Stories of small business owners who are paying for software in India

I used to come across a lot of people in India saying SME’s adopting software will always be DIM (Do-it-for-me) but then I thought hard about existing software users in India. Why would they use software day-in & day-out when they are not tech-savvy.

That itch got me to work with my friend Tejaswi Raghurama to dig into stories of small business owners who are paying for software in India and are using it themselves.

Some of their stories are truly inspirational and shed light on how you, the average Indian, who runs a business (and I am one of the tribe, too!) must go ahead and take the plunge to try a software for yourself. You will be surprised at how little help you’ll need from others.

Software for India Part 1 from ProductNation on Vimeo.

Let me explain what I mean with an example. I am a non-tech guy (I can’t code!) in a technology company. Whenever I wanted to run experiments on our website, I was heavily dependent on these 2 people (Kailash Shivku ) and I was sick of it! So, one fine day, I mustered up courage to try “Visual Website Optimizer ” to do some A/B testing. After spending the whole day interacting with their support team via email, I successfully pulled off a split testing on the website.

Till then, I felt like an over dependent bugger who couldn’t do anything to save his own life. There was a smile on my face walking home that evening. I felt free, I felt liberated and I today, a lot of technology & software drives my thinking and working style.

If I, a business owner who doesn’t have any knowledge of technology, am able to use it effectively to make independent business decisions, I have no doubt that every single business owner can. Make technology your best friend. It makes you independent, saves you time and helps you stay smart.

And guess what – team members, and employees should not be threatened by adoption of new technology – listen to what some of these folks had to say about using software to get work done everyday.

Share these stories with your friends and colleagues and get them to try a new software today, they won’t repent it, we promise!

Software for India Part 2 from ProductNation on Vimeo.

*A special thanks to Tejaswi for making the video, and @Practo @Nowfloats who’s teams helped us talk to their customers.

Product RoundTable Bangalore @ Vizury Office

We had some very good hosts @ Vizury office and also joined by their product folks Shiju and Subra for the Product Round table that was organized last Friday. The other awesome people who were part of the event were Siddharth Ramesh (Exotel), Jose (Weavedin), Vinay Simha (Dfy Graviti), Sridhar (ex-Inmobi), Avinash Raghava (Product Nation), Nari Kannan (The man with experience of over 7 startups and currently working on a project for Barack Obama), Anjali (Capillary), Chandra (i7networks), Santosh Panda (Explara), Venkatesh (Insieve), Pandith (Impelsys).

The discussions revolved around 3 things in Product:
1. How to track growth & health of a product or Product Metrics
2. Product v/s Sales (When to listen to customer and sales person and building the feature)
3. Product Marketing

and 2 small sessions of Santosh explaining his re-branding story from Ayojak to Explara and Venkatesh about how they balance in a unique way not building before selling and working on product demo’s without having to build the features.

Sridhar led the moderation of the session and showed his secret sauce of a graph designed for Product decisions:

The graph helps Product folks take decisions based on a problem, and how ideally first level and second level product problems when probed can be solved by Education & Processes. This sort of product thinking gives more bandwidth to technology & product managers to focus on building the tech as well, apart from features as a solution to everything. It helps keep your product from being stretched into a services play.

Nari Kannan & Sridhar again spoke about how the health of a product and its metrics can be linked to the business metrics by the GEM (Growth, Engagement, Monetization) theory.

A lot of discussions around how sales folks like to ask fore more features, and how to decide what to build and what not to, but the graph helped a lot.

A snippet on the learning from Santosh’s Ayojak to Explara journey was that he communicated the brand change much in advance internally and decided to leave aside feature requests etc. and kept focussed on the UI/UX and internal communication of the change. It helped everyone realize that multiple massive changes should not be attempted together.

Venkatesh also spoke about how they develop new feature requests in a staging environment, and release it just for the customer in a prototype without pushing the code into the product, and ask him/her if they will pay for this and is this what they want. It is an interesting way to get a yes from the customer before getting your tech team working on something which might or might not sell.

All in all, everyone had some great learning’s, a few beers and cookies along with chai and coffee thanks to the Vizury team, and we hope to get some more Product Roundtable’s running consistently and involving more of the product companies to have cross learning’s via sharing best practices.

