Sameer D. Tejuja, Vunya Infotech, on IT consulting and Product Development in India

By Team YS|15th Jun 2011
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What is Vunya Infotech all about?

Vunya is about bringing to the Indian companies preconfigured IT solutions to manage, enhance, deliver and scale their businesses. Vunya specializes in bringing globally accepted best practices used by best in class companies, adapting them to local processes and delivering them through cloud based platforms. The three stages Vunya takes a company through are expertise(in making a company more efficient), excellence(in altering the behavior of the company helping it move ahead of its competitors and winning market share), evolution(in transforming the industry to a much higher degree of service and credibility).

How is Vunya Infotech different from other IT Consulting and Product development firms? What are your flagship solutions?

Vunya presents a complete solution and guarantees success. We do not get paid unless our customers realize the benefits envisioned and agreed upon. This is done by no other IT Consulting or Product Development company. IT Consulting firms present a view on what could be the cost estimate and charge accordingly. Implementations are charged separately and this engagement is treated like a project. Product development firms customize a preconfigured solution. Its almost like one size fits all approach. Vunya does neither. We have a suite of modules linked together in a platform approach which is then customized at a process level to deliver custom solutions at platform delivery capabilities. Anytime, anywhere, anyhow. We make it happen.

How did the idea Vunya Infotech for come about? How did you zero in on the name ‘Vunya Infotech’? How much capital was required to implement the idea?

Vunya Infotech was an idea in formation for a few years. It started off after a discovery that global leaders in an Industry don't all use technology in the same function, or with the same vision and that clear innovation in process and enablement brings strategic advantages to a company. These strategic advantages have resulted in creation of Industry leaders. Global learning and exposure to these innovations and a knowledge and experience of Indian businesses lead to the creation of Vunya Infotech. Vunya is the name of a musical instrument. In the english language 'Music to my ears' denotes contentment and satisfaction. Vunya is the instrument that brings this music to your business.

At the time of formation, although the grand goals were outlined and envisioned, there were several paths we had to choose from. We chose the path of gradual growth. Our capital needs are ever expanding. Currently we've deployed approximately Rs. 125 lakhs into solution and personnel development. We expect this deployment to continue with an anticipated total funding requirement of Rs. 500 lakhs for the current phase of Vunya.

Tell us about your background.

I've forayed into the business world since I was 18 and started working part time in my family business. I joined the business full time after completion of my bachelors degree. My first full time job was in sales of speciality and contract manufacturing for European clients. After a few years of 'on the field' business experience I took an interest in technology and modernized operations bring about automation in systems and process. This struck a spark and lead me to the US for completion of a MS degree in Information Systems. On completion of my post graduate degree, I joined a venture fund on Wall street managing operations and technology. Following this, I headed the technology team in a Software company delivering new IT products to its customers in the form of composite technology and service solutions focussed on the advertising and media industry. After spending almost a decade in the US, I migrated back to India to fulfill the role of Global Vice President at Genpact, responsible for IT products. I founded Vunya Infotech after my term at Genpact. Somewhere along the way I also got certified in PMP and completed testing for a Green Belt Certification in Six Sigma. I also have a Diploma in Software engineering.

Let us know about the tie-ups that you have.

Vunya

Vunya Infotech has no tie ups for technology. We do have tie ups for server hosting and enablement conduits like SMS but have built our technology from the ground up. Given we are new in this business our list of client testimonials isn't as large as we would like it to be. However we do have case studies where we've positively impacted operations of a financial services company by modifying its online/offline support strategy by our customer support management platform – Saahay (www.saahay.com) or impacted back office operations by enabling data and files onto the cloud with our module of FileStore based on the Saahay platform.Our latest launch – Treyah (www.treyah.com) is a logistic management platform focussed on the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry and this has already won us some attention in the industry. We have landed our first customer (a pharmaceutical drug delivery company) – currently under implementation and have received positive intent from 2 more multinational drug manufacturing companies one of whom wants to adapt the Treyah process in Europe post an Indian success.

Where do you see Vunya Infotech five years from now?

IT consulting and Product development are undergoing a sea change. From being solution recommenders to solution enablers, IT consultants are moving towards being thought leaders in process and product development firms are moving towards increasing integration and enablement. IT product firms will integrate more with other providers, create standard adapters or enable external teams to develop on their platform. Vunya Infotech, in the next 5 years, aims to be the dominant IT solution and a way of doing business in the industries it serves. We aim to be a complete one stop solution for Pharmaceutical, Insurance, Retail and Financial Services providers delivering industry specific portals on a pay as you use basis.

What is Vunya Infotech revenue model? Have you been funded?

Vunya's revenue model is multifold. We charge our customers on usage, customization fees which are further segregated according to modules required. Vunya's entire business model is success dependent. Our revenues are directly co-related to the savings we can deliver through automation and transformation. Vunya is seed funded by the promoters of the company.

What are the challenges that you faced while developing your solutions? How did you overcome those challenges?

One of the biggest challenges that Vunya faced at inception and even today is the lack of transparency in the Indian business process. Data shared is considered data sacrificed. Hosted systems are considered vulnerable to attacks and business critical data is often archived and digitized in traditional manners of printing or offline back ups taken at point in time. To counter this Vunya has a published terms of service guaranteeing handling of data and access to systems. We invite our customer to be a part of the monitoring process and have published audit reports captured automatically by our systems to methodically walk our customers through what our tech support staff have interfaced with and what parts of the systems they do have access to. This problem is far from solved and we continue to face this uphill task.

Another big challenge we face is calibrating benefits. While most companies are happy to quantify direct benefits, indirect benefits due to superior processes and better data and process management are not easily accepted. We now present our customers with muti-year ROI models incorporating business benefits from transformation and therefore indirect realization of additional profits.

A third challenge we face is on the solution development side where people developing solutions have no understanding of process let alone the adapting of change. Process consultants and technology consultants would limit vision to automation and not transformation. We adapted a blue sky approach where we brought in domain experts and industry leaders to guide on needs and vision and best practices. Several sessions of brainstorming and imaginative process modeling goes into developing product vision. Given that the solution comes from visionaries in each industry and not by automation of current process the goal is clearer to achieve.

How big is the team behind Vunya Infotech? Are you looking at hiring?

The management team at Vunya is currently made up of 3 team members. I head our marketing, finance, product development and alliances and vendor development activities. Archana Samat our Design Director heads our User Interface, branding and corporate HR functions. Mohammed Shoaib, heads our product architecture, integration, framework design and training & deployment function. Immediately succeeding the Management team are product development teams – responsible to Shoaib, Customer support teams – responsible to Sameer, and design teams responsible to Archana. We currently have 16 members in the Vunya family and 8 affiliates who work on a part time basis with us. We are hiring and expect to have 30 family members by December 2011. Interviews are ongoing as we are always looking for like minded people.

Let us know about your expansion plans.

We recently expanded to a representative office in New York and are now looking at opening development centers in Pune and Chennai. This is anticipated to be completed by mid-June 2011. Staffing plans and interviews for these centers are ongoing.

In addition to organic growth, we're also looking at acquiring proprietary software from foreign locations through either company or asset acquisition as a means to hasten development and also bring in functionality on a much more frequent basis. We hope to make at least 1 company acquisition this fiscal year.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

Vunya currently has 6 major clients all of whom are head quartered in Mumbai with services and branch offices across several cities in India. We're in the process of appointing product dealers and domain consultants to help market our solutions on a Pan India basis. We expect to have 3 domain consultants advocating our platform solutions by December 2011.

Do check out http://vunya.com/ for more details!

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