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D P Samantarai
D P Samantarai

D P Samantarai


Softtrends Software


D P Samantarai is a member of:

- Expert
Brief about company, offerings and foundation of the company

Softtrends Software Pvt Ltd was founded by
me and Scott Magnes in year 2001 in Bangalore, India. Its primary focus then
was to develop products and customized services around Palm OS, Symbian and
Microsoft Pocket PC platforms. Some of the bestselling products then included 1)
Agenda4us – a group agenda solution that had received Nokia Best application
award worldwide 2) LivePVR – and enterprise compliance management solution for
mobile users 3)Today the focus in on the newer mobile platforms Apple iOS,
Android, blackberry and Windows Phone / Windows 8, and the focus is to develop
cloud enabled products and applications. Some of the bestselling recent
products include: 1) Mobile CRM+ - a Cloud enabled solution for mobile
platforms that mobilizes various CRM servers 2) PVRtracks – Workforce
management solution using Mobile, for small and medium sized businesses 

Risks involved in business and way of addressing

Mobile technology and platforms have
changed dramatically over last few years.Some of the older platforms are dead
and buried and the newer platforms are quite disruptive in nature. The
challenge is to embrace this change and effectively utilize it to gain early
advantage. No doubt, early start has its own share of risk but can be very
rewarding if risk is calculated and product and application delivery executed
in time.

Most critical decision

Decision was to go full throttle of product
development on LBS, Compliance management and Enterprise computing for multiple
mobile platforms during the recession [2008-2010]. Instead of letting go
resources, we used retained earning investing in R&D and it paid back when
markets started recovering around end of 2010.

Some of the difficulties faced while building product/ solution

Implementation phase took the hit, since it
was difficult to find skilled developers for some of the newer platforms. Increasing
pressure on the margins as bigger companies are bidding aggressively for mobile
projects. High cost of availability of mobile devices to test and release the

Three big lessons/ mistakes encountered while building company

1) Market for mobile products was very
small initially ($27 million worldwide) so finding customers for our solution
was difficult due to very small market penetration of smart mobile devices.2)
Investor awareness on mobile was almost nonexistent so we had to invest our own
funds and retained earnings. 3) Expecting people to be loyal just because you
take care of their interest resulted in loosing financial resources and time.

Different actions if I rebuild my company from scratch all over again

If the conditions of availability of the
various resources and mindset towards mobile computing were the same today (as
it was when we built the company), there would not be a better way to rebuild
the company. However, since the condition are different today, if I were to
build a similar company, I would first mobilize enough financial resources to
pick a few good people who can be real prolific in implementing ideas for
enterprise mobility. Training new people and helping them to build career are
they build out solution will be secondary.

Motivation and Drives factor

I believe the world is going to be more and
more instrumented and mobile will serve as a key for data and information
transmission and presentation. In an age where BIG DATA,ANALYTICS and CLOUD
COMPUTING are poised to change the way 21st century will compute, I see great
scope and share for my company who is already in the forefront of mobile
technologies. That what motivates and drives me.

Unique about my way of motivating troops

Challenging people to deliver the BEST or
nothing. We don’t think multiple times before dropping any feature development
(for fear of losing financial investment) where we believe the end result will
not be outstanding. There can be no compromise with the quality of products we
deliver. This motivates my troops and helps build a work culture which is
performance driven, where each and every employee is expected to contribute and
the top most level of their potential. The rewards for good performance include
additional bonus and incentives which is calculated based on the profit. Plus
employees scale up the career ladder based on their aspiration and desire.

Way of choosing my people

We select people based on their General
Aptitude, Ability and interest to learn, adapt, Communication Skills, and Technical
Skills. Anyone who satisfies these conditions generally can be inspired to
deliver as per the company’s expectations.

The challenges and lessons learnt to get first customer

Our First customer sign up was rather
painless because there was negligible number of mobile application development
companies at that point of time so; my credentials are technocrat carried more
weight in selection process. Challenges were no different than today i.e. delivering
quality product in planned time frame.

Experience of reaching out to potential investors

Experience reaching out to potential
investors have not been very satisfactory primarily because of 2 reasons (a)
although research studies show enterprise mobility is where wealth is made by
mobile solution companies, investors are more receptive to ideas for masses /
individual users that brings in large non-paying customer base,  (b) most investors are looking for much
younger generation entrepreneurs. 

My role at different dimensions as the company evolved

With 27 yrs of experience in R&D and
product development experience, computer science education from the top
institute in India, and award winning products in my personal portfolio, my
initial role was to guide people technically and in product management. As we
kept building teams, major part of my role shifted in training managers to do
what I have been doing. Once the products were developed, my role also included
guiding the sales and marketing team. But, I still continue to mentor product
management and technology selection resources as we formulate new ideas and
work on new technologies. 

As a leader how I make sure that I am connecting the right dots

Keep things simple and make the best effort
to simplify complex things. A leader as the name suggests is one who leads by
examples and just does not sit and delegate work. The leaders I have are some
of the best that industry can have. I advised them to use their intuition and
experience to get things delivered. I ensure that my interference is limited
only to the aspects for which inputs are needed from me. I trust my leader and
frankly this trust motivates my leaders. A motivated human can connect earth
and moon, needless to say for dots.

My role at different dimensions as the company evolved

Ethics is important and is the backbone for
any company to grow and prosper long term. It allows us to earn customer
loyalty and retain existing customers as acquiring new customers is an
expensive proposition. So upholding ethical values is quite important. In
today’s world, there are many ways to earn wealth for someone who can be an
entrepreneur. But there is only one way to feel good about it and continue in
the right spirit and ethics is the biggest catalyst for one to be successful in
this path.  Ethics comes in multiple
forms – not stealing customer’s IP, transparency to customers, and making sure
HR, and finance acquire and use resources in ethical way are a must.

Best company I admire globally

Microsoft. Took
computing to masses. 

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