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Best and the Rest Issue

November, 11 21

Exploring the world of innovation and change

Click to Conquer Social communication in the electronic age

Marketing Buzz Examine what’s ‘in’ with the marketing folks

Prayag Take Rolling up our sleeves and getting down to business

Focal Point Talk directly to the best

Prayag Report Report, revise and retain!


Volume 21, NOVEMBER 2011

Message from CEO


message from ceo

G

reetings from Prayag. Confluence is back with some interesting and topical features! This time around, we interview Suresh Sambandam, CEO, Orangescape in Focal Point. Orangescape is on one of the front runners in the exciting Platform of a Service space. Do Check out the interview with Suresh where he talks about how he saw the opportunity early. Social media led marketing has become integral to branding initiatives in companies. It is only appropriate that we focus on Social Media Optimization or SMO in this edition’s Click to Conquer. While on the topic of social media and marketing, I must mention the Best and the Rest section. This time, we cover the very interesting online campaign carried out by KPIT Cummins to market their path breaking product Revolo. Confluence spoke to Pushpahas Joshi, H- Marketing and Business Development to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. We can’t seem to have enough of social media this time. If you still are contemplating if twitter and facebook is relevant for your company, then Marketing Buzz is just what for you. We put down six reasons for you to consider adopting social media in your marketing mix. In Prayag take we present excerpts of our Marketing Practices Study - the sixth report in as many years on what are the marketing priorities of IT companies with an offshore model. We also have a special section this time – Prayag Report features excerpts of a very interesting study we carried out sometime ago on non linear initiatives in the IT industry. Also check out our just launched portal http://blogs.prayag.com/NLM/ on this topic. Do let us know your feedback on this issue. We do hope you find value in the way we have synthesized this issue for you. Happy Reading ! Sudha Kumar CEO, Prayag Consulting

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Volume 21, NOVEMBER 2011

Table of Contents 6

Focal Point

10

Best and the Rest

12

Click to Conquer

In conversation with Suresh In conversation Sambandam,with Founder Suresh andSambandam, CEO, Founder and CEO, OrangeScape, on his company, OrangeScape, their platform on hisand company, more. their platform and more.

So you have an exciting new So you product havethat an exciting you are new keenproduct to market that you are keen to market perfectly. How do you start? perfectly. Read about How do KPIT youCummins’ start? Read marketing about KPIT Cummins’ marketing campaign experience withcampaign REVOLO.experience with REVOLO.

To keep up with myriad new To online keep up applications, with myriadusers new online need toapplications, make users need to make an effort and invest time. All anthe effort information and investis time. accessible All theto information everyone, is accessible to everyone, provided they look carefully. provided they look carefully.


Prayag Take

14

Marketing Buzz

16

Prayag Report

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Check out what Prayag has been up to and read our latest industry The rising popularity of social media ha reports. This time we share a synopsis of our annual marketing practices study.

The rising popularity of social media have allowed companies to reach and talk directly to today’s tech-savvy customers. However, B2B companies usually simply don’t see the value of social media. We examine why this assumption is incorrect.

Prayag has recently completed a study on non-linear models prevalent in the IT services industry. Read on to discover who is doing what, and whether you can replicate some ideas.

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Volume 21, NOVEMBER 2011

OrangeScape Simplifying Business Application Development What do you think sets OrangeScape apart?

P Suresh Sambandam Founder and CEO OrangeScape talks about APaaS, the benefits of cloud and marketing strategies.

latform as a Service (PaaS) has two distinct layers. One is as a general purpose programming platform, such as Azure and Google App Engine, using which you could build a wide range of applications – from games to business apps like order processing system. OrangeScape’s platform, on the other hand, is specialized. You could refer to it as an Application Platform as a Service (APaaS) tailored for building business applications. Our platform provides powerful abstractions and simplifications to develop business applications in a highly efficient manner. On another dimension, let us examine High Control versus High Productivity Platforms. OrangeScape is a High Productivity platform. The analogy is Visual C++ versus Visual Basic. Developers know VC++ is powerful and a lot more flexible when compared to Visual Basic, but there are a million developers who love Visual Basic for a simple reason – high productivity. Fast forward to the cloud era – that is OrangeScape for you! A developer would have less control when he or she works with OrangeScape but would benefit from far higher productivity owing to the high level of abstractions. So that’s roughly how OrangeScape has created its own niche in the PaaS landscape. Why did you decide to focus on business apps? Was this because of your reading of the market or was this based on the kind of customers you had garnered up to that point? Our mission and purpose since inception has been to simplify business application development. Platform as a Service is essentially a cloud variant of what we had been doing all along. Building business applications has always involved three pieces - a software platform, an infrastructure platform on top of which the software runs and the domain expertise. These are like three legs of a stool. When we started out, we created the software platform to simplify business application development. And then we realized that this was not sufficient. It is also very important to enable the infrastructure for the software platform to run. That is where the cloud came in and solved the infrastructure problem. So we put the software that we had on top of vcloud infrastructure which then led to the Application Platform as a Service offering from OrangeScape.


