Sunil Kumar, GreeneStep Technologies: On-demand business automation solutions for SMBs

By Team YS|15th Jun 2011
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Greene Step

We at YourStory caught up with entrepreneur Sunil Kumar to learn more about his venture, GreeneStep Technologies and their product, the OnCloud Business Suite. GreeneStep provides ERP, CRM and business automation solutions to SMEs and in this chat with YourStory, Sunil speaks about his venture and how they thrive by applying KaaS (Knowledge as a Service) methodologies.Sunil, please tell us what GreeneStep Technologies is all about.

GreeneStep enables small and medium businesses to deploy on-demand ERP/CRM/business automation solutions quickly and with ease.

Applying Knowledge as a Service (KaaS) methodologies, in built into our GreeneStep OnCloud Product, we carefully analyze client business processes before advising on the solution module(s) they need to deploy, how to scale to cover new smartphone devices, and the service delivery mechanism, on-premise, or SaaS, that is best suited for their requirement.

How is GreeneStep Technologies different from other software development firms? What are your flagship solutions?

Most ERP solutions were designed with large manufacturing companies in mind and often take months to deploy and are very expensive to maintain and upgrade.

Having experienced the immense benefits that large enterprises derive from ERP solutions in driving business advantage, GreeneStep’s founders set out to offer all the benefits of an enterprise class ERP solution, packaged in an easy-to-buy, configure, deploy, manage and upgrade model, for small and medium size businesses.

GreeneStep’s flagship product ‘OnCloud Business Suite’ is the most flexible product in the market today of its kind. The integrated product can go live in two weeks either as ‘On Premise’ or as ‘On Demand Hosted’ Model.

GreeneStep ‘OnCloud’, recognising the need of SMBs in service and retail sectors, offers configurability at the heart of its architecture. It understands multiple partner environments and works seamlessly across smartphones like Android, iPad, iPhone and extends customer reach into social media, all without writing any code post deployment.

How did the business idea for GreeneStep Technologies come about?

Necessity is the mother of all inventions. GreeneStep was founded by creating an opportunity in the face of adversity during the 2008 recession.  After working in the US for large ERP projects, I sensed the market opening up in India for SMBs/services companies and returned to India to work on this space.

Greene Step Founder

GreeneStep was born when Everest Software, a US based ERP Product Company was winding up its India operations and a few large IT companies were bidding to buy the same.Having been associated with the company for long, I tabled an offer to support their existing clients, on product development and support levels as an independent company, letting me take over the company along with its existing ODC infrastructure. This was a win-win for all and accepted wholeheartedly by the erstwhile management. Eventually, along with colleagues, I took over the Indian company and retained the full team.

We were greenhorns when we started and this was our first step. That’s one reason why we called it GreeneStep. The ‘e’ in our name stands for our business interest - ERP, Ecommerce, Education and Entertainment.

Tell us about your background.

I am an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, 1995 batch and have invested the last 16 years working on ERP solutions in India and overseas. A software engineer by education, I specialise in program management, business consulting, and operations management. This experience is now helping me chart exciting growth paths for GreeneStep and make it a global entity.

Where do you see the enterprise software space in India and GreeneStep Technologies five years from now?

Scale has arrived in India in a big way for all businesses. Even in a work force surplus country like India, use of business software will only increase and is the only way to standardize operations and increase productivity. The qualification of the work force using the systems will fall and the ease of deployment and use will go up.

Retail and services industry will focus on core business services and just hook into the cloud for best practices, low capex and high flexibility. Hence, the immediate future is SAAS and on the cloud. Two years from now, the market will mature towards Knowledge as a Service (KaaS).  We want to be a critical partner for our clients in KaaS. We’ll be saying, take charge of your customers and we will ‘technology-enable’ you with usable knowledge and solutions.

Speaking about KaaS and your cloud product, can you take us through some unusual use cases that you’ve noticed?

One of our clients uses our iPhone app along with the iPhone camera for scanning bar codes and manages pet food consumption and reorder in Australia. For one client in the US, we do a KaaS service on our product that is ‘hosted and managed’ by GreeneStep and help in increasing in e-commerce sales, month after month. A Harvard Professor uses our custom product to manage his coaching program for CXOs. A time-share company in India uses our product to manage inventory and do customer management.

What is GreeneStep Technologies’ revenue model? Are you looking at funding?

Our clients have enabled us to reinvent and deliver for over 3 years. We are debt free and have not gone for funding and yet declared profits. OnCloud is a new generation ground product for which we ploughed back earnings and have made the big investment. Internal accruals and efficient running of ops will keep us growing and profitable. We are debating on channels of funding to build scale but have not finalised any plans to go to the market for funding.

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

The first challenge was to get customers from the US market without ever travelling to the US. Technologies like WebEx and Skype helped us on that. The second challenge was in reinventing our product for current generation technologies when we could have easily deployed people for old technologies and declared more profits. Our team’s domain knowledge and clients’ support gave us the confidence to go ahead and invest. However, the single biggest factor was the committed team members who rise to the occasion repeatedly.

How big is the team behind GreeneStep Technologies? Are you looking at hiring?

We’re a 33-member team and nearly 20 members are involved in software development and support.  A majority of the members have been together for almost 10 years and moved in when I took over the Indian setup and floated GreeneStep. As I said, my team has a rich tech-domain experience and has a very good agile attitude towards delivering quality output and absorbing new technologies.  We are looking towards recruiting fresh talent from colleges for both development and product support. We will also be investing heavily in our sales channels this year.

How has the journey been so far? Let us know about your expansion plans.

We currently have 100+ active customers for development services and on the product; we bagged six orders for the new OnCloud product in May and are currently in the implementation stage across US, India, Singapore.

GreeneStep is also an exclusive technology partner for developing SAAS products for US customers and collaborated with Payment Processing Inc. for online payment solutions and with Neustar for DNS and Web performance solutions.

We are currently focussing on increasing our product sales and expand the support staff in US and Singapore offices in next one year. In terms of revenues, we would like double it before next year. By year-end, we should have partners in UK and Middle East.

We at YourStory wish Sunil and GreeneStep much success. To know more about this venture and their cloud-based product, check outhttp://www.greenestep.com/. Also, let us know your views on this story by writing to us at feedback@yourstory.in.

Sriram Mohan | YourStory | 15th June 2011 | Bangalore

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