Sudheer Nair, CEO eresource Infotech Pvt Ltd, started his journey as a helper and turned out to be a successful businessman without having any business background. He then became a Foxpro Programmer and later joined JD Edwards in London as a consultant followed by Planet Optical Disc Ltd in Dubai. In 2006, he established eresource Infotech Pvt Ltd. Nair was supported by Vivek Jingade in starting this firm.
Eresource Infotech Pvt Ltd provides end-to-end solutions that leverage technology-enabling customers to grow their business. Eresource serves many client in India and abroad and as one of the pioneers of Web-based ERP solution. The company has been recently rated by NSIC-CRISIL and awarded SE 3B. This rating has been carried out under the scheme for Rating of Small-Scale Industries, formulated and subsidized by the National Small Industries Corporation Ltd., New Delhi (NSIC). Over the years eresource has been pocketed many prestigious industrial awards. eresource Infotech is the only ERP organization in India, which has been awarded the Udyog Rattan Award along with Business Excellence Award for the year 2008 followed by the Business Leadership Award conferred by Institute of Industrial Development, New Delhi.
Replying to Anil Mascarenhas of IIFL, Sudheer Nair says, "Eresource business model is a collaboration of our industry specific products across three different model, On-the-Premises and On-the-Cloud and Saas Model."
You had humble beginnings. Walk us through your early years and what got you interested in software programming?
I was born in a middle class family with no business background. I lost my father when I was schooling. Life ahead was difficult for us. Responsibility of supporting my family fell on my shoulder at an early age. Although my mother has helped me and my two sisters to complete schooling and pursue further studies, I could not complete my graduation due to financial conditions. I started looking for jobs. And after doing many odd jobs, I landed working with a computer consultant, typing Software Programs. Gradually after typing programs for a Software consultant on a daily basis, I started generating software codes independently for my company. Thereafter, understanding the user’s requirement, designing the requirements, creating tables and databases, coding, compiling the codes, testing application, training and implementation was my routine job. I developed a bunch of software applications, including accounting package called "Quick Accounts" and some others.
My second job was with Afternoon Despatch and Courier, an evening daily in Mumbai. The company had all manual working system. Over the years, I managed to automate most of the systems from advertisement scheduler to Circulation billing. Accounting was integrated with Billing module. I successfully integrated attendance with Payroll and payroll with Accounts.
My third job was with Llyods Finance Ltd, a public listed company where I have developed a completely integrated system on Oracle. Planet Optical Disc FZCO in Dubai was my last job. My job profile included looking overall implementation of ERP. Working on Enterprise solution, you learn a lot. Yes, I did.
I wanted to do things on my own. That inclination forced me to quit the job and return to India. ERP concept was getting its ground in India and I thought of diverting my drive on that path. With the little money that I could save from my Dubai stint, I started Eresource Infotech, a software firm that developed ERP software for mid Sized Companies.
What is the business model of eresource Infotech? What are your offerings and which segment do you cater to?
Eresource Products focus on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), with its Web-based solution. Eresource offers more than 20 industry-specific ERP solutions and each solution with three different editions, namely Eresource ERP Light, eresource ERP Pro, eresource Enterprise. Eresource business model is a collaboration of our industry specific products across three different model, On-the-Premises and On-the-Cloud and Saas Model. All Industry Specific ERP offered by eresource is available out of the box for our customers. eresource addresses the unique core processes of number of Industries. eresource tightly narrows its industry focus to provide targeted support for many micro-level industries.
eresource ERP system currently serves Manufacturing, Printing & Packing, Process Industry, Project Industry and Trading & Distribution.
Who are the people who helped you start your own venture? Do they own stake in the company?
When I started this company in 2006 with handful of programmers, I had Vivek Jingade who was looking after sales and Renuka Somarajan who was managing accounts and payroll then. There were few who stayed back with eresource during its thick and thin and today they are key members of eresource. Vivek is a stake holder. As a loyalty bonus we also offloaded shares to 3 key members in eresource, out of which 1 is heading the Project Division, 1 is heading the Product Division and 1 is heading the R&D division.
