It has been a long time. My sincere apologies for staying out for such a long time. Life has been hectic both on professional and personal front.
On personal front, I got married to a beautiful lady. After knowing her for some time, I felt we understood each other well enough to take that extra step in our lives. We, finally, tied the knot in January. Therefore, January became a landmark month in my life – my month of birth and marriage.
On professional front, it was a very hectic yet a huge learning experience. The transition from Oracle to Nevales was very satisfying yet full of learning. August was full of roller coaster. After a brief introduction to the product, I was thrown into the wild sea with no one to assist and let me know how to sail through. I prepared the Product Functional Specification in a span of 10-15 days. Due to busy schedule of the then CTO, I was thrown into a sea of dangerous tides. I had my first OEM partnership negotiations without anyone in the meeting. Though my initial interaction with my CEO helped me to position myself and Nevales, Honestly speaking, I was sweating before those call. At the end of these calls, I became confident as these meetings and discussions went ahead. These meetings and interactions made me very confident in pitching things. Later in September, the CTO of the company got fired and things fell back on to us. With lot of deliverables and huge responsibility falling back, it was crucial. I hired one of my very close friend from Bangalore and we started working towards making the impossible.
So, lets try to understand the prior scenario. There was only Johan, one of my great friends today, working in the technical team. Two finance persons, 4 support, 4 sales and 1 pre-sales. Customer base was about 40 then. Let us try how Nevales happened. Nevales started by acquiring Syntensia and what I could not understand till date was how can a product company run without technical team.
There had been absolutely no major development activity in the product since the acquisition. I took over and tried to re-architecture the product. I, successfully, convinced the management and re-designed the model. After hardship and late nights, the product was re-launched in its new avataar – Device + Cloud Architecture. For the first time ever, Cloud concept was leveraged to manage and administer UTMs. With the new concept, we were able to launch the product in January.
What was different? In addition to some new features such as HTTPS Blocking, DDNS Support, 3G Dongle Support in the form of Reliance NetConnect and Tata Photon+, the cloud concept was a big differentiation. We were able to remove the redundancy of extra Centralized Management and Reporting like appliances from our competitors by taking the services and manageability to the cloud. The concept was new and was very well appreciated by the SMB. SMEs and SMBs loved the concept when we launched it with the “Pay as You” go model. At the very outset, I have no hesitation to accept that the current technology of UTM product is still that of the early 2000 but the cloud concept makes it a very attractive solution to very naive SMBs. UI took a bog leap in user experience and look and feel.
Even after the launch, the kick-off was not smooth. Sales dipped and pre-sales did not accept the model easily. Post Sales Support team showed heavy opposition. But then I pitched in with the development team. Meanwhile, the technical team grew from 2 to 5 in India and I started taking active role in product marketing and sales and pre-sales activity. Last month, technical team did all the demonstration and PoCs. I, personally, traveled to Chennai, Bangalore and Pune in addition to handling PoCs in Mumbai.
Last month, I, also chased down successfully the biggest order in the history of company with Brand Marketing India. BMI is the premium retail dealer of Calvin Klein and French Connections in India. Thanks to our star Sales person, Ranjit Bhatti, who has become a very dear friend here. Th year ended with a biggest month is the history of our company and I felt very good to be part of this deal from day 1 till the closure. I will describe the Pre-Sales, Sales and Negotiations and People Management in separate posts.
In the meanwhile, I traveled various cities presenting the product and company at Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai. It was wonderful experience interacting with Partners and prospective customers.
I promise to update my blog regularly and keep you all updated with my learnings and experiences.