“Every year from now on, we will see many Indian software companies valued at $1 billion and over and there are claims that one company has been valued at $1 billion this year already,” exulted Sharad Sharma, Chair of the NASSCOM Product Forum. That one company he was hinting about that made it to the $1 billion valuation league is obviously Flipkart. But the company has firmly denied the media reports stating it is all media speculation. Sharad Sharma went on to call the decade 2011 to 2020 as 'The Decade of Software’ in the third wave of IT in India. His forecast may not be far fetched. InMobi, SnapDeal, ZOHO and other companies are waiting in the wings to make the grade as marquee software product companies from India. They already are. InMobi and ZOHO’s common competitor is Google. It is now a celebration of Indian liberated thought to take on Google. Who would have dared five years before is a huge question and India is coming of age in the software world as a product-capable nation.“In the next ten years, India will the hub for ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) similar to auto components today,” predicted Sharad Sharma. India’s GDP is set to double in the next ten years and software products will play a major role contributing to the doubling. Rajendra S. Pawar, NASSCOM chairman, sounded equally optimistic. Explaining the trend of India’s software and hardware contribution to GDP growing ten times every ten years, Pawar said, “we might reach $750 billion in another ten years going by the trend but the realistic figures may be $350 to $400 billion.” If the GDP is going to be $2 trillion, then $750 billion is a sizeable contribution, which promoted Pawar to state, “we will define the trend.” Explaining the two theses of Vinod Khosla to embrace risk and Prof. Vivek Wadhwa’s creating army of mentors, Pawar was in no doubt about software products defining the trend of economic growth in India.
M.R. Rangaswamy, co-chair NASSCOM Product Conclave 2011, said that working from home, product entrepreneurs are defining a new trend. Developing a new product, they sell it through the web and realize sales through online payment or through cash deposits in banks. The sales are happening to all across the world and this could take product software to be multi-billion dollar business in India. Stating that bringing the ecosystem together is the objective of the Conclave, Rangaswamy introduced Vinod Khosla stating that Khosla attended a FAILCon in the Silicon Valley and promised to add a Fail track in the conclave next year.
Prof. Vivek Wadhwa in his characteristic style betted on India achieving the $750 billion target in next five years. Defining India as the new Silicon Valley, he said given the positive trends visible today, product software is going to reach unimaginable heights. But his concern was lack of the mentor network that helped Silicon Valley to be what it is today. He sought to develop an army of mentors.
The Conclave organizers color coded the contributors. The Volunteer network was given several color t-shirts appropriate to their contributions. Called black, grey, red and white shirts, the volunteers contributed in several ways in their capacity to help put together the conclave. Later in the evening, prominent technology entrepreneurs and experts were named blue shirts. This included M.R. Rangaswamy, Vivek Wadhwa, N.R.K. Raman of i-flex, Kunal Behl of SnapDeal, Naveen Tiwari of Inmobi and Sridhar Vembu of ZOHO. The blue shirt pledge to elevate the profile of software product industry in India could be first of the many steps to add vigor to the growth of software products in India by NASSCOM.
Lifetime achievement award
Mr. Bharat Goenka, founder of Tally Software, was awarded the first-ever NASSCOM Lifetime Achievement Award for his stellar contribution to software products. Mr. Goenka turned completely emotional in his acceptance speech explaining that his brother who passed away nine years ago set the vision of Tally that anyone using Tally should be happy and concluded, “what we will do in the coming years will be aimed at transforming the Indian economy.”
Program Guide: a comprehensive document
The crowd rent the venue more than festive air as more than 1600 delegates trooped whereas only 1350 booklets were made on the agenda. The Product Conclave Program Guide is an innovation by Black Shirts. Schedule Overview, Content Filtering, Session details, Speaker Biographies and more details made it a handy guide to choose which sessions to attend for the delegate. The schedule guide with colors, timings, themes, and halls in which sessions were held made it easier for the delegate to spot the sessions and venue without hitch. If you wanted to listen to a particular speaker, all the sessions by him were listed in a separate page. If you wanted to attend the sessions on a particular theme, all sessions under the theme were listed by color codes. The delegate experience must have gone a notch or two higher because of this initiative.
–Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, Chief Evangelist