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This post is based on the NASSCOM session on “Platforms and Harnessing their Power as Digital Deepens”, organised in association with Sonata Software at Hotel Leela Palace, Bengaluru on 8 March 2017. 


A daily digital interaction is the power that digital tools and digital platforms offer when used properly and every business and company is relevant to it. A successful digital play often demands the existence of a vibrant platform which can bring suppliers and consumers together. Today, a large number of the world’s most valuable companies by market capitalization are platform companies, including Apple, Amazon, Alibaba and Facebook. NASSCOM in association with Sonata Software organized an interesting conversation on 8th March 2017 at Hotel Leela Palace which featured keynote addresses by prominent technologists and a deep-dive panel discussion by industry experts on the theme of ‘Platform and Harnessing its power as digital deepens’. The conversation opened with Srikar Reddy, MD & CEO Sonata Software, setting the context on How businesses and Technology has evolved for platform players, how Tech vendors are going the platform way and  how platform models are impacting tech and IT landscape. The conversation had short keynotes from Anshu Gupta- Paypal, Pratap TP – Qikcilwer, Sonia Parendekar – Urban Ladder, Vishnu Prasad Hegde – SAP Labs and Gurubala- Microsoft. The conversation ended with an interesting discussion on what could be the degree of readiness among enterprises and their ITeS partners if they choose to move on to a more platform based approach. This conversation was led by Ed Nair- Cybermedia with eminent panelist of Ankur Dang of GE Digital, Omprakash Subbarao of Sonata Software and Tilak Doddapaneni of Tesco.


Nowadays many businesses depend on a platform model. But would enterprises move into a complete platform model? The discussion mainly focused around -What gives platform-based business models competitive advantages over traditional business models and on how a company’s  technology has aligned to business their needs. The session focused on discussing on flexibility and scale of platform models and the challenges an organization faces while implementing a model of the scale. Platforms leverages the power of network effect there by unleashing the potential of growth in both width and depth.



Defining Platforms and Outlining Their Potential for Disruption for Business and IT.

Speaker: Srikar Reddy - MD &CEO, Sonata Software



Technology Vendors Implementing& Supporting Platform-based Software Solution.
Vishnu Prasad Hedge - Head HANA Platform - SAP
Mandar Kulkarni - Director Cloud & Data Centre Programs, Microsoft



Business and Technology Platform Players.
What gives platform-based business models competitive advantages over traditional business models?
- How is your technology aligned to business needs? How are systems architected, built and operated for flexibility and scale in platforms?
- What challenges (skills/processes/infra) are faced in implementing a model like this in your organization?
Learn the business and technology paradigms underpinning emerging platform based business leaders.

Anshu Gupta - Head Partner Platform, PayPal
Sonia Parandekar-Director, Engineering Urban Ladder
Pratap T.P - Cofounder & Director, Qwikcilver



Enterprises: - how are Platform Models Impacting the Enterprise business and Tech Landscape.
Ed Nair - Group Editor ICT Business, Cybermedia
Ankur Dang - Sr. Director Software Engineering, GE Digital
Omprakash Subbarao - Head Strategy & Digital, Sonata Software
Tilak Doddapaneni - Head Online Products, Tesco India.

Design thinking has picked up pace and has become the most critical element pertaining to the functioning of any startup. Putting consumer need on a higher pedestal is the key to mastering the art of being a design thinker. You heard it right; I did use the word ‘art’ while talking about a capitalistic entity. The process of creating a product has changed its course to putting human experience at the helm of it. While we talk about being an efficient and innovative designer, the most important quality to imbibe is figuring out what consumers need. Prototyping of products extensively based on meeting the human needs of an end user is design thinking.



So, how do we master the art of being a designer? And the answer is; we master this art by bringing in psychological and social attributes of our target consumer base. Essentially this is to be executed in two phases:


Opportunity Phase

The phase focuses on finding out the areas within the social framework where a new product will bring a change.

Solution Phase

This aspect comes into action when we start zeroing in on the nature of the product which will cater to that need.


