Headline 1 : One of the Top Indian Software Companies’ MD says “Making a Software Product is a difficult ball game, requires huge sustaining and marketing power plus R&D efforts and upgrades, not our cup of tea!!
Headline 2 : Again, One of the Top Indian Software Companies’ Joint MDs says “We would like to
collaborate and work, not fight the Software Product Giants. We have our own niche and USD 1 Billion industry, we do not want to de-focus…”
So I would like to ask all my dear readers, what do the above 2 headlines signify? Of course they come from the who’s who of the IT Industry of INDIA, but what do they mean to Indians who have the ambition to be world leaders.
It signifies and very clearly signals the “unfocused and disconnected” approach we have towards becoming, creating or making “WORLD CLASS SOFTWARE PRODUCTS” from India, By India and For the World at large.
Without going into any further controversies or blame games of Headline 1 & 2 like who said what and when they said it, let’s go to the constructive part. Let us address the larger problem as to why India and Indians shy away from or are unable to make great Software Products. After all this is not Rocket Science. So are we not capable enough? What is it that keeps us at number 1 in the Software Services & BPO Segments and restricts us from entering the first 50 as far as great software product companies of the world go… just what is it??
Below are my reasons as to why we are not able to become a great software product development nation. After Sir Philip Kotler gave the 4 P’s for Marketing, I would like to give in my own small way my 4 P’s which I feel are very essential to making the next GREAT INDIAN PRODUCT STORY.
1. Perseverance – Determination, grit!!! Do we have this? Do we have the determination to beat the worlds best in our own markets? Do we have the determination to replace the worlds best out of business? Do we dream and are we determined to see the next OS in all machines tagged with “MADE IN INDIA” labels? Do we see the next Business Application which runs the German and American Industries as “MADE IN INDIA”? Have any of us in the Software field thought like this? Just try this out and the ANSWER WILL BE A RUDE NO.
We have been taught by the IT Industry, and our thoughts and behavior have been trained to perceive the big names as unbeatable rivals. “They have been in business for 20 years plus, they have the financial muscle and the technology backing”… and all that “blah blah blah”. It’s difficult to even think on these lines. I would blame the VC community to a large extent for this as they always want to play in a niche to get their investments out and make quick bucks. In this process they have spoilt the mindset of the entire IT community, both the current and the future ones to come!!!
Guys, lets break our shells and come out. Let’s think beyond making quick bucks for our ventures by selling it out or merging or something like that. Let’s think of a STABLE Software Product Company with Perseverance and with a 10 year horizon. Only then can great products be created and tagged as “MADE IN INDIA”
2. Patience - I have a great example for Patience in the Product Development Space. With great patience Windows Vista was launched, and with great patience it was pushed into the market with some models of Notebooks just supporting Vista and nothing else. What was the verdict? Windows VISTA (all its editions) bombed miserably, maybe in the history of Microsoft it was the worst Product Launch ever but what happened next?
Vista was smartly withdrawn with full blown product support offered for the older Windows XP and its shelf live being increased. Out comes Windows 7 – the next Avtaar of Windows Vista and takes the markets and customers by storm!!!! This is patience for you in the Software Product space.
Now compare this performance with our Top Software Companies – even with 1 quarter of failed projects, lack luster implementation or employee attritions will make the bells ring from top to bottom, the investors will get cautious. A domino effect will be created and the hint from analysts and pundits to sell the falling stock will send the markets “topsy turvy”. With Analysts blaming the newer products for the fall, this forces the management to pull up its socks, up its ante and deliver in the same mundane BPO, Software Maintenance and Delivery space ONLY!!!!
No time for R&D, no time to think and make Software Products at all…So what’s the difference between success and failure? It’s a vast difference, in the Software Product space you ought to have the “PATIENCE”. From your employees, customers, and investors to the market as a whole and you need to make the product deliver using that “Patience” in one form or the other!!!
3. Passion – This is one of my favorite words and topics to discuss not just from a Software Product angle but from an Entrepreneur’s perspective. You need overwhelming Passion to deliver a world class Software Product. You need to see, study the market and your competitors day and night and have the passion to give something better, something royal, something creative, something with man months of R&D which the market will cherish as a true great product “MADE IN INDIA FOR THE WORLD”. In fact the “MADE IN INDIA” Tag itself should get the goose bumps going and the Passion & Adrenalin fuelling to “JUST DO IT”….Need I say more???
4. Products – I mean actually as a product this may sound stupid but this is the fact!!! Many BPO and Software Services companies after serving a few customers in that vertical try to “productize” their domain and service offerings. Then comes the birth of a hybrid Software Product Company (with unfortunately no software product mindset) to make and sell Products!!!
Guys don’t do this. If you do not have the mention, focus and intention of building “SOFTWARE PRODUCTS” in your vision statement and your Memorandum and Articles of Association, its better not venture into this un-known and very dangerous territory. A slight blurring of focus will leave you with neither a Product nor a Service nor a customer to serve. This territory is really tough to bike on and like a double edged sword. You require all the might and the right to sustain and thrive, that’s why you see – there are only a handful of truly globalized Software Products being served by 100s and 1000s of Software Services firms and System Integrators and Consultants ….Its not an easy task but its neither impossible too – It’s fun, right guys???
Without a great product you cannot fight the good fight. Let’s face facts it’s what you sell and how you sell it that will get you on top.
Just to sum it up it’s finally a combination of Great Perseverance + Patience + Passion+ Product which will create ultimately a GREAT INDIAN SOFTWARE PRODUCT of the likes of Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, GOOGLE. So guys, what you waiting for? Just apply the 4 P’s and many more and get roaring.
Akshay Shah is the Co Founder and COO of iWeb Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd.Akshay is passionate about technology and committed to working towards putting Indian tech companies on world map. Check his profile http://www.yourstory.in/entrepreneurs/participants/1843