Offshore Companies Can Launch Successful SAAS Products

In last 10 years, SAAS applications have disrupted traditional Enterprise Software Industry. It started with SalesForce, and the trend continues till this day. Here are some of the things that differentiate SAAS from Enterprise Software model:

  1. Variable Cost
  2. Efficiency with Scale
  3. Services (Instead of Product)

The list can go on-and-on. Numerous articles have been written about why SAAS works better than the traditional Enterprise Software. In this article, I would like to mention one aspect which is sometimes overlooked.

Traditional Enterprise Software companies require a large “Sales Force” to schmooze customers for annual license (and maintenance) contracts. Selling Enterprise software requires “connections” in the industry. This is a competitive advantage that deters most new entrants from launching their competitive Software products.

Alternatively,ย Most SAAS products acquire their customers using their online e-commerce portal. Since customer acquisition happens online, traditional competitive advantage (“connections in the industry”) does not work here. Instead, now the customers can try multiple products simultaneously and pick the best one that suits them the most. “Technical Prowess” and “Quality of Customer Support” become the new competitive advantages.

Since “Technical Prowess” and “Quality of Customer Support” become the key differentiating factors, any company that can provide high quality on these 2 parameters has a good chance of success. Interesting point is that these 2 parameters can be executed remotely! This brings Global teams into the picture. A team sitting in India or Philippines or Brazil can deliver high quality Technology and Customer support. They do not require Sales foot-soldiers in the US to gain US customers. More importantly, these teams can do it at a better RoI (Return on Investment).

We are seeing this trend at a fast pace. SalesForce is continuously challenged by their Indian competitor, Zoho. Zendesk is challenged by its Indian competitor, Freshdesk. Olark has a powerful competitor in ZopIM. Browserstack (based in India) is the best SAAS based testing platform.

The list goes on!

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New Developments

Its been a while since I wrote something on this blog. Got a bit too much involved in the biz-at-hand and thats why could not keep up with writing new articles regularly. You are not buying it, are you? Ok..ok…I admit..I became lazy. My bad ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Now that we are on this topic…all of a sudden I feel that there is something interesting to write about: “Why do majority of bloggers NOT write regularly?” hmmm…I am going to write about this in my next posting.

For now, let me update everyone about what I was doing, where I was and everything else…

So, after the b-school, I moved to Overland Park, KS (yes…Kansas) to work for a company called Embarq. They provided me a great opportunity to work in the CEO’s office as an internal consultant. (Yes…I worked in CEO’s Office. Dan Hassey was the CEO of Embarq at that time. And currently he is the CEO of Sprint, trying to turn-around that company. Good Luck Dan..I know you can do it). Coming out of the b-school, I got this great opportunity to work in Dan’s office…heck ya…I will move to Timbuktu for that ๐Ÿ™‚

Things happened fast in Overland Park. I was full-time employed there. Enjoyed it. Also, I was leading blogoxy.com (which I founded while in School). But good times do not last for ever. n boom…here came the acquisition of Embarq and the layoff (Oct 2009).

This was the time when DSPs and Ad Exchanges started to pop up. Ad Networks started to look so much a “thing-of-past”(To become an ad network was our revenue model for blogoxy) and therefore it was time to say good-bye to blogoxy. Thanks to Vimeo, you can take a look at its video pitch.

So, job is gone. blogoxy.com is gone. Now what to do?

Instead of doing an intensive job search, I decided to start something full-time (remember, blogoxy.com was always a part-time gig: In school and then at work). So, I contacted few of by buddies and we came across the idea of the food business (in India). The country was growing at 9-10% growth rate, middle class was booming, malls were flooded with people, retail revolution was undergoing…how could I not join the bandwagon? So, in Nov’09, I packed my bags and moved to India with a hunger to open a food retail chain in the country. I and my good friend Nimai got together to start our company NIMSAN RETAIL and the brand: Mr. China.

Mr. China:

NIMSAN RETAIL opened its first outlet on Dec 28th’09 in GIP Mall @Noida in Delhi. Yes, I landed in New Delhi on Nov 7th and we opened the outlet on Dec 28th. It really does not take more than 2 months to open a food outlet (knock-knock all brick-n-motor folks). Coming form the Technology world, and planning to open a food chain, we automated our entire business processes.

The company became profitable by May’10 (in 4-5 months). We told ourselves…great…now lets expand it. N here came the roadblock. It is very difficult to raise funding in India (if you do not come from a rich family) for a traditional business. Yes, maybe we could have raised funding for a tech company, but for a food business…NO…there was no money. So, we decided to go with the FOCO model (Franchise Owned, Company Operated) for expansion. Basically, what this meant was that the franchisee would be the investor and NIMSAN would be the operational partner (our core competency). We started meeting investors (franchisees) but by Aug’10, the retail cycle took a dip and we barely made any profit in the next 2 months.

At that time, we decided to give this business some more incubation time before expansion. Our cash reserve was running very low, so we also decided to move out of the operations of Mr China, and to look for new businesses elsewhere. We got a highly seasoned hospitality industry veteran involved with us and I moved to the US in search of new opportunities. Yes, Mr China is alive..and is doing good now ๐Ÿ™‚

Groperty.com

Last month, I and Nimai started a new venture: Groperty.com (Group + Property). Yes, you guessed it right: It is the group buying of new apartments/flats in India (Once again..same logic…economy is growing…real estate is growing…yada yada yada).

Future prospects of Mr. China look good. We will open new outlets and most likely will move into the processed food business. But I am now fully into an investor role there. Groperty.com is still a baby…and we are trying to gauge the market demand for this kindof service in the country.

Will keep you posted with the latest. Ciao.