Drivers of Product Modernization

According to a Forrester Report, 51% of the CIOs want to modernize their IT systems and applications. This makes it necessary for ISVs to modernize and upgrade their products in order to meet the market demand. Over last few years, ISVs, have a focus on modernization their products. This trend is driven by different business & operational needs and technology disruptions.

Business Needs:

  • Changing Business Environment: Business environment across the world is changing. To adapt to the demand of end users changing business needs, ISVs need to modernize their product. Otherwise they lose the competitive edge
  • Improved User Experience: Better usability drives enriches user experience, and thus results in better adoption, whether the product is on the Web or on the desktop. ISVs have a constant pressure to improve the UI of their product through the usage of existing or new technologies.
  • User Needs & Satisfaction: Current day users are more demanding. They want more for less, better Usability, and more efficient product which is accessible through any devices.As an example, users now expect their software – from email, to line of business applications – to be accessible on their mobile devices
  • New business processes: Enterprises in many industries, such as Healthcare, Banking, have adopted new business processes to comply with new regulations. While software companies have tried to incorporate the changes, many time incorporating changes into existing products have been done through some workarounds, which are impacting the performance, scalability, and efficiency of the product
  • New market: To achieve their growth,ISVs are targeting new market segments and such initiatives are often necessitating changes to the technology platform, architecture, or delivery mechanism.

Operational Needs:

  • Streamlining R&D Budget: The changing business scenario has also put pressure on optimizing the R&D budget, by lowering maintenance & support cost, and shortening the lead time to market. This can be achieved only when ISVs do not need to support multiple legacy version of their product. Only way forward for ISVs to achieve this is by modernizing the old product and to bring them to new technology platform.
  • Unavailability of skilled resources: It is not very easy to find an expert engineer with legacy platform skill. Even if they are available, they have negative impact on return on R&D investment. Product modernization can also solve this problem for ISVs

Technology Disruptions:

  • Mobility Enablement: Mobility has come a long way and established itself as a major delivery channel for enterprise data and applications. This trend is forcing ISVs to mobility enable their existing product
  • Software as a Service: Gartner predicts one third of existing enterprise applications to move to a hosted model and 40% of new applications to be built using it. ISVs need to redesign & re-architect their products to make it SaaS enabled
  • Web2.0: The new Web is not just transforming the way Web businesses function; it is influencing how ISVs are adopting Web 2.0 concepts to enrich their products.
  • Cloud computing: Cloud computing is another game changer which will decide future the way applications will be delivered. ISVs need to factor in a cloud strategy from customer’s’s as well as their own business view point

(Re-publication from an earlier article of the author published in EzineArticles:


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Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers — and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling. I found this talk to be extremely motivating. Most marketing goes from what to how. We make great products (what). They are cheap and powerful (how). Go buy it. Uninspiring. Doesn’t work. All great inspiring leaders and organizations go inside out, from “why” to “what”. We believe in changing the status quo in everything we do. We make our products beautifully designed and user-friendly. We just happen to make a certain product. Want to buy one? Yes!

As correctly idenfied by Simon, this principle (inside out, from why to what) is crucial not only in marketing, but also in social leadership, hiring people, and interpersonal communication. It really makes a big difference. People are the cornerstone of success. And loyal, commited people are the best partners. They work with blood, sweat and tears, and not for the paycheck.


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Usability study distinguishes a successful product from a failed one

Recently, I got an opportunity to have a discussion with Partha Pramanik,Vice President, Product Development, Fluent Technologies. Couple of weeks back we posted the first part of the interview. Today we have the last part of the series.

Som: What are the major operational challenges that an ISV is facing today?

Partha: The major operational challenges facing us as a ‘SaaS’ provider are in the areas of providing the proper infrastructure to support the business continuity demands of our clients as well as coming up with the appropriate model for providing support to them. Continue reading


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Small & Medium businesses are leveraging power of SaaS

According to IT research firm AMI’s latest worldwide SMB Cloud Services Practice, there are roughly 750,000 (12 percent) small businesses and 20,000 (24 percent) medium-size businesses already using software as a service (SAAS). In addition, the survey found by looking at today’s SAAS users, 78 percent of small businesses and 31 percent of midsized businesses are leveraging a SAAS plus on-premises mix (or hybrid model), while approximately only a third of SAAS users are using an actual pure-SAAS product.