Focal point

Domain Expertise

orm Platf ware Hard

Softw are P latfo rm

Business Applications

When you took your offering to the cloud, there must have been challenges? Actually, luckily, there were not too many. In our case, the cloud was a boon rather than a bane. Prior to the advent of the cloud, the enterprise market for application development had settled around either a .Net or a Java programming environment. It was difficult to unsettle or create a disruption. Luckily the cloud came in and disrupted the market. The cloud suddenly made choices like Java or .Net irrelevant. And people are now open and willing to consider new options in a disruptive environment created by cloud phenomena. So, the cloud actually helped OrangeScape. You have some really impressive customers – Unilever, Citibank, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sterlite–could you describe how you got them on board? The fundamental value proposition that OrangeScape offers is high productivity application development. In addition, there is an option to pick a suitable deployment environment- a private cloud/on premise or a public cloud. So that makes OrangeScape very compelling for partners and customers. A few customers like Sterlite run on Google App Engine public cloud, others like Unilever and Pfizer run on their own virtualized environment on a private cloud.

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What role has marketing played in this success? Until a year ago, we did not do aggressive marketing. In the last one year however, we have stepped up our efforts and done a number of things–public relations, analyst relations, partnership announcements, sponsoring and participating in events such as Cloud Camp, Developer Camps, Facebook garage and Tedx Chennai and iCMG Architecture summit in Bangalore etc. All of these have helped the branding and market reach for OrangeScape.

“We needed to balance acquisition and operating costs and extract complete value for money. Using IBMs solution, we can now run critical business applications without reliability and performance issues generally faced by traditional storage systems. The news storage architecture not only reduces the effort required to complete complicated design tasks but also decrease the time necessary to provision storage for various applications with no administrative overheads.”

It will be interesting to hear what you did before that – what you did to gain recognition for your offering when you were still an emerging company. What did you do that got you into the radar of the big names? We did some prudent brand-building. Our product was acknowledged by NASSCOM as one of the top market facing IT innovations for two consecutive years – 2006 and 2007. The next year we made it as one of NASSCOM’s top three emerging product companies. I lead the marketing effort in a sense and network a lot, both real-world and online. My LinkedIn connections, for example, are over 3,000. All this helped us secure our first set of customers. In the early days, a company may not have big money to invest in marketing. So, it is better to get the first set of customers through networking, references and business connects and once those validations have been achieved, then you have to scale marketing efforts. Was competition a challenge - in the beginning at least? When the market is exploding, there is so much more market share to garner. For the next three to four years, there is going to be enough market for OrangeScape, for a LongJump or a Force.com.Only after two to three years from now will the market witness heavy competition and consolidation. Right now, it is a sort of a green field. Being the first company to be part of the 1M/1M – Persistent Systems initiative, can you throw some light on what this spells for OrangeScape and what you are expecting from it? Sramana Mitra is helping OrangeScape to set up partnerships, especially go-to-market partnerships in the US. This will help us to take our product to large enterprises – Global 2000 companies - in the North American market – without having to invest heavily on feet-onstreet sales. This is a win-win partnership because we are looking at an average deal size of a couple of million dollars, with an equal revenue attribution for OrangeScape and Persistent Systems. We are looking at significant business in the next two to three years’ time frame.


Focal point

What other plans do you havefor the next two to three years? When compared to a product, platforms inherently have multiple use cases – otherwise it is not a platform. This is a boom and a bane. So, we are going after few use cases that have large potential.One of the use cases we have picked for OrangeScape is the longtail application platform for enterprises. That is what Persistent is trying to take to market for us. The second big use case that we have identified is to address the SMBIT services companies. We are positioning OrangeScape Studio as a tool for them to build applications faster, cheaper, better – to operate in the cloud model rather than in the traditional, highly competitive IT services delivery model. What advice do you have for growing companies? First, do a lot of networking. Second, never forget that entrepreneurs by definition are salespeople. Just because you are from a technical background, it does not mean you can’t sell. In the early stages, the founders have to go to the market and sell. You can’t sit in the office, hire a sales guy and expect him to sell your product. If you are not willing to sell, I don’t think you should even start a company. Talking to customers is very important and will help obtain firsthand feedback.

