathya Karthik R is a member of:

- Expert
Brief about company, offerings and foundation of the company
ABIBA Systems, founded in 2006, is a specialist telecommunications business intelligence and analytics software firm, with a product and services portfolio. Being a customer centric organisation, we have helped telcos across the globe realize business profitability through our solutions and consultant driven approach.We are reinventing business intelligence and analytics through our domain centric approach and business user driven solutions, which can also co-exist with existing data and BI solutions. Solutions from ABIBA emphasize high user adoption, low TCO and quick deployment.
Risks involved in business and way of addressing
The key risks are – Market related, Operational, Financial, People and regulatory. Over time I have concentrated on addressing these risks through various measures – Market related – Acquiring customers, competing in the market place, redundancy in offerings/ technology, dependency on specific customer/segment/geography. We have addressed the above issues by developing products and solutions which differentiate us - we highlight the value we bring to customer with our domain focused approach. We invest in R&D to bring latest in technology and market trends into our solution portfolio. We are diversifying into newer geographies, adding stronger services offering to our portfolio, newer customer segments such as MVNO, and more domain focused analytics offerings. Operational– Project delivery. Messianic focus on project health – ensuring that deliverables are meeting/exceeding customer expectations in quality and timeline. By using Agile methodology, and nimbleness & non-bureaucratic approach of a startup environment to full effectiveness. People – Acquiring right talent and retaining them Technical skills – Focusing on non-metros and building a talent pool with the right attitude. Management team – Building a team with more diverse background and complementary skills. Financial – Profitability, Cash flows. Ensuring right pricing for solutions and create up-sell opportunities; Tight control on costs; Focus on cash flow management – keeping receivables under control, plan capex and other investments in tune with cash flows. Regulatory – Statutory compliances, Legal contracts, IP .Ensuring that the rules of the land are followed every time – all the time, and is documented.Make sure the legal aspects of lient-partner-stakeholder contracts are done by professionals, and are current and valid .Ensuring that IP, which is the key asset of a product ompany, is safeguarded and is valued appropriately by the market
Most critical decision
To decide on focusing on a vertical - telecom domain - focused business model. We had explored opportunities in other verticals – learnt that we would find it difficult to succeed if we spread ourselves thin and if we do not have a differentiation. Then, we took the key stakeholders along with this decision – shareholders and senior management.
Some of the difficulties faced while building product/ solution
Few difficulties that we faced were - Changing technologies, cquiring and retaining resource, both technical & domain, We were in pursuit of building solutions rather than products. Hence, our solutions had to showcase how they differentiated from the biggies’ products
Motivation and Drives factor
Creating an organization from scratch; Building value for all key stakeholders – Customers, colleagues and shareholders.
Unique about my way of motivating troops
I am available for them when they need me, and lead from the front with lot of personal integrity
Three big lessons/ mistakes encountered while building company
Focused more on product development and competence building, and focused on business development later, Had a limited channel to represent our solutions, I have been indecisive in assigning roles to team, especially senior colleagues, and in deciding on the exit of colleagues
Different actions if I rebuild my company from scratch all over again
I would spend more time on strategizing and have a couple of key people for handling operational roles. Have a clear talent acquisition approach
Way of choosing my people
In Spotting talent - I go by my judgment – gut feel – that is primarily on the attitude of the people and their perceived fit with ABIBA culture. Nurturing and inspiring – Give lot of learning opportunities to people; bond with them personally; lead from the front; acknowledge the contributions of the team; and now focusing on Learning & Development initiatives tailored to the needs of the individual employee.
My role at different dimensions as the company evolved
The first 2 years was more of learning – understanding the business, the challenges, and focusing more on product development and building a core team. Subsequently the role moved to relationship management with stakeholders, understanding the market and making initial sales. Currently the focus is on building the senior management team, revenue generation; more of strategizing and making ABIBA a more valuable organization
The challenges and lessons learnt to get first customer
Our 1st key customer was an opportunity brought by a partner. We were given a very short window to demonstrate our capabilities as a pilot and we made the best use of that opportunity by building a very good prototype showcasing our
product building and domain capabilities. We were given an opportunity to do a pilot project. We focused on ensuring the pilot was a success, which paved way for the final project and many more follow-up projects. Challenges & Lessons– Grab the opportunity; Exceed customer expectations; Do not worry on
profitability for getting the 1st strategic customer; Build a sense of ownership in the team for involving and delivering such projects; Do not get into blame games when project encounters difficulties even if these are caused by other stakeholders – rather work with the customer in resolving these issues in a positive and collaborative manner
Experience of reaching out to potential investors
We are internally funded now. We are in the growth phase where we are looking for bringing in investors in 2013. I am looking for a fit in terms of sector-funding size-investment horizon amongst potential investors.
As a leader how I make sure that I am connecting the right dots
I combine the big picture with being hands-on. This helps to look at issues from different angles. Delegate more to team – hence I can review decisions, and add value more objectively. And I try to be more decisive when it comes to complex situations, because not deciding turns out to be a big mistake many times
My thoughts related to entrepreneurship/ leadership and management
Leadership is about believing in what I do and communicating
that to the team consistently. Entrepreneurship needs passion sustained over longer term and putting the ‘organisation’ before oneself; it is about egolessness and persistence; it is e-learning what does not work OR is not relevant from past anagement experiences; and quickly picking up the essential traits for the new avatar as entrepreneur
Best company I admire globally
Google – For the string culture of innovation sustained and prevalent in the organization. Google has had several product failures. But they continue to focus on innovation and bringing new concepts to market. The lack of fear of failure is a very powerful trait needed for any organization to re-invent and succeed in the market place.
Advice for fellow entrepreneurs
Be passionate about your venture There will be challenges galore. Treat them as learning experience than a difficult situation Read the market, customer needs and competition. Ensure there is a differentiation created and value perceived by the customers in the solutions Ensure your family is committed to your venture and supports you completely Health is wealth – Take good care of one’s health AND GRAB OPPORTUNITIES WHICH COME YOUR WAY
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