With an anticipated growth of up to $95 billion in global SMB cloud-related spending by 2014, the firm said it isn’t a surprise to see over half of U.S. SMBs looking into SAAS as a potential solution. Approximately one in five U.S. SMBs plan to use SAAS. However, AMI said it believes that SMBs are easing into the concept of local plus cloud-based computing rather than leapfrogging into a pure-play platform. Continue reading


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“To determine when and how to adopt a new technology – the biggest challenge of a CTO” – Partha Pramanik,Vice President, Product Development, Fluent Technologies

Recently, I got an opportunity to have a discussion with Partha Pramanik,Vice President, Product Development, Fluent Technologies. Partha joined the Fluent team in December 2004 bringing with him more than a decade of experience designing software products, including an online exchange for trading financial instruments based on electronic commodities. From 1991 to 1996, he served as a senior member of the faculty at the Indian Statistical Institute, a premier research institution in India. Before that, he worked as a research engineer at a Computer Aided Design (CAD) Center funded by the United Nations Development Program, where his work involved designing industrial CAD systems. Partha earned his Ph.D. in computer science from Jadavpur University in Calcutta, India, in 1992.

This is the first part of the series:

Som: Hi Partha, welcome to As you are aware, this is a site focused on discussions around Outsourced Product Development and Globalization of Product Development. Today we are very happy to have you with us here. Thanks for agreeing for this interview. I think it would be good for the readers if you could introduce yourself and your company.
Partha: Fluent Technologies provides a platform to produce automated marketing collaterals for investment management companies using data from their record keeping systems as well as third party sources like Morningstar, Lipper etc. The platform is offered in the form of ‘Software as a Service’. I look after Fluent’s application development.

Som: How did ISV industry as such perform during this recession?
Partha: Since we are not part of the traditional ISV industry as such it is difficult to comment on it. But, I feel that the SaaS industry has grown healthily over the last couple of years despite the global recession and will continue to do so. The industry will also become competitive. The competition might lead to an eventual commoditization in specific segments like CRM, ERP etc.

Som: How did recession affect your company?
Partha: It is difficult to estimate the effect of the recession on our company. On the one hand the lowering of stock prices lowered the assets under management for our clients and has reduced their budget for adding new services. On the other hand, the drastic cut in the work force in the industry has opened new opportunities for us. The industry is now forced to produce the same amount of collaterals with less staff and is looking for more automated solutions and streamlined processes.

Som: What kind of changes/challenges do you see in the post recession era?
Partha: There is a fair chance that the current recovery will stall and the current state of economy will continue for the next couple of years. It is also possible that the United States will face an anemic job growth in the foreseeable future. If this happens, it is bound to have a global impact as well as reduced investment in all technology areas.

Som: Could you please tell us about few priorities that a CTO of Product Company will have in his mind? How do their priorities and approach towards technology adoption changes?
Partha: The primary priority is to determine if the appropriate technology is being made available for supporting the business needs of our clientele. Innovating on technology for its own sake might not be appropriate in our domain. The biggest challenge is to determine when and how to adopt a new technology and I believe that this always will remain so.


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Top ISV executives predict growth for the ISV Industry – Opportunity for OPD Service providers

As per a new Sandhill Groupsurvey, ISV industry is gearing up for a new growth cycle. Recently Sandhill Group has conducted a survey among more than 100 top executives of ISVs and found that ISVs are planning for significant growth in 2010.
At the same time it has also come out that ISVs will face a new set of challenges on their way to growth. Customer organizations’ increasing adoption of cloud computing and their preference for moving away from the traditional software licensing model will bring not only technical challenges but also business challenge as the metrics that ISVs use to track their business will change rapidly.

This business disruption, along with the technology disruptions in the form of Cloud computing and Mobility enablement, will bring a new set of opportunities to service providers providing Outsourced Product Development services. But to achieve success, like ISVs, outsourced Product Development Service providers will also need to change their value proposition and business metrics. Since ISVs will move away from revenue/pipeline to CMRR (contracted or committed monthly recurring revenue), they would look for strategic partners who would be ready to work in an outcome based model.

Please feel free to contact the author at to discuss about the future trend of the ISV industry and evolving service offering.


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Andriod surges ahead of iPhone OS in US market – Opportunity for the ISVs

A new research from Nielsen reveals that Apple’s mobile operating system lost its second place position to Google’s Android in Q2 2010 in the USA market. According to Nielsen, Android’s share in the OS market peaked to 27% while Apple’s OS share managed 23% share. RIM maintained the leadership with 33% share. Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Mobile OS share slid to 11% when compared to 20% share it held last year.
This can open up new opportunities for the ISVs who are yet to mobility enable their products. Till date ISVs were facing challenges to mobility enable their product as the leading two Operating Systems were closed OSs and involves close collaboration with OS vendors. Android being an open operating system it creates an open environment and it becomes easier for ISVs to build and deliver applications to a higher number of target customers. Very soon we will see the shift in focus in mobile application from lifestyle and entertainment driven consumer applications to enterprise products, which will be big boost for Enterprise Mobility.


