Friday, July 27, 2012

NASSCOM EMERGE: Establishing a Niche in a growing market


Last Friday I attended my very first NASSCOM event in Kolkata.  For those who are not aware, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is a trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry aimed at promoting and harnessing IT and Communications technologies for inclusive and balanced growth.

The topic for the event was ‘How to establish a Niche in a growing market?’ It was presented as a panel discussion and was essentially an experience sharing session characterized by a lively interaction between the panelists and the audience. Udai Singh Solanki, MD & CTO, eRevMax was invited as a panelist and he was fabulous on the day. He was joined by Atul Agarwal, Managing Director, InSync Tech-Fin Solutions Ltd and Kamal Agarwala, Founder & CEO, Exactlly Group Of Companies while Indranil Choudhury, co-founder & CEO, Lexplosion Solutions Pvt Ltd moderated the panel.


The session started with a round of introductions, post which the panelists shared their experiences on how they identified the niche segments in which their companies operate today and how they continue to lead in their segment. The topic was very close to the hearts of people on both sides of the table. Most of the attendees represented start-up firms providing products and services in highly specialized fields e.g. weather forecasting, engineering animation, to name a few.

The panelists each had a different yet similar story to tell. The difference primarily lay in how the business idea was conceived. Udai shared the story of how a chance meeting between the company’s founders led to the birth of eRevMax. He said, “Ideas should be rooted in a business need as there have to be takers to start with! When we created the Shopper product, we already knew that rate shopping was a pain point for hotel Revenue Managers and we provided them with an effective solution for it."

When asked as to what the process is to define and succeed in a niche, Udai responded, “To start with, one must focus on both core competence and differentiation in terms of products / services offered. Establishing a niche is only the starting point. Competition will catch up sooner rather than later. Hence meeting the demands of a dynamic market in order to grow requires the ability to identify new opportunities and quickly respond to it. In our case, we continued to identify problems and develop new products to make life easier for revenue managers and today we can say we are the market leaders in hotel online distribution segment.”

Other panelists mentioned how they became niche players by trial and error, as a part of evolving and trying to establish a sustainable business. For a few, the idea stemmed from understanding genuine concerns of customers and a passion to resolve it for them. For yet others the motivation came from a sense of weariness of corporate life and the need to do something challenging.  The challenges faced by companies thereafter were quite similar.

The discussions also touched upon how start-ups find it difficult to attract and retain the right talent pool. The importance of having the right team cannot be emphasized enough!

It turned out to be a great session with meaningful takeaways for attendees. The panel discussion concluded with felicitation of the panelists followed by refreshments which provided networking opportunities to start-up owners keen for more ideas to push their business.

Overall, a well organized and interesting session, and I look forward to other such events. 

Kudos to NASSCOM for the job done well!

For pictures from the event, click here

Anupama Dasgupta is VP – Human Resource at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all HR and Organizational Development activities for RateTiger and eRevMax globally. Anupama is based out of Kolkata and can be reached at anupamadg@erevmax.com
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  1. Other panelists mentioned how they became niche players by trial and error, as a part of evolving and trying to establish a sustainable business.

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