Nimish Sanghi, Founder & CEO, SOA IT Solutions | NASSCOM
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Nimish Sanghi, Founder & CEO, SOA IT Solutions

Nimish brings more than 22 years of experience to SOAIS. He started his career as an investment banker. Prior to SOAIS, Nimish served Fortune 50 companies like IBM, Oracle and PWC, leading PeopleSoft and JDEdwards practices. At IBM/PWC he focused on Business consulting for the APAC region. At SOAIS, Nimish is responsible for the organization's strategic direction and its future growth. With a passion for technology and innovation, Nimish is focused on transforming SOAIS into a trusted partner that drives continuous customer satisfaction and a trusted employer with a strong culture that evolves as the company grows. Nimish earned his MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical engineering from IIT-Kanpur.

Q: What are some of the key trends you are seeing in the enterprise solutions market? In what ways will they be game changers?

A: CIOs worth their salt are considering Cloud solutions, Mobile Enablement, Business Analytics and Social Media as the key areas for their next big investments. The enterprise needs and corresponding solutions are getting too complex for the IT departments of organizations to manage. They are feeling the pain of handling multiple applications and vendors, integrating and upgrading them, dealing with different technology stacks for each application, maintaining skilled technical manpower and keeping control of enterprise IT spends. Cloud solutions address many of these pain points. With a diverse workforce spread across the globe and smartphones/tablets becoming ubiquitous and powerful, extending enterprise systems beyond PCs is high on the agenda for many. Mobility platforms provide enterprise solutions to a workforce on the move.

Another trend is the growing focus on the customer. CIOs are working towards enhancing the experience of their clients. Business Analytics and Social Media are the prominent trends using which organizations are leveraging structured and unstructured information for decision making, creating brand recognition, understanding customer behaviour and acquiring new users. I believe these are the ways business teams are perceiving and experiencing enterprise applications. With Cloud or mobile solutions, people will always be using the latest version of applications on convenient devices from convenient locations. Data analysis, Business Intelligence and Social Media can help organizations increase revenues, gain feedback on their products and services and make meaningful business decisions. SOAIS, owing to its work with enterprise clients, has been exposed to these market trends and has been able to quickly adapt to the changing needs of customers.

Q: How has SOAIS evolved in terms of solutions and capabilities since its inception in 2006? What would you say have been your key milestones?

“ERP software packages are here to stay, particularly as the technologies underlying them are getting better and providing a richer end user experience”.

A:SOAIS has continually innovated in the enterprise marketplace with exciting new service offerings for customers. Being nimble, we have been able to quickly respond to evolving market needs and this has become our hallmark. SOAIS started out with a bang, servicing half a dozen marquee clients across the US and India. Our offerings ranged from Oracle PeopleSoft implementations, upgrades, production support and competency development to business advisory services. Within a short time and owing to its work with clients across industry verticals, SOAIS has been able to develop out-of-the-box niche solutions to plug the obvious gaps in enterprise packages. SOAIS incidentally, is a platinum partner of Oracle.

In 2008, the organization survived a full blown recession and weathered drastic cuts in the IT spends of several clients. As early as 2009, SOAIS offered Services-on-the-Cloud to its enterprise users. Four companies availed of this offering and the pay-for-use benefit of the Cloud. They were provided a bouquet of services at a single blended rate and enjoyed the advantages of the SLA-driven, incident-based Cloud services. In 2010, SOAIS partnered with Worksoft to foray the Test Automation space for SAP applications. 2011 saw the company launch the PeopleSoft ‘Upgrade Unlimited’ campaign, where it offered clients a commitment to retrofit and test an unlimited number of customizations and reports as part of the packaged software upgrade. From 2013 onwards, SOAIS began dabbling with mobile solutions for its enterprise clients. Since the ERPs of most customers do not have mobile capabilities, SOAIS has been building add-ons to extend these solutions.

Q: What does it take, especially for an Indian company, to succeed in the ERP space? How did SOAIS do it?

