Jennifer: Please introduce our readers to your team at ConceptShelf.
Sathya: We are a team of professionals with over 15 years' experience in the nascent field of Information Technology. As a management team, we are truly committed to exhibiting our core values towards our clients, partners, and employees.
Mr. Praveen (Head of Technology and IT Consulting) defines our technical strategy and looks after advanced technology adoption in our projects and solutions. He has about 15 years' experience in Information Technology and has demonstrated excellent talent during his long career. His vast experience in developing software products and supporting offshore development teams for complex and scalable application models is complemented by his familiarity with software development methodologies, including Agile and Scrum. Above all, he is an excellent solution provider and has great management skills.
He likes to cook and try out different cuisines, and writes blogs and stories that never end up on a publisher's desk!
Jennifer: What inspired you and your partner to decide to start your own company?
Praveen: Very often, too much professionalism leads to arrogance towards clients, and we have witnessed disappointments and frustration on their faces. Sometimes, we have had to remain bystanders due to corporate policies. We want to be different by giving primary attention to our clients and their requirements, rather than focusing only on profit.
Jennifer: If you would describe ConceptShelf in two or three sentences, what would you say?
Sathya: ConceptShelf is a one-stop-shop for all your information technology needs. If you ever wished for a friendly guide and helper during an application development program, one who could help you trim costs without compromising on quality, who works for you rather than for himself – we are the people you are looking for.
Jennifer: What are some of the reasons clients choose ConceptShelf?
Praveen: We believe that those who have experienced our services stay with us, primarily because we put their interest first and work to fulfill their needs.
Jennifer: What are the main problems you solve for your clients?
Sathya: There are three main problems we solve for our clients:
- Our consistent support and professionalism helps them get rid of anxieties over project completion, cost, and technical hassles. We take care of the headaches, so that they can relax.
- Our excellent client relation service makes our clients feel like it's their own colleague supervising the development. This eliminates all the disadvantages of remote management.
- Clients don’t need to go anywhere else for guidance. We are always there for discussions, and we believe that improvement is possible only with increased interaction.
Praveen: We work under strict NDA with our clients and hence we are restricted here. As mentioned earlier, we work more as solution providers not mere developers; so in every project, we can show instances of our ideas and suggestions saving money and time for our client, in addition to providing effective output.
However, we have a very interesting story to share. A client approached us for a very simple and quick solution for their existing project. Since it was only a small module that needed development, we were also expecting a very short documentation from the client. To our surprise, the client-side contact person shared the complete set of project documents. This forced us to scan through the documents to identify sections related to our tasks. In this process, we noticed an important flaw in their system. From the documents, we understood that the company had more than one service area that were running quite successfully and the module we were about to develop could also be used in those applications if we develop it as a pluggable or independent module. Otherwise the client will have to spend money and time to get the module developed and integrated for each service area. It would have been easy money for us, but since we always give importance to a client’s benefit than ours, we suggested the idea and explained that it could save them a lot of time and money. And as expected, they were very happy and coincidentally they were also thinking on similar lines.
But the story doesn’t end here! To add to our joy, the company started discussing with us to revamp / optimize one of their major online applications. Further discussions led to vast changes in their application and business models, and we also explained the benefit of developing apps for portable devices such as mobiles and tablets. The whole project plan and specification were ready, and we were informed that the client was scouting for funds and infrastructure. We were on the verge of signing the agreement when, fortunately or unfortunately for us, the client was acquired by a huge IT company of the likes of Google and Amazon and the project was postponed.
We were disappointed but also happy that our honest and open strategies almost brought us a great reward! The apparent misfortune brought about a twist in the story – the former client-side contact person landed a big role in the new company and he remembered us for their next big project. To quote him, he said, “I can never forget how you converted my mistake (sharing complete documents without NDA) into a very great solution for the project and company.”
Our good values, attitude, and thought for the client enable us to work with one of the biggest companies in the world today. Finally, there may be some good news on the way; we hear that the old project which had brought us good fortune is also on its way.
Jennifer: What a great story! Any new company would aspire to have such rewarding experiences! As we know, venturing out and sparking a start-up is a current trend in Kochi. What two or three most important pieces of advice can you give to those who aspire to start a new venture?
Sathya: Give importance to your passion, not to money; money will come as a by-product. If your passion is to make money, go find a good job.
Jennifer: Though your business is a technical one, how do soft skills factor into a successfully running start-up?
Sathya: Do I need to emphasize the fact that soft skills are one of the most essential qualities required to run any business? We are able to run our business only because of our improved soft skills gained over years of experience in managing teams and clients.
Soft skills are essential in every area of business, for example, negotiations, time management, project planning, client relations, and people management.
Thank you for sharing your story with us here on Authentic Journeys. We wish you a fruitful and successful journey as a part of ConceptShelf. To realize your dreams, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or Skype Sathya.pb.
This interview was written by Jennifer Kumar and edited by Chris Sufi.
Chris Sufi is a freelance editor who lives in Bangalore, India. Her personal interest in language and communication inspires her to contribute through proofreading and editing. She can be contacted here.
Previous Interviews in the Start-Up Series:
Raycast Technologies: Education Through Games
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Improve Customer Service
RapidValue Solutions: Mobility Solutions Provider
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