Archive for January, 2007

Failure of Offshore Development and R&D Center India

Everyday you pick up business newspaper like economictimes businesss standard etc. Its filled with news of IT companies comming in hoards for setting up offshore development center to take advantage of cheap and knowledgable manpower in india. Though their is very less coverage on fact of downsizing and companies going back or looking at other countries.

Being from the SME sector its very important to emphasize SMB from US and europe had not been effectively take advantage of indian operations. Their are multiple factors responsible for it.

– Lot of expectation in terms of software engineering standards and manpower capability. In terms companies want their development staff to be as software design efficent as coding efficent. As this is what they are use to in US. But india does not have efficent skill set to do multiple hat jobs.

– This brings us to the next task training the employee to work according to company culture. By the time money is spent on employee training and he/she is ready they are ready to leave for company offering then next 2000 INR jump in monthly salary.

– Companies here either follow no process or too many processes which slow up the product development or research curve.

– Commitment to work long hours to finish project is often disappearing with shift working becoming the norms

india is all about number game or increasing capacity. If you have a formal process which could be run external to an organization and employing 5 people for 1 thing will also increase efficency and productivity by 500% then only it makes sense to co-locate to india. Otherwise you should consider investing with existing indian IT companies so that risk gets mitigated and local product management techniques in line with corporate objectives are meet timely.

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Online Bus Ticket Reservation – Is it a sustainable model

In India we have recently seen advent of online bus ticket reservation model .Companies like Redbus.in which is in incubation with TiE-EAP bangalore are being seen as the next big thing to reveloutionize the industry. As bus is the preffered form of transportation for millions of indians every day. In this post we look at the model and its capability for replication and sustainabilty

–  Biggest thing against Online Bus ticket reservation in india is that buses dont run by timetables. Official every bus has an assigned route and timetable to match but unfortunately this is not the case. Hence taking money for a service which cannot be guaranteed is another issue. Now some of you may compare it to flight delays but then again your plane would not skip the airport. Buses some time dont stop at scheduled stops or may stop at unscheduled one by their own wish.

– Lack of organization form of transporters mainly this domain has been dominated by state transport corporation or small operators with upto 5-10 buses. Again private operators are yet to follow rules and routes and in tend to save road/toll taxes take non pre determined routes.

– Long luxury buses have just entered the market in last 2-3 years. With comming in of VOLVO we have seen bus travel sector compete with railways.

– Ticket prices for buses are very less and loading of service fees/transaction charges makes a big difference on non-luxury bus ticket pricing.

Reservation via call centre and via mobile phone payments. Passenger upto 30 minutes prior to journey can login via mobile phone to see which bus suites his requirement, make payment and is provided PNR# which can be checked at time of boarding the bus. This way instant travellers can benefit from such arrangements otherwise people will only use these services as time table checker and for trip planning instead of reservation.

Should Entreprenuer wait for the right IDEA!!!

This is a debate i have had with most venture capitalist that and generally outcome has been VC’s resoluting that entreprenuers should wait for the right idea before they take the plunge…..i still beg to differ…

Recently was having a conversation with recent proffesional turned entreprenuer and his words are still stuck in my head. “Their are 2 ways to do business one you have a great idea and a dream you follow and try to build the other way is you take the plunge now going with the flow…trying to make money from whatever opportunity which comes your way till the time you are able to find again that great idea and dream you would like to go with 300%.”

Well most of the people may like to conclude that VC’s were rite in first place you need to have great idea…but what part of the statement i didnt agree was taking the plunge once you come accross one.

After talking t him yesterday i was going through my “ARCHIVED collection of Business cards”, it started to hit me that 80% of entreprenuers from the technology industry dont do what they started out with. After couple of phone calls another realization came forward 60% are more sucessful in their new choosen line.  The 60% of them are those entreprenuers which have re-invented their business to always stay ahead of the curve. Some of them went from hardware business to selling Internet connections to IT infrastructure management. Some went from running cyber cafe to running an IT training institute to being successful as Search Optimization Firm. Industry has evolved people have evolved this is a sign of encouragement for entreprenuers. They are not the infosys or TCS of the industry but people who are proud to be in proffesion of running enterprises and taking call to challenges in dynamically changing enviornment.

