By Shuchi Nijhawan , Head, Global HR-Eka Software Solutions
Founded in 2004, Eka Software Solutions is a provider of commodity trade and risk management software for global commodity markets with presence in U.S., UK, Australia and India. The Bangalore based company has received $10 million from the G Premjee Group and Nexus Venture Partners.
There is no doubt that the Indian software industry has grown significantly in the last two decades: India is now recognized as one of the dominant players in the global market. The Indian software industry is largely identified with software services companies that have set a high benchmark in terms of delivery and process functions. This focus on services has somewhat relegated product development to the background. The last decade, however, has seen a five-fold growth in the number of product companies emerging from India.
Small product companies have the advantage of progressing consistently even during an economic crisis, as they have reasonable business targets and do not usually have large overheads/extra employees in a bench pool making the smaller company well positioned for the future. A small product company finds its niche in a rapidly growing segment. Several such companies have emerged of late and are driving India’s talent in the global competitive arena. Working in a small company is a different high of sorts and there are various reasons why the Indian youth’s mindset is slowly warming to working for them.
One of the major most differences between a services company and a small product company is the work culture. The Work Culture at a product company is more aggressive, free and open, where the organization facilitates it’s employees in building a career. For people from the services sector, it may be difficult to cope up sometimes, given the rapid pace and mode in which such a company works. Moreover, such organizations often expect you to push your own boundaries, and for a lot of folks this is not an easy switch to make, given that the resident culture at a lot of service organizations develops their comfort zones. In order to develop new technology and products, it is imperative that people work in a collaborative mode and in a small company, communication throughout various levels is free, constant and challenging. Less hierarchy and seamless organization structure are also a common fixture of the work culture at small product organizations making it easier for even junior employees to attain higher visibility amongst a smaller set of peers.
Compared to large companies, startups have a number of innovation advantages that enable them to more readily identify opportunities, react to dynamic conditions and customer needs, to remain competitive in the market place. Product companies work towards building new technologies and products- they thrive on innovation and prod you to innovate and create, while the services company expects people to execute. Hence, the chances of a higher learning curve with a product company are bright. Especially for technology geeks, product companies are the best way to learn technology, because they get to work right from inception of product to product development stage and are aware of their end users, where the product is implemented. Service companies mostly operate in client ecosystems more from service, maintenance and support stand point. Most entrepreneurs in the technology space have been reared by such small product companies, because such companies prepare for thinking out of the box, and constantly innovating to reach higher goals.
Over a period of time, jobs that have a low value addition and can be easily automated, should and will disappear. This would imply that the jobs currently created by the services sector will get dried during the long run. However, in a small product company, opportunities for young and energetic talent will be constantly on the rise, as they bring in creative innovation and zeal to boost their career growth. Another important aspect of working with a product company is that, they help an individual build subject matter expertise as the commitment to complete individual projects or products is focused on qualitative deliverables. Prospects of promotion and job satisfaction are also far higher where the individual gets to see his/her ideas being implemented.
In general, small product companies compensate better in the market, because they employ ‘focused talent’ and often hire for subject matter expertise. The pay is always above the market standards because they do not consider the employees in a herd, rather consider each one as a very important cog in a wheel. Also, monetary and non- monetary rewards are more instant, and not merely procedural. Appreciation is always “here-and-now” and does not have to wait for long procedures of reward/ appraisal cycles. Small Product companies are also known to reward employees with ESOPs and make sure that they are not just employees but partners in success as well.
Startups are interesting; startups have the potential to change the world. Be it Apple, Instagram, Google, Facebook, all these companies have started small and grown to become huge global entities, with the power to change the lives of millions. Sure, a stint with a corporate would pay more than a startup and come with perks, but there are real, career-defining reasons to join a startup. They require specialized people who can play multiple roles and gain experience in various areas of expertise, giving them an opportunity to develop multiple skills, help them build a competitive business advantage and of course, an impressive resume. In a startup, you share bonds with people that go far beyond the work arena. Your colleagues become your friends, working towards a common goal and sharing rewards.
You will also learn from true innovators. People who start their own business have a different mental and professional mindset. Entrepreneurs are defined by seeing a problem and thinking of an innovative and original way of addressing it. Because of this innovative nature, entrepreneurs are some of the best people to learn from. They approach problems differently, are constantly finding solutions, and are driven to make the most out of their time and work. No matter where you go after your stint at a startup, the experience will prove to be invaluable and will power everything that you do in future. Working for a startup can be the most adrenaline packed experience of your life- the sky’s the limit! Who knows, you might be on your way to create the next big thing in information technology.