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 ThinkOPD.com. 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.