Here are the following pointers to master the art of designing:

  • Initiation of product development as an end user process rather than an organizational procedure.
  • Gathering human experience.
  • Prototyping ideas based on human needs.
  • Gauging real life scenario functionality of the ideas through prototypes.
  • Synergizing psychological compatibility with consumers.
  • Giving technology it's deserved importance while embracing design as the superlative.
  • Anticipation of human needs when they have not surfaced yet.



Following flow of steps should conclusively summarize the process of mastering the art of designing; though this is not the end, this is just a preface for more literature to come on this.





 This article has been authored by Blogbeats 

..............Excerpts from Strategic Review 2017: Software Products & Start-ups. Download the full report for insights on the India market from here

The structural shift from an on-premise to cloud is imminent, with public cloud growing 7.6X the growth of on-premise (Source: IDC). It is all market-driven and revolves around the growing need to save cost and build efficiencies. Amazon forayed into the market back in the times when larger players were not willing to accept this development.
Nevertheless, even the larger players now are investing in this space.

Oracle’s India Cloud Growth

  • Flexibility, cost, agility, innovation and time-to-market are driving Oracle’s cloud growth in India
  • From an enterprise focused mind-set to catering to largely-untapped small and mid-market customers
  • 50% business coming from new customers - Ola, Makemytrip, Jabong, PVR Cinemas, and Bookmyshow
  • Launched the company’s first “Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator” in Bengaluru
  • More centers to open in the future in Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Noida, Pune, Trivandrum and Vijayawada
  • Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator to provide the following:

Structured mentoring

State-of-the-art technology

Co-working space

Access to Oracle customers and partners

Access to investors

Free credits on Oracle Cloud

For more such case studies and insights, click here to download NASSCOM's flagship report on software products and start-ups.

Design Thinking brought several layers to the functionality of a startup and at the same time this process in a way has been in a constant duel with technology. An ensuing debate about the importance of technology over design and vice versa is prevalent. However, now gladiators from both the arenas are accepting the fact that both support each other. Hence, the answer to the titular question is ‘Yes, design and tech do work hand in hand’. Gladly, design lately has moved up from component level to competency level.



Let’s shed some more light on design and tech working in unison:

Interestingly, everything starts as a technology, and design is the element which further enhances the edibility of a piece of technology. A technology not jeweled by design would end being obsolete and a design without a technological backing wouldn’t have a product to begin with. For instance, printing, typography, photography, web, HTML etc. were born as technologies but their usability was to be determined by providing solution based product development.



Following statements should point us in the right direction:

  • Technology Team needs to meet deadlines.
  • Design Team is better acquainted with the real life scenarios and user empathy.
  • The coefficient of field study is to be balanced by tech and design both.
  • If Design is the Idea, Tech is the execution.
  • Sync between generating an idea and a plausible execution.

The success of a product is connected to two ideologies:

  • Dollar Value
  • Q (Emotional Quotient)


Design and Tech as two distinct departments might be able to achieve either one of the aforementioned objectives. However, the only way to ensure that both the goals are achieved is by bringing these two worlds together. They would still exist independently but if tech is crucial to make profits then design is critical to sustain the market by providing real solutions to real problems on the ground.


This article has been authored by Blogbeats.  


Flurry Analytics’ release of its ‘State of the App Nation in India’ report revives the conversation around Indian consumer’s appetite for apps. As an Indian, I can explicitly say that we as a nation are enthusiastic and experimental, when it comes to apps. We have always been open about social networking, gaming and entertainment apps. As for payments apps, lot of people had their reservations, but demonetisation was the required nudge to bring even the most reluctant to transact online.


As per Flurry Analytics, India app usage growth was 4X that of global growth (India - 43%; global – 11%). That’s a believable figure. App market is witnessing maturity in the western markets, real growth is meant to be driven by Asian countries, particularly India. With the internet traversing the nook and corners of the country (currently 375+ million Internet users), and the rising smartphone penetration (which is still less than 30%), one can imagine the kind of growth that is expected to come.


As per App Annie, in 2016, India had the highest total time spent on Android apps, and the highest downloads from Google Play.