Today we have about 150 staff employed with eresource and our target is to build it up to 10,000 employees in the next 10 years.
Tell us some of the major contracts you have bagged? What is the size of these orders?
Product Development took almost three years. Since 2009, we did close to 250 implementation of eresource ERP. Most of our customers are in the SME space with turnover of around 10 crore to 2000 crore. It would be incorrect if I name any contract as a major contract.
What is your current order book and by when do you expect to execute the same? What is your outlook on the orders for the coming years?
Product development took almost 3 years and since then we have been growing 30-40% consistently since last 6 years. Currently we have close to 27 ERP projects under the implementation status and close to 10 orders yet to be initiated. Turnaround time for ERP implementation is 3 to 6 months. We estimate deploying all existing projects by the end of next quarter.
We expect to implement 1000 ERP accounts in the next 3 years. There are many other new projects in the pipeline, which will be revealed in due course.
You also have a special ERP training section. What is the demand-supply gap you see?
Demand for trained ERP professionals are growing day by day and the market is not able to meet the demand due to shortage of trained professionals. Looking at this grave situation eresource introduced a training method that could meet the demand for trained ERP professionals from Indian and overseas ERP market.
eresource academy has developed program dedicated to training users in every aspect of the Integrated ERP software system. Its exclusive ERP training course gives an opportunity to the users of ERP systems and other IT professionals to get acquainted with ERP software. This course caters to the vocational needs of the students and is concurrent with the software engineering and technology syllabus covered by the major universities.
What are the growth drivers for this industry? What are the current trends here?
SaaS ERP will grow for small and mid-market. I predict SaaS integrated modules will grow tremendously for all ERP’s and companies of all sizes. Industry specific ERP as SAAS and Cloud will capture market share in 2013. Saas and Cloud in my opinion would be the two big growth drivers.
Initially we were concentrating mainly on manufacturing sector on SMB segment. Success of our system has opened gates of opportunities on many other verticals such as Pharmaceutical, Construction, Oil and Gas, Trading and Distribution Industry and Food Processing industry etc. Our aim is to help every type of industries in the SMB segment to deploy an effective ERP system that will cater to their need within their limited budget.
Do you also have business outside India?
Middle East is one of the markets we are concentrating on for the time being apart from the local market. We have done many implementations in this region mainly in the UAE. Our immediate plan is to expand our activities in other Gulf countries too.
Would you look at exiting this business if you get a good offer?
Eresource is a product that has been made from scratch by me from little investment and more hard work. Eresource has become an established product in the ERP market with its wide acceptance. Therefore as of today, exiting from this business is not in my mind. Future is always unpredictable for anyone and I will cross the bridge when it comes.
What are the key initiatives you have taken that has changed the company?
Traditionally, the ERP market has been segmented by the size of customers. The vendors targeted large enterprise vendors, midmarket vendors, and small business vendors. It was thought that the same vendors and products couldn’t serve multiple segments, but that notion has been disproved. We have big customers and are also present in the mid-segment space.
Over the years, we introduced best in the class process for Product Development, Project Management and ERP implementation. We designed an Internal Project and Time Management tool, which we named as "e-Parivartan". The goal of e-parivartan is to increase efficiency by making the project development cycle more transparent for all those who are involved in a project. Today I am proud to announce that our success ration in ERP implementation so far had been 94%. I think an effective Project Management tool was the second best initiative of eresource.
What was the biggest challenge in for you? What are some of the important lessons learnt?
Business is always a challenge especially when you are dealing with a complex Indian ERP market. Indian ERP market is a slow-paced one, however, what is significant about Indian market is it is a very firm market. A successfully established product can find an easy way though provided the product maintains its quality and reliability. In any business, challenges are a normal affairs and we don’t underestimate any challenges and counter them in an effective manner.
Give us a revenue break-up from various segments.
India is our target market which will continue to remain so. Besides India we did Implementation in the Middle East, mainly UAE. 50% of our revenue is from the Manufacturing Industry, 20% from the Process Industry, 12% from the Logistics Space, 8 % from the Trading and Distribution, 10% from the Infrastructure Industry.