“In the early stages, the founders have to go to the market and sell. You can’t sit in the office, hire a sales guy and expect him to sell your product. If you are not willing to sell, I don’t think you should even start a company.”

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Volume 21, NOVEMBER 2011

Green Revolution KPIT Cummins Infosystems Limited is introducing REVOLO, an intelligent plug-in hybrid solution for automobiles. This exciting new auto-innovation is for car owners who are interested in maximizing fuel efficiency and reducing their travelling costs

So you have an exciting new product that you are keen to market perfectly. How do you start? Read about KPIT Cummins’ marketing campaign experience with REVOLO – a hybrid plug-in parallel solution for automobiles. Pushpahas Joshi, Head of Marketing and Business Development, KPIT Cummins, shares more insights into the marketing campaign.

REVOLO has so far won five awards for being a radical innovation, including NASSCOM’s Promising Innovation of the Year Award 2011 and the award in the category of Sustainability Innovation - Implemented Solution award at the Knowledge@Wharton Innovation tournament in April 2011. This success has been aided by a well-planned marketing strategy put in place by KPIT Cummins. By May 2010, KPIT Cummins was ready with the technology and product concept. They started the branding exercise by first deciding on the name. “We talked to car drivers and owners, for whom the product was meant. We also had long sessions with the leadership team and people who were working on the technology,” said Pushpahas Joshi, Head – Marketing & Business Development, KPIT Cummins. He adds “The word REVOLO has come out of the word ‘revolution’, revolutionary fuel efficiency, price points and reduction in emissions.” Once the name ‘REVOLO’ was finalized, the public relations campaign began with a high profile launch in June 2010. KPIT Cummins invited Vilasrao Deshmukh, the then minister for heavy industries, as the chief guest at the event in New Delhi in June 2010, along with noted environmentalist and Nobel laureate Dr. R K Pachauri and well-known researcher Dr. R A Mashelkar. “The key message we wanted to convey was that this was a revolutionary technology. An indigenous technology created on the frugal engineering paradigm, that tries to to enhance the efficiency of the engine itself, which is radical.” REVOLO’s price points are unmatched. Whereas currently available hybrid vehicle options cost about USD 20,000, REVOLO has an extremely attractive price point of around USD 3,000. It is also a parallel hybrid – meaning, if the battery is fully discharged, the car will operate as a conventional fuel vehicle. This solution can convert a conventional fuel vehicle into a fuel-efficient hybrid in less than six hours. The PR campaign in New Delhi focused on highlighting these differentiators to the press in India (English and vernacular), US and China. The event was attended by over 75 people including media persons and leaders from the Indian industry. The PR campaign led to over 25 stories across leading publications in India, US and China.


BEST AND THE REST

With the launch out of the way, the focus was on sustaining interest in the product until the commercial launch, planned for the next year. Over the next few months, influencer forums – industry and green groups- to showcase the product were identified. Presentations were made to the members of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and the International Centre for Automotive Technology (iCAT). “In addition to this in October 2010 at the 2010 SAE Convergence conference, the largest automotive electronics conference in the world, at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, we presented the concept of REVOLO to the entire automotive community through displays at our booth. In January 2011 at the Symposium on International Automotive Technology (SIAT), for the first time we made the demo cars available for people to drive and experience. In line with the SIAT event’s theme of ‘sustainability a creative challenge’, we partnered with the organizers by arranging REVOLO fitted vehicles for ferrying people during the symposium,” said Joshi. To keep up the buzz, the marketing campaign was extended to the social media space. “We decided on a multi-pronged approach that included a microsite, Facebook presence and targeting influential bloggers,” said Joshi. The company’s active Facebook page has garnered over 1,500 fans and has been a great tool for the company as it enables it to stay in touch with prospective customers. “We engage people through content that includes product updates, photos and exciting green facts about REVOLO,” said Joshi. “We also have contests to keep the interest alive.” KPIT Cummins also reached out to analysts. Strategy Analytics – a market and research consulting firm and a key influencer with global reach–created a blog post following a briefing. The blog generated huge interest and very soon reached the spot of being the blog post with highest number of visitors globally. Word spread virally and there has been a lot of debate in the blogosphere about REVOLO. The company rounded off its campaign by also educating its own employees. Open house sessions and demonstrations were organized with the aim of emphasizing the innovative research and development that led to REVOLO. “Through the annual technology event TecXpedition that is organized by and for the employees, we provided a platform for every employee to explore REVOLO, thereby instilling the ‘I can innovate’ feeling among the employees,” said Joshi. In addition to this the company also added an element of REVOLO to its continuing academia connect work in order to promote innovation and radical thinking among the new generation. Poster campaigns and contests were conducted and select students and high performers were invited to the campus to know more about the technology. Talking about the outcome of the extensive marketing campaign, Joshi said: “A lot of discussion has happened on car blogs. Publications have written about REVOLO. New contacts have been built.” “Through our campaign quite a bit of awareness has been created.”

