Wait Until Dark...
As the sun begins its late evening descent, it changes colors in a myriad of hues before engulfing into one big canopy of black. Frightening thought that, if Bangalore's famed power cuts were to coincide around that time. Thankfully the stars shed some light, even though sparse. And as computer monitors flash the sign "It's now safe to switch off your computer" it's time for 'Home-Sweet-Home'. Some debate whether to relax or unwind. Others just cuddle up with their families sans deadlines and pressure-cooker situations preying on their minds. Gosh! It's been a tough day. "More Coffee?"
And for some others, day begins at night as they take over the reigns while the rest has hit the sack. Enter, the night shift team, full 29 of them, fresh as daisies and raring to go. They aren't here for a game of blackjack, spin roulette wheels or roll dice - just in case you got the impression that Icode turns into a casino at nights. The Americans are just shaking out of their dreams and as Icode product users, may need tech support. Hemanth, Sashi and Srinivas are three team leaders from this 'night-club' who lend technical support as functional consultants to their customers. Not call center type as Sashi explains," We have our indigenously developed products and currently we cater to the American markets. We help solve their problems, answer all their queries and in troubleshooting." Customers using Icode products have access to customer support through two channels - either through a common telephone number or by registering their problem on the website, which is termed as 'incident'. In both cases, the problems are swiftly attended too.
In-depth training is a key factor to tackle the troubleshooting/customer support function. It's an ongoing process but the initial training at the time of joining is for about 2 months. The idea behind this rigorous induction is to make them feel confident in handling customer calls and find solutions. The importance in the blend of technical knowledge and accounting background is illustrated by Sreenivas, who has an accounts background himself, "You need to have both, technical and financial knowledge. One needs to be not only a domain expert but also an accounting guy without which you'll not be able to troubleshoot some of the accounting issues." Icode products are basically e-commerce and accounting software and focused on order processing and order processing again goes back to financials. Hemanth and Sashi too have accounting backgrounds though Hemanth was a programmer before he joined Icode and gained his accounting knowledge in the process. Sashi is also a commerce graduate and went on to complete his post graduation in marketing. They've all been in Icode now for nearly two and half years. And there aren't complaining one bit on loss of sleep.
It isn't easy, you know. They come in at 6.30 in the evening and leave around 4.30 or so, in the morning. Get home; grab a bite, read the morning newspaper and crash. That's their normal routine. But then, having got so used to this cycle Sashi and Sreenivas find it's a problem getting sleep on Saturdays and Sundays nights when they are off duty.
What's 'night-life' like at Icode? Is it fun? Opinions vary. Sashi and Sreenivas have families but Hemanth is unmarried and probably views things from a different platform. "There's the good side and the bad side to it," says Hemanth. The good news is that he gets to avoid the maddening daytime traffic. At the office there's lots of sipping tea or coffee, dinner and plenty of snacks. And of course, there's work to be done, which he quite enjoys. What's the bad side? One grouse would be loss of sleep, perhaps? Or not being able to watch those day/night cricket games? We suspect he wasn't revealing the real thing. Missing all those lovely young girls walking down Brigade Road and perhaps, at the office too. Not to worry lad, your day (or night) will come.
"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Sir Benjamin Franklin said that. But then, he wouldn't know. He wasn't into software.