Manisha Kathooria, the Co-founder of Kays Harbor Technologies, an IT consulting and services organisation, started four years ago from a single room in Chandigarh.
Today, she boasts more than 50 employees.
What made Manisha startup? Her own work experience in the healthcare and IT sector made Manisha realise that majority providers have their own unique processes and systems, which a readymade solution is rarely able to replicate. She says, “That’s the reason why a majority of players prefer to go for custom application development rather than an off the shelf product. In short we wanted to help clients satisfy their exact business needs by building a software solution that matches their business processes, rather than tuning the business processes to software.”
Manisha and her team started with healthcare as their focus industry and soon ventured out across industries, domains and technologies. Their expertise lies in developing custom built enterprise solutions (like ERP, SCM, CRM, internal portals etc.), BI/analytics solutions, mobile applications and software consulting. Manisha is actively involved in strategic decision making and charting out the growth trajectory. From HR, to marketing to strategy and even healthcare projects, nothing escapes Manisha’s eagle eye.
Manish’a own life and work experience has contributed to her venture’s policies, culture and objectives.
Manisha was born and brought up in Faridabad, to working parents who laid stress on ethics, hard work and openness of thought and freedom of expression along with academic excellence. She says,
Thanks to my upbringing, this encouraged independent thinking and confidence to walk on the road less trodden, without losing the importance of hard work and objectivity.
It has been a journey worth travelling
Kays Harbor can be described, as a people owned organisation rather than individual owned. From starting small to hiring the right talent to acquiring clients and delivering commitments on time, it has been an experience of learning and unlearning for Manisha.
We had our own discoveries during the journey. For example, we realised that on boarding the right talent is the most critical aspect for us, and that’s why we are very particular about who joins us.
Empathy and concern while working with people are two traits that are a part and parcel of the culture at Kays Harbor, shares Manisha. These come from the learning she has had from her own work experience. Manisha completed her MBA in IT in 2001 and her first job was with a healthcare IT and ERP organisation, her second one with Indraprastha Apollo.
Skewed gender ratio
According to Manisha, skewed gender ratio is not limited to the IT sector but applies to a majority of sectors in India. “It has nothing to do with finding the right talent but more about our traditional mindset which does not encourage women to opt for a career, largely attributed to the expectations we as a society have from the ‘fair gender’.”
According to Manisha, the onus remains on the management of organisations to introduce progressive policies that encourage women talent to continue their career and rise to top positions. “It’s then when the real change starts to happen,” she points.
It needs to be understood that having a diverse workplace brings better understanding and empathy to the culture of an organisation. We need to understand that women might have special needs at different phases of their career than men, and we need to be sensitive as well as empathic towards that, both as individuals as well as an organisation.
Manisha shares the example of one of their women employees who was moving to Delhi after marriage and was keen to continue with the company. So the company permanently allowed her to work from home and even set up a small office at her home, including physical infrastructure, internet etc. She does travel to Chandigarh for team events and outings.
“For a majority of entrepreneurs, I believe there is a very thin line of difference between work and personal life, and absolutely no such thought as ‘taking time out for oneself’, says Manisha with an all-knowing smile.
For her it is more about managing priorities and she makes sure that her professional commitments don’t conflict when it comes to spending time with her child.
Talking about startups and Chandigarh she says, “Big cities provide an advantage of good connectivity especially air connectivity, abundance of skilled manpower and tech savvy consumers who are always pressed for time and are always on a lookout for innovative solutions. Chandigarh is catching up fast on these parameters and will definitely be one of the best destinations for entrepreneurial ventures in the coming times.”