For them wealth creation is not the only objective for being in business but its about sense of ownership and pride in achieving milestones their own way. In india its often said “those people are successful who dont work for money but make money work for them”  same goes for business just jump in the bandwagon with an opportunity use your entreprenuer skills to make it happen take it to the next level where you can jump boats to other new opportunity. Again remember VC wont think its a bad thing for you to have on your resume : stint of 2 wins and 3 loses. As they invest in people not businesses and from every loss you learn to do 2 things better than with 1 win.

So dont wait for the right idea but jump on board with the right opportunity..the right IDEA will follow its way to you!!!

Indian Online Deal Aggregator – New channel for E-Retailing

In continuation with our effort to bring out advantages of e-retailing. We look at online deal aggregator and how they are different from comparision website and value they can help you derieve.

Worldwide scenario is seeing rise of e-retailing with retailers who had invested in online sales channel comming out of red. This is a sign of encouragement for new breed of organized retailers joining the bandwagon to take the advantage.

Retailers need to maximize their interest by creating online pressence which is compatiable with new channels like comparision shopping websites,online deal aggregation sites etc.

About Online Deal Aggregators

In the west they are also called the leachers but personally i feel that these sites help consumers reduce time in sniffing through dozens of e-retailer sites for finding deal of the week. Its a newsletter website open for public advantage with link directly to the product page on merchants website. They are not selling things to you their motive is to provide right information at right time

Difference between online deal aggregators and comparision shopping websites

comparision shopping websites need more than 2 merchants offering same product for them to compare online. Now With e-retailing still a niche we dont have smaller merchants playing in this space competing at price factor to catch consumers. Most of them people joining the e-retailing bandwagon at this stage are manufacturers directly.

But Doest Fabmall.com, Indiatimes shopping and rediff shopping exist to provide comparision ?

well as an organization foraying into e-retailing one need to understand all of the mentioned providers are e-commerce platforms. They help merchants setup shop and host their catalogue. So same merchant can be hosting his catalog at rediff shopping and indiatimes shopping. This defeats the purpose for comparision shopping websites.

So How to make your Online Shopping cart compatiable for these channels ?

Se for indian retailers cost is a big factor so for now will advice them to look at RSS – catalog syndication this will benefit them in reaching out to a larger audience and be ready portals corping up as new sales channels.

More of this will get answer from this small email interview with Nidhi Modi from allindiadeal.com which will help you understand the new medium of online deal aggregator and whats in for any e-retailer/merchant.

 

How does allindiadeals.com differentiate from other shopping aggregation sites like ULTOP?

www.allindiadeals.com is primarily focused on serving best deals to its visitors. However ULTOP is a good effort to bring the online comparison shopping in India.

We publish new deals everyday or sometimes even 2-3 times a day to serve the fresh data to the shoppers. Lot of people purchase stuff when they find a good deal on it, whether or not it’s on their immediate shopping list. Users visit our site to check the daily deals and plan to buy a product if they are getting something for really cheap prices. I would like to visit Ultop when I would like do initial research about the product, compare or read reviews but it tedious to visit every product to find the good deals.

With live feeds of catalogue not available how are you managing to keep track of new items being posted?

Currently the process is manual, so we do all the hard work of searching the shopping websites and gathering information. Not getting the live feed catalogs from big online merchant is the main constraint.

We understand that we cannot scale up with the manual process and hence moving towards automation (or better call it semi-automated). We have some 22 sellers/merchants registered with us who provide us their catalog data and the number is growing everyday. These merchant are companies like www.gadgets.in and sellers on shopping portals like rediff or Indiatimes and provide us the data in our format.

Deals cease to publish on the expiry date mentioned by the merchant. Also our team checks the website to remove any stale deals.

I had a good discussion with the ileher.com team in Redmond, WA few weeks back regarding the need for automation. You can check the summary of our discussion on

http://ileher.com/2007/01/19/hungry-for-online-deals

What is current site usage statistics in terms of hits etc. How are you monitoring user click through to other shopping sites?

With online shopping is in nascent stage in India, we have around 1500-1700 page loads everyday with 500-600 unique users. However we are getting word of mouth publicity and visitor trend seems to be good.

Yes, we do register the clicks to analyze the traffic we send to other shopping website. Recently we started sharing this data with registered merchant to show them the value addition we are doing to their business.

What is your basic revenue model and what volumes do you need to generate to become a major force or starting point for Indian shoppers?

We do have a revenue model but still not any significant revenues to mention however we earn some money through Google ads. But Google ads are not our main focus for revenues. We plan to move to CPC model soon and also actively looking for affiliation programs.