SaaS #MadeinIndia Products – Social Media

As Batman (or a CEO, Founder, Partner) would want somethings to be done, or not done, and especially with a plethora of multiple social media channels to be on, a marketing guy, or a social media girl, or anyone handling social media for a company will always have a tough time.

So, then what is the solution? Well, a lot of smart made in India products have come out solving this same problem for a bunch of businesses. To manage all their social media accounts in 1 place, be it Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc.

So we created a list again of SaaS products made from India, specifically focussing on solving this problem around Social Media, this list is not exhaustive, and we hope to get a lot of feedback on more companies and products from you, so please drop in a comment or email us and we will add those companies as well.

Some of them are (in alphabetical order):

1. Crowdnub – Build and launch your rich custom-like Social app in minutes. Re-purpose, re-use, the smarter social app platform.

2. Beevolve – All in one Social Media Monitoring and Measurement Software

3. EaseSocial – EaseSocial automates all your social media campaigns. It allows you to view all the online conversations about your brand and products in real time.

4. Grabinbox – Manage multiple social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

5. Konnect Social – Monitor & analyze all brand conversations from one simple tool.

6. Mangoapps – MangoApps uniquely combines Enterprise Social Networking, Team Collaboration tools and Intranet pages into one breakthrough product.

7. Markitty – making online marketing on social media easy.

8. MuHive – Customer Engagement on Steroids

9. SaltSocial – Social Media Monitoring and Engagement Dashboard for agencies and organizations.

10. Simplify360 – World’s first 360′ Social Media Marketing Suite

11. SocialAppsHQ – Social media monitoring, actionable analytics, engagement tools, viral apps and so much more in one easy-to-use platform.

12. Sokrati – Propel engagement and conversations via Social Media Marketing.

13. Unmetric – The Social Media benchmarking company for brands.

14. ViralMint – Viral Marketing and customer acquisition platform around social.

If you have any other suggestions, and we have missed out on any, please help us further, email us or put in a comment.

The next SaaS #madeinIndia products focus will be on business phone systems.

SaaS #MadeinIndia Products – HR & Recruitment

This post and the one’s following this are attempts to improve the coverage and knowledge of Indian made Product companies who are solving issues with their SaaS type solutions. This is not a comprehensive list, and if there are some companies whom we have missed and should be in this list, please feel free to email us or drop in a comment and we will add it to the list, this hopefully will turn into a Crowd Sourced list of companies in the HR & Recruitment space.
Some of the HR & Recruitment based Products with a SaaS twist and the #madeinindia component in an alphabetical order:
1. Adrenalin – Adrenalin is a business-critical Human Resource Software. It provides critical tools such as HR software solution, payroll software solution, HRMS software solution, performance management system, attendance and training management software solutions.
2. Ascent Payroll – Employee Self service, Payroll Software.
3. Cynergis – HR Outsourcing, Payroll & HRMS software which has been around for over 10 years, and also has a major SaaS play involved.
4. Employwise – HR software for integrated employee life-cycle management delivered as SaaS.
5. Emportant – provides Internet based HR and Payroll Management software. Based on cloud technologies, it provides highly reliable and worry free software environment that you can just use without any other software management overheads.
6. EmpXtrack – EmpXtrack is a software product of Saigun Technologies Pvt. Ltd.. The company has been focused on HR solutions for the last 10 years and is a CMMI Level 3 company implementing best software development practices since inception.
7. Fluous – PowerApps – Adaptive HR Systems is the premier HRMS solution being by both large and growing organisations.
8. Greytip – Greytip Software is a leading HR & Payroll software solutions company. They offer a wide range of HR solutions (from on-boarding to exit) for customers big and small across industry verticals.
9. Hackerearth – Help you hire programmers for your companies.
10. HireCraft – Talent Management is a tool to help you manage all your employees and talent via this product suite by HireCraft.
11. Hire Rabbit – HireRabbit helps you design a beautiful career site on facebook, boost your referral recruitment, automate manual social recruiting activities, and provide metrics that matter!
12. HR Mantra – HR Mantra provides SaaS based Employee Self Service, HRIS, HR & Payroll Software on the Cloud.
13. Jombay – the smartest way to find jobs in India on the next generation job portal.
14. KServeHRMS is a flagship product with of Kallos. The HRMS product is known for its unique employee self service centric model for integrated HRMS software
15. MinervaHR Suite – A product from TenXLabs designed to house all information pertaining to every employee in an association from Recruitment to Retirals.
16. Mettl – Mettl is an online assessment and testing platform to measure, analyze and improve people skills. It is ideal for companies who want to run multi-competency assessments for their prospective hires or existing employees. We focus deeply on the science of assessments and combine it with advanced technology to deliver highly valid and reliable tests.
17. PeopleWorks –  A flexible, robust, customizable, and seamless cloud based solution for efficient management of the HR lifecycle of every employee in the organization.
18. Recruiterbox – Recruiterbox is the easiest way to receive and manage job applications to your company. It is more efficient than email and simpler than any other recruitment software. They are Bangalore based, but have been getting great traction outside and within India for their product.
19. Saral Paypack – Payroll Software for managing all your employees in one place, SaaS based web platform.
20. Shawman Software – From recruitment to retirement, the entire gamut of managing human capital is supported by HRMS.
21. SumHR – SumHR is a HRMS product, automating all HR requirements with a Free Employee & Leave Management system product integrated as well.
22. Synergita – Software for the people, performance management and continuous feedback.
23. Talentpool – Talentpool is a recruitment software for HR Departments of companies. It helps them streamline their recruitment processes, meet hiring targets and get instant reports to track performance.
24. Valuehire – A complete workflow automation solution for recruitment agencies and
companies of all sizes.
As mentioned, if (and we must have) we have missed out on some companies, either yours or another you know of, and would like it to be added to the list, please comment below here, or email us.
Our Goal is to create a great compilation of SaaS Product companies made out of India and hopefully get more businesses to try using these products as well compared to other counter-parts.
The next list of SaaS Product companies made from India, will have special focus on Social Media Tools. Watch out for that in a few days.

