Ajay K. Sanghi is the Founder and Managing Director of Edisphere - an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) software product company. We met Ajay, an entrepreneur at core, to know about his business which he interestingly relocated from Delhi to Nagpur in 2007.
Ajay's office ambiance is beautiful, soothing and 'close to nature', which he proudly says was designed to catalyze software creativity and productivity - which is an essential base on which any software product company is built.
The excerpts from the interview are detailed below.
Tell us a little bit about your company?
Ajay: We develop EDI software products for supply chain integration and this is the only thing we do. We started in 1995 in Delhi and moved to Nagpur in 2007. Over 15 years of doing just EDI product development, we have create significant IPR in form of over half million lines of C++ code. Our EDI software product is used by some Tier 1 companies like Ports America, which is the largest terminal operator in USA, to integrate their ports with shipping lines, trucking companies, and US customs for container operations in a business critical environment. The robustness of our software product coupled with our low-cost 24x7 support provides unbeatable value to our customers.
That’s quite crisp. Your company interestingly moved from a metro city i.e. Delhi to the emerging city of Nagpur. Could you share a little bit on that?
Ajay: Two areas where I was most worried when moving to Nagpur was Availability of software workforce and Access to Local Market.
I am convinced that workforce has to be managed using a solid internal training program, so we initiated the process of quickly training a new hire on our IPR. For expert talent we use forums and internet platforms. For marketing we decided to hire sales representatives in metros and also partner with local SI companies. Once this was decided, the decision to move to Nagpur became quite simple; knowing the potential and enriching lifestyle Nagpur offers.
As I was busy wrapping up business at Delhi, friends at Nagpur worked together to set up this beautiful office. All decisions related to furnishing, networking, power backups was taken by friends. I came to Nagpur just a day before to move into a fully operational office like a VVIP. I did not have to pay a penny in advance. None of the contractors had any issue with extended credit, which I settled only after making the move. This is typical of Nagpur. It is a manifested indication of how emotional and supportive people of Nagpur are.
Were your clients affected by your move? Could you tell us more about them?
Ajay: None of our clients were affected as we had developed ourselves as a virtual company using a variety of Internet applications and open source tools. The support we offer for our clients is completely remote based and with good Internet connectivity we can solve our client problems from anywhere, which is as good as local support.
Our major clients are in Ports and Logistics space in USA, South Africa and India. However, our software product is Industry neutral. Any company having an internal ERP and requiring Application to Application integration with partners is a potential client for us.
You chose Nagpur for its potential and enriching lifestyle. How has your experience been so far. How favorable has it been operating a software product out of Nagpur?
Ajay: The experience has been amazing. Besides unique capability of the city to quickly pool in expert resources from “friendly” software companies for urgent work and rich lifestyle due to wonderful friends and excellent nearby weekend getaways, we were able to quickly establish our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program in the nearby slum. Experiencing the social difference we can make in the lives of deprived children has made life lot more purposeful.
The city has excellent social economic infrastructure – balanced lifestyle and recreation besides excellent infrastructure and talent.
Opportunities and challenges are 2 sides of the same coin. Tell us a little bit about them and how have you overcome them?
Ajay: Retaining quality talent and finding expert software talent in Nagpur has been a major challenge, which is not unique to Nagpur.
We use oDesk and AISEC platform to tap expert or fresh software talent globally and also use virtual office to hire and retain experienced talent working from home outside Nagpur. In addition, we use our Microsoft Gold Partner status to tap Microsoft software experts for advance discussions and problem solving.
Its enlightening to know about your experiences and 'out of the box' thinking. How would you sum up your initiative to move to Nagpur?
Ajay: Moving to Nagpur has improved the quality of life by several notches and made us very socially responsible. Having a good virtual office is the key to innovation in hiring quality talent in Nagpur.
I see tremendous opportunity in developing software product for marketing outreach to rural area that uses a mix of technology and rural human resources. For example, enabling a portal to report consumption of the FMCG stores, in rural India, is not only “Gold” for the FMCG companies but also generates quality employment for the educated youth of the rural India. Our EDI product can enable such businesses by integrating rural businesses with FMCG companies.
To know more about Ajay's software product company please visit www.edisphere.com. If you are a software company or know about a IT.ITES company which has relocated its business to Nagpur, feel free to share your success story with us.
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