A: SOAIS has gained the respect of its customers quickly because of several factors. It has adopted a customer-centric approach, promoting a culture of change, innovation and sharing through its Centers of Excellence. We leverage our strategic and tactical strengths to help our customers achieve their desired business objectives. Most CIOs are tired of dealing with the bureaucratic hierarchy or sales executives of their vendors, who cannot demonstrate immediate business value. SOAIS however, offers them easy access to senior executives and members of its management team!

Customers also prefer a flexible operating model. Each project team and delivery process at SOAIS is tailored for the customer’s situation and the type of service that needs to be rendered. One size fits all is history. Our size and nimbleness have enabled us to provide exceptional service to customers by being responsive to their requirements. In our entire history of operations, no customer has stopped working with us owing to poor quality or our inability to meet documented or implied project goals.

Q: Why does ERP software continue to be important for companies today? Can SMEs benefit as much as large organizations?

A: ERP software will always be important as it is the backbone on which an entire organization operates. You take away the backbone and everything collapses. It’s the only way for an organization to use a single, integrated software platform to run its complete business operations—from human resources to finance to supply chain to CRM to BI. Irrespective of the industry vertical, companies need an ERP to efficiently run their business. ERP software packages are here to stay, particularly as the technologies underlying them are getting better and providing a richer end user experience. Until a few years ago, there were only large ERP players. Their software too made sense for large organizations who had deep pockets and could spend on software licenses, hardware and maintenance. Today, the large ERP vendors cannot ignore the potential of the SME segment and have started delivering SME specific packages. Technology advances with Cloud offerings and the evolution of the pay-per-use service delivery model have also pushed SMEs to take the ERP route.

Q: How is SOAIS helping customers in different verticals build differentiators? What is your value proposition?

A: Our HR and Finance IT solutions remain our core strength. Our value proposition lies in our ability to understand the HR and Finance functions of organizations and deliver comprehensive business and technology solutions to them. SOAIS has been associated with leading companies in the areas of IT Services, Manufacturing, BFSI, Real Estate Management and Media. The company has built deep HR and Finance domain expertise in the IT, Retail and BFSI verticals after working with several customers in these areas and building up and embracing best practices.

Q: Would you say the Indian market has lagged behind the global market in terms of ERP deployment? What are the reasons for this and is SOAIS addressing companies in India?

A: Yes, the SME segment and Indian mid-sized organizations have lagged behind in terms of ERP deployments. The value provided by an ERP has been too compelling for large enterprises to ignore. Several MNCs in India are implementing ERP solutions as part of the rollouts by their parent organizations. The Indian economy opened up to the rest of the world only around 20 years ago, which has meant that ERP software also arrived here very late. Furthermore, it has taken time for ERP vendors to roll out India-specific features in their products. The last 10 years however, have seen a significant jump in new ERP implementations throughout India. Since its inception, SOAIS has been engaged with several clients across the country, including two 35,000+ employee organizations in IT services, a large retail chain, one of the largest media houses and an educational institution among others. SOAIS is deriving a significant chunk of its revenues from India, where its offshore delivery centers are located.

Q: What is SOAIS’ future roadmap? Where do you see the next wave of opportunity?

A: In the next 3-5 years, SOAIS will focus on diversifying its portfolio of services and strengthen its ERP product to cover the areas that are in demand today. Our current footprint of services is significantly focused around Oracle’s PeopleSoft suite of products and SAP test automation using Worksoft software. Both these services lines (ERP and Test Automation) will see cross selling opportunities in our customer base, where we are already considered a trusted partner. SOAIS is additionally capitalizing on the new opportunity wave in mobile enablement and Business Intelligence and Analytics. The Mobile and Analytics COEs at SOAIS are in advanced stages of rolling out exciting new options for our ERP customers which we expect to beta test at their sites in the next six months. SOAIS’ Cloud Services team is crafting new service offerings to complement Oracle’s Cloud strategy. The broad vision is to enable existing customers to completely transform the manner in which they are running and maintaining their ERP installations by using Cloud technology options.