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Volume 21, NOVEMBER 2011

Social Media Optimization (SMO) For a while now companies have been devoting a significant amount of time and effort to raising a site’s performance by practicing SEO. The value of SEO has been touted considerably and though it is important, the popularity and growing importance of social media networks have made Social Media Optimization or SMO ubiquitous today. The concept of SMO is simple. With the increasing usage of social media sites, search engines aren’t the only channels that drive big traffic. It involves optimizing a site so that it is easier to be linked to, highly visible in social media searches on custom search engines (ex, Technorati) and frequently referred to in posts, blogs and videos. Social media includes websites that help build a community or network such as Facebook, Twtter, Digg etc. Blog posts and blog search engines also fit the bill. SMO is all about making your content easier to spread and find online. There are a few simple steps to begin the SMO strategy for your website. The first and most obvious is that the content in the site should be linkable. This means that unlike most websites that remain static and simply represent a company, adding blogs, whitepapers or thought papers to your site make it easier to reach social media searches. In addition, make tagging or bookmarking easier by adding quick buttons, tagging individual pages not just the home page and suggesting notes for a link.


Click to Conquer

Inbound links are clear signs of a website’s success and paramount to rise in search results. To encourage more links, reward existing inbound links by listing them on your site. Another method to gain visibility is to spread your content around. Portable, interesting content can be submitted to relevant sites that will ultimately drive links back to your site. Encourage mashups or collaborate with content. Youtube does this very well by providing code that can be embedded elsewhere. Syndicating content through RSS feeds can drive traffic and gain your site visibility. To enable greater SMO is remembering that unlike SEO where the goal is clearly defined as making the site easier to find on search engines, SMO leverages the new medium so the goals and techniques are still evolving.

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Volume 21, NOVEMBER 2011

Prayag’s Annual Marketing Practices Study 2010 is here! It is that time of the year when we roll up our sleeves, conduct surveys, interviews, research and delve into the marketing practices that have been followed by the industry in the past year. We have very recently launched our VI Annual Marketing Practices Study 2010.

Prayag is conducting its VI Annual Marketing Practices Study 2010 requiring a look back at the results of last year’s study. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to participate in the survey.

And, I think this is the best time to look back at the results of last year’s study. When we analysed the marketing departments of many organizations last year, we found: ■■ While Customer acquisition is a priority, there is an evident shift towards a more holistic marketing portfolio. ■■ Online marketing continues to be a hot area, and social media is featuring prominently in plans. ■■ Lack of well-defined metrics to measure continues to plagues marketing organizations.

Prayag Take The objective of the VI Annual Marketing Practices study is to understand the current marketing trends in the IT industry, with emphasis on marketing priorities, plans, department dynamics and the impact of various marketing practices on business. Through the study, we aim to determine the role of the marketing function across various organizations in the industry. While the intent is to have a broader portfolio of marketing initiatives, market conditions are compelling companies to emphasize on customer acquisition activities. Larger and mid-size companies have taken tangible efforts towards adopting a holistic approach.


Prayag take

Prayag announces the results of its VI Annual Marketing Practices Study 2010. Prayag’s VI Annual Marketing Practices Study conducted for the year 2010 includes responses from over 55 technology companies with a presence in India. The kind of companies who participated includes IT services, Products, BPO, KPOs, Engineering Services, and Online Businesses. The study as always tried to understand the marketing priorities, organization of the marketing function and its role and finally aimed to garner best practices in marketing from respondent companies. ■■ Companies are gradually expanding their portfolio of marketing activities and consciously adding more strategic components. ■■ However, market conditions are making companies to focus predominantly on customer acquisition or anything that has a direct bearing on the customer. ■■ Marketing spends are comparable with global practices at 2% - 5% of revenues. ■■ Marketers’ role in determining market pulse is getting acknowledged.

■■ Inadequate budgets as well as lack of metrics are the top two challenges faced by the marketing function. Having analyzed trends over the last six years, Prayag’s take is as follows ■■ Definite shift towards adopting a more holistic approach. ■■ While customer acquisition activities continue to consume maximum bandwidth, other priorities such as customer retention, market awareness and brand building are slowly gaining more attention especially among mid-size companies. ■■ Social media marketing is here to stay although companies are at the starting stage only. ■■ Measurement of marketing activities still continues to be underdeveloped.

