As a little boy, I grew up in the tribal districts of Orissa. Till the age of 8, I was not sent to school, as there were none close to the ramshackle government houses we lived in. Later, when I went to a school in a backward district called Keonjhar, I used to sit with forty odd children on a durry on the floor. Only from the seventh class on, you could sit on a bench. The school had a science lab but no apparatus. We never did any experiment and the roof made of earthen tiles leaked in monsoon and often during rest of the year, sparrow eggs fell on our heads, eliminating the need to look for protein rich shampoo. I am sure the plight of government schools has not changed in all these years and the examples of misery are quite scalable across continents. We think our Vision to make indelible difference to at least some of these schools makes business sense. It will help us attract a kind of employee and in turn, it will help us attract a special kind of customer.
Having settled our Vision, we asked ourselves, what would be the "core values" upon which we will build the enterprise. Flowing from the Mission and the Vision, we settled for six core values. These are:
Reduce Total Cost of Ownership for our customers
Partnership is the cornerstone of our existence
Respect individual contribution but, value Teamwork higher
Create an Organization based on learning, innovation and quality
Enable employees to rise to full potential and reward with wealth creation
Conduct ourselves with the highest sense of integrity
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is going to be a critical mindset. While many people think of it as a hardware concept, it is already well known that hardware often accounts for as low as 3% of IS budgets for Fortune 500 companies. Thus, we want to be able to create an organization that will project a longer term view of the customer's future, reliably predict the TCO for their software and then, using our unique methodology and competency, drive that down significantly. To be able to do that, customers will need to grant us access to their knowledge and functioning. Therein lies the need to present ourselves not as "vendors" or "contractors", but as "partners". The third core value reflects our collective experience of building and running high performance teams. In some places, I have seen how intellectual arrogance of one individual not capable of teamwork can systematically destroy an organization. We do not want any of that. Our other three values are basic to create a high performance, knowledge organization. Given the Mission, the Vision 2005 and the six Core Values, we then set out to define the space in which we will work and the methodology which is going to be a critical differentiation.
In Vizag, during our long hours of intense deliberations, we decided that we would focus on two areas of business. One is what we came to call "Net-enabled Solutions" and the other is "Application Maintenance Services" incidental to the first. Net-enabled solutions fundamentally mean three things: Web based applications, ERP Wraparounds and what are called "Front Office Applications". The first is quite self-evident. The second relates to the entire world of ERPs that have been deployed in the last few years and need to be extended to the emergent realities of an "Internetworked" world. The third category is about applications which are "numerator driven", as against "denominator driven". Numerator driven applications bring in customers and increase sales. Denominator driven applications improve internal efficiency and reduce costs.