App Market, Google Play

The country is on a growth path – India’s app revenue is expected to witness a 67% CAGR 2015-2020 - highest globally. While messaging and social apps continue to remain the most popular and engaging, higher growths are likely to come from music, media, and entertainment (witnessed 188% growth in usage in 2016) due to the advent of the likes of Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Saavn, and many more. Well, I hardly watch TV, so I can totally vouch for this! The next fastest growing segment as rightly highlighted by Flurry Analytics are the business and finance apps (witnessed 188% growth in usage in 2016).


As for Internet and Telecom, Jio has already revolutionised the data space with offers and freebies. This follows Vodafone-Idea merger, and Airtel acquiring Tikona’s 4G business. This along with government’s NOFN, free wifis, and the emerging concepts of Digital Village will take Internet to the hinterlands of India, further triggering increased usage of apps.


App Economy is briefly touched upon in NASSCOM’s flagship report - 'The IT-BPM Sector in India: Strategic Review 2017'. Refer to the attached file, and to download the full report, click here.


Happy reading!


Next article to follow - Internet Economy in India!


itsr2017 digitalindia appeconomy



Technology has been the key for the phenomenal transformation in marketing. It has made marketing outcomes quantifiable, driving actionable insights.  As a result of widespread internet penetration, digital media has emerged as a marketing medium that organizations cannot ignore. Real-time communication through digital further connects with the audience of today, ensuring a wider reach and seamless experience. No wonder, according to Gartner 2015-16 CMO Spend Survey, a substantial 33% of marketing investments are spent on technology.


Software product companies on their growth journey face an uphill task when it comes to marketing. They tend to focus on very specific audiences and markets, face great competition, and are limited by budgets. Digital marketing can give software companies measurable results, great insights and scale faster. But without a method to the madness, the results and effectiveness can wither away. This is way MarTech comes into the picture.


Marketing Technology or MarTech is the fusion of marketing and technology. It can help companies target potential customers with more personalization, gauge success of campaigns accurately, and gather data to make better marketing decisions and use available budgets more effectively.


MarTech tools can help companies throughout the entire cycle. Your marketing technology stack can be very lean or large depending on the scale of activities, size and needs of your business and the ability to manage them effectively. Here are a few examples of tools that can form your basic marketing stack.


Web Analytics

Web analytics platforms enable companies to track metrics for website vists, apps, campaigns,etc.  helping in analysing the receptivity of the target audience to their websites and apps. This helps companies to introduce the necessary changes in their websites accordingly. Heatmap applications such as Ptengine offer insights on the visual presentation of the website and measure the length of their stay on the website.  User-friendly tools aid organizations, especially start-ups, to host websites without expertise in coding, helping in reducing investments. Affordable website personalisation services benefit small organizations in personalising their websites to enhance brand appeal and ensure wider reach and engagement. The automated features of these SaaS products recommend relevant content that is best suited to their products and the industry that they specialise in.


Email Marketing Platforms

Sending emails individually to employees, target audiences and stakeholders is a tedious task. That’s where automated email tools present a smart marketing solution to organizations. What’s more, these platforms enable companies to even personalise their emails. Automated tools comes with a built-in CRM tool, enabling businesses to automate email campaigns, mobile message blasts to email subscribers.


Content Management

Well thought-out web content is of utmost importance since it is one of the most important factors that create a first impression to the visitors. Content that is in sync with company ethos and specialisation goes a long way in ensuring customer engagement.  Landing pages integrated with Display and search Ads, along with native content like video channel and blog is essential.


Marketing Automation

For B2B companies, which have long complex sales cycles and multiple decision makers, marketing automation is a highly critical tool. one of the critical tools to help you prove your ROI is marketing automation software. Marketing automation holds a lot of promise and when used effectively, marketing automation, along with CRM, can bridge the gap between marketing and sales.


It brings all your marketing activities together and includes analytics, online forms, visistor behaviour tracking, personalizing content, managing email campaigns, lead scoring, automated alerts, etc. It not only helps you to get an eagle eye’s view of your overall marketing performance, but also drill down to specific metrics to optimize the performance of individual marketing activities. Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, Act-on, etc. are examples of some great marketing automation tools.