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Volume 21, NOVEMBER 2011

Six reasons why B2B companies must embrace social media If you are a B2B company, here are six reasons why you should exploit social media:

1. Brand Management

With the soaring popularity of Facebook, Twitter and other social media, many Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies have been quick to spot the business value of engaging social media. B2C firms – those that sell products and services directly to the end consumer – receive prompt feedback and can more effectively promote their brand to today’s tech-savvy customers.

Social media tools can make your brand sparkle. If you release a new product, influencers can tell you how much they like your product or suggest changes. If you are on Facebook, you could build a discussion on the topic. You can update large numbers of followers on Twitter. Tap into discussions and comments for invaluable feedback. By responding positively to the feedback from your influencers, you build trust and earn their support. Your brand gains recognition.

2. Corporate decision-makers are actively using social media The person who makes the decision of buying from you is very likely to have read consumer reviews or comments on various social media sites. According to a 2009 report The Rise of the Digital C-Suite: How Executives Locate and Filter Business Information, from Forbes, 56% of executives under 40 who responded said they read or generate microfeeds daily (32%) or several times a week (24%). Drawing from this, he or she is also likely to have read your interaction with the customer on the same site. The decision-maker reads blogs and sees videos. If you want to engage this person, it is necessary to incorporate social media in your public relations arsenal.

3. Build networks Your presence on social media sites can help you build a community of like-minded people and businesses. The informal tone of many social media outlets can make it easier to reach out and network. On resources like LinkedIn, you could come across new businesses to build relationships with.


Marketing buzz

4. Cost-effective way to reach a large audience Social media can be a cost-effective method to augment your PR strategy. Yes, you will invest people, time and effort to maintain your social media profiles, but it can be a cheaper option compared to print advertisements, brochures and pamphlets. And since you are on the internet, your audience is global.

5. Thought leadership Social media platforms are ideal for you to position yourself as a thought leader. You can be a leader in the field by making white papers, presentations and other reports available on social media. You will likely gain recognition for your solid knowledge of the industry landscape and the requirements of your customers. Blogs are a great way to showcase thought leadership. Your blogs could repurpose content from white papers and/or express your company’s point of view on leading trends regularly.

6. Competitive advantage Many B2Bs have not yet taken advantage of social media platforms. You could gain a valuable competitive advantage and market share by using these tools by being the first among your peer group.

On the other hand, Business-to-Business (B2B) companies have not jumped on the social media bandwagon in a similar fashion. With transactions occurring only between businesses, some B2B companies simply don’t see the value of social media.

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Volume 21, NOVEMBER 2011

Prayag Report: Non linear initiatives At Prayag, we had recently completed a study on non-linear models prevalent in the IT services industry. Non-linear models are those that include any form of revenue contribution that is not directly linked to headcount. Typically, among the Indian IT services players, revenue growth implied proportional headcount growth as well. This is not a sustainable model for various reasons – talent shortage, attrition, training costs, and so on. As a result, companies need to explore nonlinear strategies where revenue growth is not directly proportional to headcount growth. For our study, we spoke to several senior industry experts including those in charge of non-linear initiatives, delivery, sales, marketing, industry analysts, equity analysts and other experts. The insights we derived from our research and interviews helped us arrive at the big picture. Overall, our findings showed that all leading offshore players are looking at non-linear initiatives in a similar way – delivery initiatives and outcome based models. Here again, more progress has been made on the delivery initiatives front in the form of solution accelerators, platforms and shared services. However, we need to be cognizant of the fact that these non-linear initiatives form at the most 10% of overall revenues and more work needs to be done for it to scale and address some of the serious challenges . For now, our assessment is that non-linear initiatives need another five years or so to scale and contribute meaningfully, provided customers cooperate and companies continue to view it as an important part of their strategy. With the tepid Q2 results announced by the large offshore players, it appears that will necessarily have to focus – anyway, at Prayag we will continue to monitor this important trend and keep you posted.


Prayag report

Here are some of the key findings of our study: ■■ Pressure on margins, desire to increase revenue without increasing workforce and increasing adoption of the cloud are the prime drivers for non-linear growth models, rather than customer intent. ■■ Tier 1 companies are marketing the win-win nature of these models through white papers and independently written case studies to customers. ■■ IBM has the most solid story in implementation among both Indian and international companies. ■■ The non-linear growth model is important in driving growth for the future and is a management priority across companies, but the intent is still only percolating to the next levels.

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Prayag  

Greetings from Prayag. Confluence is back with some interesting and topical features!

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