Says, Aslam Khan, CEO Octaware Technologies Limited in an interaction with ITVARNEWS…
Please give a brief overview of Octaware Technologies Limited and the types of solutions you offer.
Octaware Technologies Ltd, a SEI-CMMI Level 3, ISO 9001:2008 and IEC 27001:2013 certified company is highly experienced software development, enterprise solution and consulting firm, having its development centers in Mumbai, India and branch offices in USA, Singapore, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. The company has been serving Fortune 500 corporates, with customer base across the globe.
Octaware provides specialized software architecture, application and product development services and enterprise solutions in the areas of healthcare, finance, and e-government industry. The company has proprietary products for domestic, as well as international markets, such as PowerERM – Human Capital Relationship Management, Hospice – Healthcare and Citizen services solution, and iOnAsset – Inventory management and tracking System etc. These products are available as packaged products as well as software-as-a-service model, integrated with legacy system.
Recently, Octaware has bagged the contract from BPCL for the design and implementation of their loyalty and brand microsites. Tell us something about the contract.
Octaware was one of the bidders and was awarded the contract, post evaluation and presentation of efficient solutions and capabilities to the evaluation committee of BPCL.
The scope of work under the contract includes design and implementation of microsites for BPCL’s loyalty programs – SmartFleet & PetroBonus and other brands – Speed and in & Out. The engagement includes a period of 3 months for implementation of microsites and an additional three years of support and maintenance. Octaware’s expertise in the areas of online portals & enterprise systems helped to win the contract.
How does Octaware differentiate itself, now that so many companies are offering public/private cloud solutions from the manufacturers or reselling other service provider solutions?
Octaware differentiates itself from off the shelf cloud service providers with custom-build cloud applications and platforms. We offer customized services and integrated cloud solutions on public cloud, on-premise and hybrid.
Our solution and infrastructure architects work closely with customers to solve their complex and specific problems with best-fit solution to our customer needs, built on top of leading cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, Google cloud platform and Amazon web services. Our expertise in cloud application development, architecting legacy system for the cloud, and cloud-to-cloud integration with dashboard and analytics, differentiate us from other vendors.
Who do you compete with most out there these days? Have you found the profile has changed a lot over the last five years or so? Or are you competing with different companies you didn’t compete with before?
Octaware competes with product development services companies. Earlier Octaware was known for technically horizontal “boutique” company specializing on Microsoft stack serving across the industries. Our success mantra is “Architect, Build, Customize, Optimize, Deploy and Integrate the solution”, which is our differentiator too.
After public listing, Octaware has strategically verticalized the company focusing on three industries, namely Healthcare, Finance and e-Government. With investment in research & development in the field of “Internet of Medical Things”, Octaware extended its expertise in SMAC (Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud)with a cloud application to collect patients’ therapy data from IoT enabled therapeutic device to make big data-informed decisions. So now the competition will be with different companies into healthcare, IoT and Big Data segment.
Are there challenges that you still face with compensating your sales people compared to the more traditional, where reps make their money selling products off a gross margin—up front versus over time? How do you address that?
The sales people need incentives to sell; hence they are compensated either fully or partially with commission. Compensating sales people with commissions model work very well for selling product and licensing.ICT services selling is different due to limitation on delivery and execution capacity.
Octaware has different sales strategy and compensation approach for sales people. Octaware has Partner consultant and channel partner eco-system to sell our services and products.
The Partner consultants are the stakeholders of the company holding significant equity stake in the company. Their compensation does not depend on success or failure in selling. They are involved in marketing, account management, client relationship and strategy, when not selling.
Secondly, Octaware works with channel partners to develop new markets, increase market shares, and obtain sales target. These channel partners are small to medium companies and entrepreneurial individuals working on revenue or profit sharing model.
Are there any particular vendors where you’re seeing some really good growth in terms of your business and service revenue?
Octaware being Microsoft vendor, MBS (Microsoft Business Solution), and ISV (Independent Software Vendor) partner expects services revenue growth from commercial cloud products, office 365 and dynamics solution.
One of the major challenges that companies are facing is trying to keep up with having the right technical people on staff to provide services, to deploy a lot of these technologies. Is there anything specific that Octaware is doing to address this? Is there a process that you go through to decide when the head count is right or is it just when get a certain utilization rate? And how do you keep feeding that growth of hiring people in a competitive market like we have right now?
It’s always challenging for ICT industry to meet the demand of new technologies with right technical people. Octaware has human resource development program designed to develop technical staff to take on challenges and to train professionals with cutting-edge technologies.
The company organizes on-the-job training to improve practical hands-on skills and off-the-job training by industry experts to provide theoretical knowledge of upcoming technologies. Company also emphasizes on the technical certification program for the employees. Octaware also partnered with business school, TSA – The Strategy Academy, to conduct the management development program for its employees.
Regarding head count at Octaware, it’s well planned for ICT services delivery and in-house product development. Based on yearly sales forecast, execution horsepower is calculated and accordingly headcount required to deliver customer projects are determined and additional manpower is hired. In addition to ICT services sales pipeline, yearly strategy for in-house product development and enhancement determines the required number of technical resources to be hired for building the product.
Octaware strongly believes in the development of the company through the growth of all employees, hence hire-develop-retain the best talent is the mission of the human resource department. To achieve this mission, company has implemented ESOP scheme, Mutual healthcare plan, Technical Skill Development, Management Development Program and Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) by Employees.
What do you see changing most dramatically in the next five years?
ICT industry is disruptive and unpredictable. However looking at work done by R&D labs and what’s going on in the technology space, next 5 years will see drastic change due to emerging technologies such as 3D printers, virtual humans, and sensor networks etc.
For ICT vendors, new application will be developed for the browser and not for a particular operating system. There will be era of “Crowdcoding” and “OpenDev” where software will be written by a crowd and not by a company. The CIOs will focus on driving innovation using technology.
For common people, medical technologies will grow with the growth of IoT, Mobility, Big Data and Cloud computing helping patient’slive normal life.