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Cover Story

Special Columns
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
K.K.Srivastava Guest Column
K.K.Srivastava
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‘CINDREL’LA MAN OF SMALL BUSINESSES
MD PRABHU S HAS TAKEN ON THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED BY TAKING ON THE LOW MARGIN SEGMENT OF IT SERVICES TO SMES/MSMES YET IN A CANDID TETE-A-TETE WITH 4PS B&M, FEELS HAS ALL IT TAKES TO SUCCEED
 
Cindrel Infotech, quite unlike following the path of providing BPO services and then moving on to providing IT solutions to devloped country clients, has turned the other way to cater to the SME/MSME segments in the country. With developing products to help small businesses understand and analyze basic financial numbers and make timely decisions, Cindrel might just prove to be one of the harbingers of change to transform the SME/MSME businesses in India.

IT solutions is a domain where there are many players ranging from biggies like Infosys to smaller outfits. Amidst so much clutter, how do you differentiate yourself?
We focus on adding value to the Indian SME customers by providing them decision support systems to improve the profitability of their business. Most of the IT players are busy in serving the corporate customers of the world. Our focus is to empower the SME / MSME customers with accurate and timely information in their hands.

When did you start operations and what were the initial challenges?
We started operations a couple of years back. It took us nearly an year and a half to develop a product that the market needed. Today, our flagship product adds a lot of value to many customers in India. The first challenge we faced was in understanding the real needs of the customer and developing a solution that actually works for the customer. The next big challenge that we faced was in getting the SME customers to manage data efficiently and providing them with simple solutions that work.

How has the journey turned out to be so far?
So, far the journey has been fantastic and thrilling . We have customers who vouch for us today. However, looking ahead, there is a long way to go…

You have a solution called eyeTprofit. What is special about this product and what was the rationale behind launching it?
EyeTprofit (EYE THE PROFIT) is a unique product in the market place. It is more of a decision support system that the top management can use to understand their current position and take steps to improvise their business. The speciality of the product is that it coexists with other system(s) (that the customer may have) and aggregate information from these system(s) to empower the management users with accurate and timely information to take decisions. Today, it has support for most of the RDBMS, the ubiquitous Tally application, DBMS like Foxpro, Access etc and even excel sheets. Features like conditional business alerts make our product unique. We noticed that most of the SME customers were struggling with excel sheets to provide useful information to the management. Most often, the information was prone to human errors or was not provided to the management on-time. We realized that most of the SMEs had a latent demand for this kind of a solution.

What are your views on the competition in this sector?
Any sector will invariably have competition. Competition is definitely needed to evolve the market. Having been a pioneer in this segment, we feel we would have an edge over others.

What is your leadership style. How does it work for you?
I believe in a participative leadership style. I give complete freedom to my team and have a open, collaborative culture at office. I consider all my associates as part of the business and we all work as a big family.

How do you cope up with the challenges faced in a competitive environment?
When we are confident of adding value to customers, the question of competition does not arise. In this context, we haven’t still got exposed to a competitive environment yet.

 
Would you like to share any anecdotes from your learning of business in the industry?
I would like to narrate an incident which occurred recently. When we approached a firm for selling our product, the IT manager politely declined stating that “I am unable to provide all reports that the management needs”. Although we were initially setback, we persisted and somehow managed to get an appointment with the MD. When we asked him, “What information do you get today? And what do you don’t get today?”. We were taken aback when he replied – “I don’t even know the company’s turnover! The Accounts department gives one figure while the sales and IT gives another’. That’s when we realized the true state of the top management. Overall, the company is making profit, but certain brands/regions/area are not profitable and they are not noticing it because of data. Even though it may be strategic, they need to have control over that which can be monitored using our product/solution.

What is it according to you that takes to make a great brand?
When customers see value in the solutions offered, the brand gets established automatically. However, a great brand should have an well-established ecosystem of partners who can provide quality and timely service.

From a business point of view, what is your ultimate objective?
My ultimate objective is to provide game-changing solutions that can enhance the turnover and profits of Indian SME businesses.

What do you think is the best way you could market your brand?
We approach the market through consultative selling. We believe that our customers are our best marketers.

How would you describe your and your company’s success story?
Success is a journey, not a destination. We are so far happy with the progress made. And we are confident of seeing more successes in our way.

How do you manage your personal and family priorities?
My first family is Cindrel. I am enjoying each and every moment I spend for Cindrel and I am sure it will take care of my other family.
          
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