Monitoring and Listening

If your software product company has a large audience base - this can be potential customers, users, employees – online monitoring tools can help sift through conversations online about your brand, your products, your audience and your competitors. While monitoring tools can help you understand the sentiment for your brand and track what the competition is doing on digital, they can also double up as online research tools which can figure out areas of interest for your audience and help you plan campaigns better.


These tools just contribute to the tip of the iceberg that is MarTech. As you scale up, it’s important to bring in more tools to your marketing stack. And when it comes to MarTech, start early and scale early!

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is organizing NASSCOM Product Conclave  017 on Tuesday, 7th Feb 2017 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.


NASSCOM Product Conclave (NPC) is the platform for Indian software product companies to engage with the community. NPC is a unique event wherein the best and brightest technology leaders, emerging companies and start-ups congregate. NPC North is an opportunity for the companies in the Product ecosystem to create a buzz, showcase their brands and display product excellence.

NPC North is a regional attempt to set the stage for Indian start-ups and emerging companies to access knowledge & support from the ecosystem on building markets, creating high-performance teams and addressing funding concerns.

NPC has a glorious history of over a decade. NPC 2016 held at Bangalore, witnessed 2500+ national and international delegates, interaction with 200+ speakers in over a 100+ sessions, 140+ product showcases, various connect programs, five summits for practitioners and much more excitement over three days.

If you have a great product which can be showcased in front of the market leaders then you should attend #NPCNorth2017. We have listed down three reasons explaining why you should not miss NASSCOM NPC North 2017:


  1. Connect: NPC North provides a platform for product companies where one can engage with the investors and CXOs of user communities (enterprises) for strategic partnerships. Imagine the top-level networking you are going to get from here.

npc north connect.png

  1. Showcase: Product companies who have build a great product will get an opportunity to showcase their product at the event and that too in front of the market leaders, investors and CXO’s etc.

npc north showcase.png

  1. Learn: Along with networking and product showcase, this event does provide a platform where motivational speakers will pump up the adrenaline among the start-ups, high achievers will share their experience and subject matter experts are going to conduct workshops on relevant topics including Sales – Enterprise SaaS, Going International; Content Marketing; Connected Things/Industrial Internet; Funding and Mentoring nitty-gritties.


npc north learn.png

Be ready to immerse yourself in the excitement of networking with experts, investors, founders and mentors. Plunge deep into meaningful conversations with your peers and delight in the experience that constitutes the one and only NASSCOM Product Conclave!

Get more detail here:

Use npcnorth2017 to track all content and discussions around the event.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is organizing NASSCOM Product Conclave 2017 on Tuesday, 7th Feb 2017 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.  This event will bring together the best of 4 workshops with first-“SaaS Products” on day 1, followed by “Designing For User Engagement”, “Product Marketing” & “Selling to South East Asia” on same day with members of Nasscom Board, speaks about the main highlights of this event.



Workshop 1: SaaS Products : Go-to- Market in 180 days

Schedule: 11:00 am, 7th Feb 2017

The term "software as a service" (SaaS) is considered to be part of the nomenclature of cloud computing, along with infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), desktop as a service (DaaS), managed software as a service (MSaaS), mobile backend as a service (MBaaS), and information technology.

With the help of this workshop you will be able to understand SaaS in a better way. SaaS, the real problem-solving power, will help you to face the market in just 180 days.



Workshop 2: Designing for User Engagement

Schedule: 11:00 a.m, 7th Feb 2017

Every UI designer wants to engage their userbase. That’s the whole point of a website or mobile app: to provide something of value that gets visitors excited and interactive. But it’s almost impossible to gauge engagement unless you’re actually watching a user interact with your website. Thankfully, there are clues and metrics that can be used to infer user engagement.

This workshop will cover how these metrics work, and why they imply greater engagement from users.


Workshop 3: Product Marketing

Schedule: 13:45 pm, 7th Feb 2017

The success of every product lies in its customer base and brand value. This workshop will cover how to develop an end to end product marketing strategy for technology products.

