Ahmedabad-based Indusa Infotech has developed off-the-shelf products in fields as diverse as website content management to recruiting solutions and elearning software to fuel its growth in the years ahead
Several IT companies in India spend their time customizing software to suit the requirements of their clients. But Ahmedabad-based Indusa Infotech, which clocked a turnover of Rs 1 crore in 2002-03 and hopes to more than double it to Rs 2.5 crore in 2003-04, has opted for a different route. With an employee strength of just 30, this unpretentious entity has chosen to be a software product development company. In the process, it has come up with innovative tools which, apart from other segments, are likely to find use among several educational institutions within the country in the coming days.
"As of now, however, we have not forayed much into the domestic market. Instead, we have concentrated on overseas markets and have been consistently bagging orders from the US government over the past three years," says Govind Gupta, CEO, Indusa Infotech. Interestingly, Gupta is a chemical engineer from IIT Bombay with a degree in chemical engineering from the US as well. On completing his studies in the US, Gupta returned to India and set up a chemical factory in Gujarat. Soon, he ventured into consultancy but was drawn by the prospects in IT. Accordingly, he now finds himself ensconced in Indusa Infotech, the Indian associate of the US-based Indusa Technical Corporation, which was set up by NRI, Kamlesh Shah.
However, the Indian operations are run independently; in fact, Indusa Infotech provides software products to its parent company while the latter scouts for business for its Indian concern. Unlike other Indian IT giants, Indusa Infotech did not start off as a software development company but as a software product company.
"The difference is that we pre-design software products and then offer them to various companies. The normal trend in India is to function as service companies, that is, develop customized software for clients on a case-to-case basis. We took a different route - we came out with a number of products which are suitable for professional service companies and for consultants, like our own parent company," Gupta says.
While several products have found application across various sectors, the flagship product is the Web Content Management System. Called CMSi, this product is a unique solution that enables users to manage the website content without any technical assistance. "It allows users to author, edit, review and publish the site contents with its own WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) HTML editor that offers any word editor-like features to the users", explains Gupta.
"CMSi also has inherent features for configuring and managing content workflow for different sections and content blocks within a website. It can configure a number of users with different roles and access / activity rights. This allows the organisation to configure and manage its website contents through various user groups by assigning them different sections / contents of the site. The best part about this product is that it cuts across platforms like Microsoft, Linux and Java and is suitable for a large variety of people," he adds.
Another product which has stood Indusa in good stead is an internet-based recruiting solution called Manpower Resourcing System. It is a web-based solution, mainly targeted at companies providing recruitment services, and is designed and developed for performing various aspects of the recruitment process, including development of a candidate database, handling various human resource requirements (in-house and those of the client), identifying prospective candidates and performing various evaluations and closing the requirements.
Commenting on these products, Gupta says that they are primarily targeted at the US market and, "Since almost 95 per cent of our work is done for US government agencies, we have not really explored the applicability of these products in India," he says.
However, one product which has considerable potential in the country is eLearning, which facilitates distance education. According to Gupta, "This product is a comprehensive e-learning solution primarily for the higher education segment, increasing the scope and potential of educational programmes. It includes a broad range of course development, deployment and management capabilities, along with effective communication and collaboration tools."
Once educational institutes in India are familiar with this product, it can become an effective tool for students who are far away from schools. The school curriculum can be divided into several sections and the material can be uploaded. The course material can then be displayed in a simple manner. Since this product enables interaction between the student and the teacher as it also has chat facilities, it is ideal for distance learning.
eLearning comes with other facilities as well which enable interaction: for instance, the white board replaces the ubiquitous blackboard in class rooms. With web conferencing the students and teachers will even be able to speak to each other. The problem however is one of educational infrastructure - schools and colleges in India are not yet equipped with an adequate number of computers. Good connectivity and adequate bandwidth are additional problem areas. At the moment Indusa is exploring the possibility of implementing this solution in some of the educational institutes like the IIMs and institutions run by Nirma.
Infact, Indusa is also considering going the other way to penetrate rural areas first. "The rural population, which lacks infrastructure, can really benefit from this technology. Just one teacher can interact with students from five to six districts. In two to three years, we see a real possibility of distance learning benefiting from our technology. For our India plans, we are in talks with colleges in Pune and Ahmedabad and some public schools," says Gupta. Apart from these main products, Indusa also has a Sales Management and Tracking System, which enables sales and marketing personnel to manage and track the complete sales process online. Besides, it also retails an innovative web based solution, E-ValuateNet for online evaluation of various skills among corporate personnel in various industry segments.
Indusa is now considering the possibilities of entering the Indian market in a more comprehensive manner. Thus, e-schooling may become a reality in India in not too distant a future.