Kiron Kasbekar is Chairman and Managing Director of The Information Company, which offers editorial, design and software services to some of the biggest business groups in India, including Tata, Aditya Birla, and Essar. The Information Company has introduced a breakthrough software product, Organyze, a desktop-based software that enhances the power of Windows, and makes finding files very, very easy. Organyze has recently received a patent from the US Patents & Trademarks Office. Besides using Organyze to manage your files, folders and emails in your machine, you can use it to attach bookmarks, multiple labels and comments to web pages in Internet Explorer while you are saving them in full or in (selected) part. Organyze includes a quick search and more advanced and nuanced ways of searching, all very easy to use. It also allows automatic backup on-site and off-site, synchronization, and a messaging facility that allows you to attach files to your 'sticky' messages. We have now launched an online version of Organyze for enterprises, which works both online and offline, and includes automatic synchronization. Kiron has been Editor of The Economic Times, India's biggest business daily, Business Editor of The Times of India, the country's biggest English daily, and Managing Editor of Business India, when it was the biggest business magazine in India. Kiron is also an artist (oil and canvas, mainly, and pencil and paper sketches, and some clay sculpture).
Q: Why did the Information Company decide to enter the information management software space? How large, in your view, is the opportunity?
A: We are focused on the information management segment of the software market for several reasons. First, this is a very large segment of the software industry and secondly, we have extensive experience in this area through the previous work done by our founder and others in the company.
Consider the background against which we are working today. Serious concerns have been expressed about the massive proliferation of information both inside and outside enterprises. Studies show that people in companies, especially those whose work is knowledge-intensive, waste a substantial amount of time looking for information, managing it, and re-creating it because they cannot find previously acquired (or created) and saved content.
The inability to manage information well results in three kinds of pain:
- A huge waste of time (or lost productivity)
- The resultant wastage of money
- Sub-optimal decisions and information outputs when people do not use information that has been accessed/created and saved earlier but cannot be retrieved because the current user does not know about it or has forgotten about it
A part of the information is generated by the enterprise in the form of data about its business processes and procedures. Such ‘systems’ data is usually captured or even generated by databases and is ‘structured’ and therefore more amenable to management.
The remaining part of the information in the enterprise is ‘unstructured’ –stuff like correspondence, presentations, reports, content downloaded from the Web. Unlike structured information, which resides in databases, the unstructured information is usually stored in folders (or directories), as in Windows Explorer.
“While we have created a set of powerful products, we now need to expand our software, marketing and sales teams to upgrade them and market them in India and overseas”
In recent years, unstructured content has been growing very rapidly and that is what has exacerbated ‘information overload’. We believe managing this growing content is the core to the success of the enterprise content management market.
Estimates of the size of this market vary widely, depending on how narrowly or broadly one defines the business. Frost and Sullivan has pegged the enterprise content management market worldwide at 2012 at USD 2.9 billion. Gartner, on the other hand, estimates that in 2012, ECM software licenses and maintenance revenue was around USD 4.7 billion.
Frost & Sullivan and TechNavio, another market intelligence firm, have projected that the global ECM market will reach USD 8 billion between 2017 and 2019.
We do not aim to immediately cross swords with the big players. What we will do is address the needs of small and medium enterprises, which are less complex and which call for lower costs and faster rollouts.
We aim to get to between three and five percent of half of the market not dominated by the big players. That should, according to our estimate take us to an annual revenue level of USD125-200 million in the next three to five years. We believe there is potential for us to reach even higher annual revenue levels in due course.
Q: What growing need does your software Organyze address and what are its USPs?
A:Organyze is a breakthrough desktop-based software product that enhances the power of Windows and helps enterprises improve their efficiencies, thus offering the potential to increase profits.
It offers the following advantages:
- An enterprise has the choice of maintaining confidential documents offline in the same tagging and sharing system that works on the online platform.
- Files can be synced from offline to online and back without loss of tags and sharing arrangements.
- Enterprises gain greater control over their content than in a purely Cloud-based system.
- Enterprises have the option of using their local networks for our offline system and using their own private Clouds for our online system.
- Organyze can be integrated with SharePoint
You can see the flexibility available in the Organyze system compared with the rigidity of the pure desktop plays or pure Cloud-based solutions. With Organyze, you can have various levels of your content on the Cloud, but still have it compatible with your offline system.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced when you entered this space? How did you overcome them?
A:Our biggest challenge has been getting software resources. Also, the professionals we did get had to be deployed in our software services business, because that was where our income was coming from. What we lacked in numbers, however, we have made up through quality and innovation. That is how we managed to get a US patent for our software, and also have another patent pending.
We believe our products are easy to use. They also move seamlessly from individual users to enterprise environments. In fact, by combining content management with Web content tracking, downloading, managing, searching, and communication tools, and enabling portability between individual and enterprise editions, and between desktop and online editions, we are already offering a different, broader system that few others can match. The products will also soon be available for tablets and smart phones.
We will offer a mix of online marketing and sales for the individual editions of our software products and offline selling for the enterprise editions. We plan to expand our sales through a network of VARs and other channel partners. This will be especially important for us in the global markets, including North America, where we intend to focus initially.
Q:As a company with over 15 years of experience in the market, what have been the key milestones in your journey?
A: On the enterprise products front, we have been able to successfully sell to key corporate customers to establish the proof of concept and viability of our products. We have sold the enterprise edition of our Organyze product to divisions of The Tata and the Aditya Birla groups. Sales of this nature are helping us to quickly build our credentials in the information management software market.
Q: What is the road ahead for you? What will be the next steps?
A: While we have created a set of powerful products and begun selling them, we will now need to expand our software, marketing and sales teams to upgrade our products quickly and market and sell them products in India and abroad, especially the US market. Clearly, to be able to do this and achieve our targets, we need substantial funds. We will need venture capital to expand our employee numbers and for marketing and selling. We will also expand our reach by building alliances and OEM relationships with equipment makers.
Our ability to achieve high sales levels will depend on how well we can build the brand and create a pull for our products. We will need to draw customers as well as support channel partners. Going forward we will work to persuade OEMs to bundle Organyze with their products. We will have to advertise through various media, raise awareness through direct mailers, ‘road shows’, and by participating in trade shows and conferences. The initial focus of our promotional efforts will be the North American and Indian markets. Next, we will move to the UK and Australia. We will look at other markets, including continental Europe, in the phase following that. We will need to build a basic marketing organization that will cover these regions as well as India, and a network of VARs to expand our reach. Simultaneously we will have to deploy resources to build a presence in social media and blogs.
Q: What would you like to advise software product start-ups in India? What does it take to build a brand within this arena?
A: We would say identify your niche for your product sector and focus on building a trusted brand. Remember, you need to invest time, money and effort into something that lasts, so don’t look for quick fixes. You may be lucky and strike gold early but be prepared to stay for the long haul.