This workshop will also breakdown the role of product marketing within a larger product and engineering team. Aimed at beginner and intermediate marketers as well as entrepreneurs looking to develop an end to end strategy to bring their products to market.


Workshop 4: Selling to South East Asia

Schedule: 14:00 pm, 7th Feb 2017

Should you sell other people's goods, sell your own goods, or enable others to do so? These workshop will teach you to how you can expand your product in South East Asia..


Register Now! Limited Seating Available


Get more detail here:


Use npcnorth2017 to track all content and discussions around the event.




Inside the boardroom of NASSCOM headquarters, takes place a serious brainstorming.

Participants - NASSCOM Products Team, NASSCOM Industry Research Team, and Zinnov (our process partner). A total of ~500 companies being screened and scrutinized on more than 30 business and technology parameters. Since I was already working on the Start-up Report - 2016 Edition - it became intriguing for me to draw synergies between our report and the EMERGE 50 Analysis. Some of the key findings are given below:


Tier 1 cities harbor maximum software product companies - tier 2,3 steadily making their visibility

Although Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad occupied more that 70% of the total application pool, companies from tier 2 cities were also becoming noticeable. Jaipur, Indore, Kochi, Coimbatore, Visag, Trivandrum, Amritsar, and Chandigarh - together accounting for 6% of the application pool. With >13 states having already established start-up policy frameworks, this number is bound to rise in the next couple of years.


B2B businesses are becoming prominent in India

65% of the applicants offered B2B solutions. In a country with 1.3 billion customers, with huge scope and opportunities for B2C companies, B2B software product firms are also making their presence felt - most of them catering to both Indian and global clients. B2B product start-ups (as per our start-up report) occupied 1/4th of the total start-up funding and their funding went up by 18-22% YoY.


Big data/analytics, cloud, and enterprise solutions are the most popular, IoT catching up fast

Of the top 50 companies recognized and awarded at the NPC, ~50% of the companies offered analytics solutions. 20% of them offered IoT solutions - in the HealthTech, CleanTech, EnergyTech, and Robotics. Top technologies as per our start-up report would be Big Data/Analytics, Cloud, IoT, ML/AI (~750 start-ups in India).


Product companies are exploring global markets

>80% of the total applicants had some form of global focus, highlighting that global scaling is on the top of their mind, prompting them to create world-class software products.


Finally, I will leave you with the list of the top 10 companies recognized by EMERGE 50 Awards.

Company Name
AVR EdGE Networks Pvt. Ltd.BangaloreHIREalchemyHIREalchemy is an end-to-end AI driven solution for workforce transformation
Cardiac Design LabsBangaloreMIRCaMMIRCaM is a single front line device for advanced cardiac diagnosis with intelligence which provides real time analysis and generates instant alarms on detection of problems informing a doctor ahead of time, thereby enhancing patient care and safety.
Ducere Technologies Pvt. Ltd.HyderabadLechal FootwearLechal is the one of the world’s first interactive haptic footwear - that helps in navigation and monitors fitness
Hansel.ioBangaloreHansel.ioA toolkit for software developers which allows them to fix crashes and dynamically communicate with users
iFuture RoboticsBangaloreArk RobotBuilds technology inspection systems (mobile robots) for small scale manufacturing industries
Indix Internet India Private LimitedChennaiIndix APIIndix Product API provides RESTful, programmatic access to offers and catalog information, and easily integrates with ecommerce platforms, business systems, and product information management systems.
LogicLadder TechnologiesGurgaonEnergyLogicIQEnergyLogicIQ makes energy data simple to acquire, understand and act upon. Using machine learning technology that turns facilities into conscious facilities that learn from and respond to every energy wastage.
Oslabs Technology (India) Pvt. Ltd.MumbaiIndus OSIndus OS is the world's first regional operating system made for smartphones in India & other emerging markets
Razorpay Software Private LimitedBangaloreRazorpay ServicesOffers developer-friendly APIs and hassle-free integration for fast, affordable, and secure way for merchants, schools, ecommerce, and other companies to accept payments online
SirionLabsGurgaonSirionA SaaS platform that helps technology buyers and sellers effectively manage costs and risks associated with complex service agreements


As you can see, Indian software product companies and tech start-ups are beginning to offer sophisticated technologies and platforms, foraying both locally and globally. Do share your thoughts today on how can these companies scale fast and sustainably.