We just started our journey and it’s a way to go to become a primary online shopping source for Indian shoppers. But we are running fast!

Your own views on e-retailing scenario in India and is their enough products available in Indian internet online space for an online aggregator to function?

There are 38.5 million Indians online as per the last forecast from IAMAI. The Internet offers an audience that will grow to a 100 million users by 2007-08.

Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) forecasts that e-commerce transactions will cross the Rs 2000 crore mark (2006-2007) which translates into an increase of over 300% from financial year 2004-05.

Great opportunities for merchant and consumer are about to unfold. I agree that e-retailing is still to pick up but it going to explode in a year or so.

e-retailer’s with the advantage of low operating cost with give retailer (only with offline presence) run for their money. Big retailer needs to create an online presence like www.futurebazaar.com, the latest offering from Pantaloon Retails.

There may not be sufficient products available online currently but they will be available in very near future. Anyone who wants to play this game should buckle their shoes now!

Online Advertising Proposal – How to write for your Website

So you decided to go against using the ad networks for getting advertisement on your website. Not really a good strategy if you are not #1 in your niche to attract advertisers directly.Anyway idea of this post is to help you take the next step which is writting an advertising proposal for your customers. Try to make a generic brochure kind of proposal. This way you need to personally address every letter sent out and can request your network to keep forwarding proposal till the time it reaches a hand which is interested or potential advertiser.

Start your proposal by introducing your site. The lines to follow should clearly outline sites niche,category,popularity and usage. Dont throw too much stats at them.

Second paragraph should be an argument “Why you”. I believe in having it at starting so that advertiser dont get bored and rush to straight away costing section to compare with other offerings. This way your purpose,reason and costing will always be read. This section should clearly help advertiser identify target audience of your site and your sites positioning against the competition.

Third Paragraph should explain advertiser services/product your site offers to your target audience. This is easy as its just listing sites usability and part of your vision.

Average site user Profile: – I like to put this as a seperate section again so that if in all the sales talk this information does not get clearly layed out to advertiser he may overlook the proposal.

Important Segment : Identify your potential site advertisers. Example : Online Travel E-commerce companies – give out points in their favour .So that if your proposal reaches out to someone in network he/she doesnt need to use mind to see who will benefit from advertising at your site. They can just forward it straight away to person from the vertical in their contact.

Once done with that provide a layout with description and value it can derieve for a potential advertiser. In the end put in tabular format the costing and your contact details.

With these ingridents your proposal is ready to hit your address book. Will be more than glad for people to refine it further down.

Problem Solved – Disaster Management essential for startups

Emergency response team came through. Special mention to rohit for solving the problem.  Its good for every startup to have a disaster managment plan. For me republic day was not shot of any disaster today with every big thing which could go wrong for a company happening in a single day.

One thing which every company should do is create an emergency response team. Also you should define their roles and activity scope. They should not be submitted to complete unfinished task as this will only happen due to lack of planning. But as a project maintainance team or last minute changes team. Generally the team should be of 3 super stars who are comfortable with each other. Ready to deal with Operation System and hardware issues, Database issues ->highly comfortable with PL-SQL, programming good at C++ (they can program in any language).

With right team any disaster small or big can be talked through!!!!

Indian Republic Day – Is it really an Holiday for US

If anyone noticed the subject well its “US” not “us” though both according to post comes out to be same. Since 7 AM IST the phone was rining with server maintainance issues from Satyam data center Vashi,New Bombay. As i thought will power through this morning for relaxation in afternoon SUN….Phone calls from US office started comming in…

Client had decided to bring forward dates for an application to give live. So instead of Monday it will be Friday. With development team celebrating their official calendar holiday of the year. It was all left on me to carry forward the wait…so that US team does not have to put up a sorry figure tommorow morning. Out of the 2 problems reported. I got one of them fixed thanks to my off head knowledge of PHP and C++.  Second problem has also been identified but due to complex structure of system it cannot be solved within stipulated time frame. The emergency response team is working on the system to make sure nothing goes wrong. But nothing is sure as our emergency response team specializes in .NET technologies.

reason to share this information is an request to united nations to draw up common list of holidays for through out the world to surely avoid this kind of mishap. Otherwise small startups need to draw futher plan to motivate their employees to come work on 26th Jan instead of 27th Dec Boxing Day. Anyway will get back to work….will post if response team was successful or not.


Contact Details

E-mail:siddharthpuri@gmail.com Call Me :+91-9910444460
January 2007
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