Do Your Bit – Become a Customer

What does a tech-product start-up need initially? It is not money, not more people to join the team according to me.

It needs validation, feedback, users, inputs and all of this comes from Real Customers like you & me. If a product start-up gets real users, customers who engage in day-day usage of the product, they automatically become the following:

The Product Manager, The Well-wisher, The Marketer, The Adviser, The First Investor, and Friend.

Then can come re-iteration, product tweaking, more sales, more customers, more tweaking, more code, more tweaking, more selling and once you have a little bit of traction, then can come the People to join the team (Who will be excited by progress) and the Investors (who could now see Traction).

If the First Customers can do so much for a start-up, then why not the eco-system get stronger by becoming early adopters and customers of more Indian Product companies ?

At Exotel we have been very very progressive on this front as much as we can be and there are limitations as we are a B2B company in India, but we do our bit.

We signed up initially with these companies – HireRabbit (now in TechCrunch) ,MuHive (Social Media Engagement Tool), are looking at Pacebale right now and are always willing to experiment and try new products. We have been very lucky ourselves, there have been companies in the ecosystem who signed up with us though they might have had a more “Known” brand to take, but the entrepreneurs and teams in those young fast growing companies decided to go with us. CarwaleOlacabsBabajobCA Club IndiaPractoAkosha and more here.

A very small thing I try and do every time on Twitter, is keep connecting people who might have a use of each others products. Prominently I push all Start-up folks on Twitter to use some of the new Cab/Auto aggregators like OlacabsTaxiforsureCabs4HireAutowaleSavaariYourcabs instead of a Meru or Easy as it helps these young companies get more business and test their mettle. Another thing to do is keep connecting folks looking for Maids/Peon-clerk jobs to Chachii/Mypeon type services or help E-Commerce service/product providers get in touch with E-Commerce companies. There are in-numerable examples of what people already do and we should participate in it.

At the end of the day, if the product/service is good and adds value, the customer will stay and be all of the above.

If you were not given a shot once in your company or by your bosses, employers, customers would you be in this position today? Think about that, and help make the eco-system stronger. You have less to lose and lots to give.

If you think I can help you get connected to someone who could use your product/service, feel free to reach out.