We shared a few insights from our latest report on startups here and here on funding. Given that the report is extensive, here are a few more interesting datapoints from the report that you may find interesting.


First, accelerators/ incubators have seen over 40% YoY growth in 2016. Impetus from government and corporates have made this possible. Around 30 new academic incubators established under the ‘Start-up India Stand-up India’ initiative. Most of the incubators are located in Mumbai, Bangalore and NCR, as are the startups.




Incubators/Accelerators differ in the type of support and mentorship provided. Here is an overview, see more in our startup report.




We will share more insights and simplify the report findings. Stay tuned. We also have a special report coming out in accelerators/ incubators in a month. Get the details of that too on the Community.

Shekhar Kirani, Partner, Accel Partners in conversation with Nishant Rao, Global COO, Freshdesk & Sudheer Koneru, Founder & CEO, Zenoti


SaaS is a rage. It can create “corporate happiness” - helps companies engage better with customers, and ease CEOs’ burden.


Horizontal SaaS can solve challenges across industry verticals and purely from that standpoint, the product has to be phenomenal. The targeted market is huge, so the pain points have to be identified quite accurately. Vertical SaaS is specific to a particular industry, and usually offers end-to-end solutions.


When should one go Horizontal? If the markets are established and one wants to create a major impact, then Horizontal is a good option. It is important to nail a use case, and subsequently develop solutions for other industries (with necessary tweaks) to solve their challenges in a function.


Vertical? It is ideal when one seeks out a certain scale and is passionate about solving a particular industry’s challenges. Or even all of it. Often, deep domain expertise is associated with Vertical SaaS. Once you reach a critical mass in a particular vertical, it might be a good idea to explore horizontally.


Some popular horizontal SaaS products are in the areas of CRM, Employee Engagement, Communities & Collaboration, and Inventory Management among others. To build sophisticated products in these areas the investment required is often large. The initial focus should be to acquire the first 10 customers. Initially, it is prudent to keep a narrow focus and then build scale based on success. If one is able to secure a marquee brand, then so much the better. This will provide the much needed momentum.

For years together, NASSCOM Product Conclave has been the breeding ground for ideas and collaboration, bringing together various stakeholders of the technology product ecosystem. From the last couple of years, NPC has shown a strong focus towards start-ups and innovation. In line with this focus, and the rising interconnectivity with other global ecosystems, one of the sessions at NPC focused around the ‘French Tech Ecosystem and Initiatives’. Being a technology analyst and an ardent follower of the Indian tech start-up landscape, I got intrigued enough to attend the session.

Some of my learnings of the French landscape:Picture3.pngSome of the points to think over:

  • Although India stands 3rd globally in the number of start-ups, we have 140+ incubators/accelerators in India – less than France. Given India’s scale and growth, is this enough?
  • The investments by French govt. is 4.5 times what is promised under India’s Start-up India and Stand-up Policies. Again, is this enough?
  • Maximum applications to French Tech Ticket flowing in from India – could mean many things – Indian entrepreneurs looking for global markets because A) they find it hard to start-up in India or B) they are late entrants in categories which are already mature in India like eCommerce. Whatever the reason, is there a scope and possibility to make Indian start-up environment even more conducive to retain talent and companies, and by conducive I mean technologically, environmentally, and socially?

Our start-up ecosystem is maturing like never before, but we continue to need more impetus and push from various stakeholders of the ecosystem – impetus in the form of funding, structured mentoring, and ease of doing business in India. With the hope that the French start-up ecosystem makes its mark globally and flourishes as one of the key hubs in Europe, I also bring to notice that India can’t become complacent on any front – we should continue being aggressive and take the imperative of becoming the ‘Silicon Valley of the East’. Can we?

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