Kamal Sodhi is a recent member of the ICODE team and has the responsibility of playing a key role for the growth of ICODE in India as VP, Sales and Marketing. Though the Indian market is new to Kamal, he is focussed on making the company’s presence felt in the office automation market. His previous experience at Boston-based Akibia has come in handy for analyzing the market requirements and fine tune ICODE’s channel and marketing strategies. Kamal talks to CI about ICODE’s channel initiatives.
What are some of ICODE’s products?
We have two award-winning products: Accware and Accware Online, which cater to the needs of the Indian Market. We participated in the Gartner-sponsored
‘Retail Vision’ exhibition that was held in the month of September at Orlando, US last year. Accware won the runner-up prize for the best new technology. The show had all the top retail shops like Staples, Best Buys, Comp USA etc, coming under one roof to judge products and technology. This is one award that we are proud of.
At another Gartner event, Accware Online won the best e-commerce and accounting software award. These products are now available for the Indian market. They help you run your business on a single software system and that’s the punch line we use for our media and communication strategy.
But what is unique about Accware when there are so many accounting software floating in the market?
In an organization, accounting alone does not form the core of activities. You have other departments like sales, marketing, purchasing, inventory control, e-commerce, return management etc. working hand-in-hand. Accware is targeted at meeting all these needs and Accware Online puts you a step ahead in automating the entire operations online.
Moreover, if we observe the evolution of an organization we can see that along with the business development, an individual scales up from making notes on his diary to using software to make a note of this daily transactions and activities. It is here that we come into the picture.
What led to the development of Accware? What is its USP?
We have scanned the market and found that software designed today only solve about 20 to 30 percent of office automation needs. For example you have Tally for accounting or Purse for HR etc. There is no single product, which an individual would be able to use to integrate all the functions of the company.
The moment he is into a particular slot of growth, where he is looking for tools which would improve his productivity, Accware steps in to automate his business. We give him single software to run his entire business. So we take care of all these modules in an integrated fashion across different locations.
In contemporary times, where people are talking about online data storage, dependency on certain software has seen a decline. In this light, do you think Accware can hold its own?
Today, the Internet is not viewed as a tool for communication but also as a medium to sell and promote the company’s products, services, expertise etc. A web site can be designed with a minimum investment of Rs 5 Lakh, but this investment will never spell out ‘value for money’ if it does not meet your needs. It’s similar to buying a book for 80 dollars or a book for 800 dollars, but it is the content, which matters.
In the case of web sites, factors that matter the most are display quality, information, security, integration etc. All these factors need professionalism and it does cost money at times. ICODE on the other hand provides value for money solution.
Summarizing the product details, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that our solution provides you with total office automation and puts you a step ahead with its unique online feature.
Could you explain in detail the company’s activities in the country? How do you conduct your overseas business?
We have marketing and a tele-sales department in India for selling our products for both Indian and the US market. The tele-marketing team will call upon the leads and prospects generated through our web site and other marketing programs. Apart from working on the leads, the team also speaks and qualifies the prospects and if required would make a demo on the product. They also play an important role in closing the deal.
We also have a specialized sales team in the US, who meet the customer to understand his needs in detail and help us structure customized deals. Currently, we have around 800 customers in the US and the latest to have joined our clientele list is Tasalt Airjet Systems, who are well known for their 5240 passenger Jet planes.
Who are your target clients?
We have analyzed the market worldwide and India is no different from the world in terms of availability of software solutions. We have also observed that the bottom line provided for most of the companies in India does not permit them to go in for higher-end solutions designed by SAP, Oracle etc, so they are stuck with lower end solutions which only meets specific needs. Accware addresses the middle tier and is an ideal platform for small and medium-sized business.
What business model do you follow? What role do you conceive for channel partners in this business model?
Though ICODE software is a four-year-old company, our Indian initiatives started about a month back. We have been selling the product successfully for the last 30 days without any advertising and marketing campaigns. We generated about 75 inquiries from our participation in BangaloreIT.com and Comdex World 2000.
We are looking forward to building a strong channel network in India, who would help us create the awareness about the product. On the other hand we believe in a one-tier model for channels, wherein ICODE Software would invoice the value-added partner and not the customer directly. We foresee 98 percent of our revenue coming in from channels.
Channels would primarily be responsible for the customer prospecting to closing the deal. Simultaneously, we will also concentrate on training our channels to address support and installation issues.
Sunila Paul in Bangalore