And so say all at Icode. Oliver E. Pais is Chief Operating Officer at Icode. And he could fit into any situation. His tall frame of 6ft 3 (we insist he's taller) could walk him into any basketball team. Let's rule out the Air Force. The cockpit would undergo a perpetual struggle to fit him in. One can't miss that generous smile he samples out ever so often. Oh yes, Photogenic, though he shies away from the lens. Missed asking if he ever took a screen test. His boisterous voice could well fetch him the lead role in a Shakespearean comedy or tragedy, depending on his personal preferences. He's witty; hence the comedy option sounds appropriate for this man for most, if not all seasons and reasons.
Born in the Middle East (his father was in the oil sector for 40-odd years) but studied at Christ College, Bangalore when the computer bug bit him. No, no! We didn't mean the I-Worm.Klez.h or any such dreadful computer virus. So, Oliver dashed off to NIIT and learnt programming. "I just loved it," he says and ever since has fancied technology involving computers. After a short stint at Wipro Systems in 1988 in a marketing capacity, he went to Kuwait in 1989 and an assignment in programming services with International Computers "put me on track", he says. As a programmer analyst he learnt a lot, especially the importance of training programs so as not to remain obsolete. "I soon realized that to stay competitive one has to make these huge investments in time in these training programs," he adds. That's when it dawned on him that he was best suited for operations.
His role at Icode? Simply put as only Oliver can "Anything that doesn't have to do with development has to do with me." And why not development too? "I stay out of development because there's a more competent person handling it," comes the quick reply. There is still the desire to roll up his sleeves and get into any issue especially if it confronts productivity. "Everything is a challenge," says Oliver.
"We are still going through that very tough transition of trying to get there," he explains and when we ask, "Getting there means where?" he elaborates, "Where we want to be is in a market where our products dominate. And we have some fine products. In the segment where we are positioned there aren't many players that offer the kind of features we do." Oliver sees visions of a time to come when their products can run on their own. At the moment however, "we are very protective, how we present it to the market, how we proliferate".
Would Icode grow to be a big company? That's a tricky one and Oliver mulls over the answer. The gist of which is that big Indian companies are what they are because they timed their entry right. He's all admiration for their capabilities and lauds their efforts in putting India on the global map. "Obviously, we would all like to aspire and be like them. The way things have changed over the years it's not necessary to get into reinventing the wheel." And as to whether Icode would ever get there? "Without getting into the micro issues, they way we see ourselves growing I'd think would be to continue to build on our strengths and overcome our weaknesses," he adds.
Icode's inherent strengths lie in the fact that they are innovative and therefore, will continue to produce products. Inevitably, the challenges will come from the markets not just demand and supply complexities. Foresight and internal motivation will be their key resources to deliver. "I think we've got a good mix and match of maturity, technology and this confirms our view that we'll continue to be successful," And thus spoketh Oliver.
It's obvious he loves life. And then of course, he has this penchant for conversation. Believe us, with him there's never a dull moment. If ever Mark Anthony's famous speech needed buoyancy in it's narration to liven up proceedings in the Roman Senate, then a 'twist' from Oliver would give it the required zap.