By guest author Tony Scott
Deep Customer Relationships
Tony: Do you typically have ongoing relationships with your customers? For example, do they tell you: “We are going be building this product, and these are the overall definitions wand features we would offer if we could, and we’d like to work with you on this over the life of the product?”
Anand: Yes. They don’t tell you all that up front, but once you know the product you are now an insider, and you know enough from them [so that they’ll] continue working with you for efficiency and effectiveness.
Tony: What do you think is driving large companies to give you projects?
Anand: I will explain that to you, but you need to know a couple of things I will share with you. Just to give you a little bit of the size context, we now have about 4,500 employees.
Tony: All in India?
Anand: Most of them are in India. We have about 200 in the United States.
Tony: And of those 200 . . .
Anand: Fifty of them are on the sales side, and the rest of them are on the engineering side. Our customers include some very large companies. We have 30-billion-dollar companies as our customers and also a large number of startups. Currently, we have about 175 customers for whom we have activities going on.
Tony: In terms of the percentage between more established companies versus startups, how does that look?
Anand: Startups contribute about 30% of our business.
Tony: So large product companies are the bulk of your clients?
Anand: That’s correct. And we’ve found that “line of business” leaders in large enterprises understand this model. The problem is, this particular model of how to build products that I shared with you today is something that IT typically does not like to follow. They like to have more well-defined requirements, and they want to work on bigger projects with bigger budgets. They cannot easily put together a small six- to eight-person team and let it run for six weeks and see where it goes. The people who are running a business often have smaller projects that they have in their minds which they find they cannot articulate well enough to make them big IT projects. And therefore IT does not give attention to these projects, because they say, “Oh, this is another wild idea, and I just don’t have the time to deal with these things.”
Tony: So can you deal directly with the line of business leaders and avoid the corporate IT groups?