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Indian Captives are changing focus towards value creation

As a part of the Blue Star Infotech team, I got an opportunity to participate in Congruence 2010, one of the largest R&D conferences in India, hosted by Zinnov. Blue Star Infotech was the Silver partner of for the event which saw a huge ensemble of people from all R&D organizations like MNC captives, Defence Labs, and leading R&D service providers. Aim of Congruence 2010 was to explore roadmap to help transform Indian R&D ecosystem and make India the epicenter for global innovation.
The speakers also talked about what are the requirements of the industry to move it up in the value chain. Central theme of most of the discussions was about India’s evolutions as top R&D hub for global majors. Most of the speakers felt that to keep the growth going Indian firms should concentrate on innovation, not only for India but for global market. According to them creating an excellent team and leadership is the key to sustain this growth.
There were multiple sessions on talent attraction, management and retention. It is clear from the participation in those sessions that this is a key pain point for most of the captives.

Most heartening fact for people of this industry is that R&D Globalization has significantly evolved over the last few years, wherein most centers aspire to move from operating as a low cost center to a center with focus on ‘Innovation’ and ‘Global Leadership’. The economic slowdown over the last eighteen months has in fact helped accelerate this much needed change. Companies have also realized that their increasing focus on innovation and global leadership will significantly augment the value they offer to their parent companies and allow them to attract as well as retain top talent. But most interesting thing is that this did not happen at the expense of operating cost. In a recent operations benchmarking report, Zinnov adds the cost of running R&D centres in India has continued to decline over the last two years and stands at Rs 18.2 lakh ($38,199 or 27,028 euro) per person per year, a decline of 0.9% in rupee, 4% in dollar and 3.3% in euro terms in FY 2010, indicating signs of cost optimisation due to the constrained economic environment. According to this report R&D centres in India have helped parent companies save a cumulative of $40 billion for the last three years.

It is also clear that to fuel this innovation engine, without compromising the operations excellence, Product companies are constantly looking out for partners who can offer Strategic value, Core & non-core skills, Flexible scale, and cost benefit. There is a definite shift happening towards treating partners beyond resource suppliers. From engagement model perspective, though T&M is the most common one, there is definite intent in moving towards SLA based/ outcome based models. Companies like Blue Star Infotech, who focuses on engineering business outcomes for its customers will be able to leverage their outcome based engagement models and will be treated as strategic partners by product companies.
If you are interested in knowing more about this event and current trends, please contact the author (


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Blue Star Infotech is sponsoring Congruence 2010 – The most important Outsourced Product Development Event of the year

R&D Globalization has significantly evolved over the last few years, and India has played a major role in this movement. Starting from a mere low-cost centre for most of the product companies, the captive centers today aspire to move to innovation centers. The current global economic situation, where product companies are forced to control cost, and at the same time needs to focus on ‘Innovation’ to maintain ‘Global Leadership’, has helped to accelerate this trend of Globalization.

Zinnov’s annual conference on globalization, “Congruence 2010: The Fourth Dimension of Globalization” this year, will dwell into some of these intriguing topics and will act as a catalyst to help drive change among the MNC R&D fraternity in India.

Blue Star infotech Ltd.(BSI), a leading provider of outsourced product development, has been servicing the leading MNC captives for a long time. Over the last 26 years, BSI has helped the MNCs to setup, grow and innovate through it’s technical expertise, partnership approach, and innovative engagement models.

BSI is participating in Congruence 2010 as a silver sponsor and will be unveiling its new outcome based service offering for MNC captives during this event. BSI welcomes all participants to its stall on 15th of July, at Royal Gardenia hotel, Bangalore


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Venture Captital funding in Software Industry is on Rise during Q1 2010

According to a report published by Venture Deal, Venture Captal invest in software industry is on rise. During this period, 109 Software companies raised a total capital of $675 million between themselves, representing an increase of 4% in total funding amount and an increase of 3% in the number of companies funded.
According to teh report, the average financing round size registered a slight increase, from $6.1 million in Q4 09 to $6.2 million in the current quarter.
The largest funding of the quarter was a $110 million round for PowerPlan. The company sells fixed asset software for large, capital intensive industries. JMI Equity and TPG Growth provided the growth equity funding.
In the Application Programming Interface (API) space, Mashery closed on $5.5 million for its third round of venture capital funding. The company helps businesses create and manage their information sharing platforms. Among its venture capital firm backers, it also accepted strategic investment in this round from corporate investor Cisco Systems.
Cisco also invested in Grid Net. Grid Net is designing platforms to integrate intelligence into electrical grids from the source to the end-user. The company’s investor syndicate also includes noted energy VC Braemar Energy Ventures.


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