Part III – How Hashbrown Systems negotiated the twists and turns of the remarkable Indian Market
To read Part II click here
This is the last part of the series that draws lessons from the business journey of Hashbrown Systems. This is from our personal experiences and is not an exhaustive account of domestic Indian market, which can mean different to different teams, just like India herself.
The parable of the shoe salesmen
There is this popular marketing story that goes like this, two shoe salesmen representing two separate footwear brands travelled to a distant third world country to assess the market for potential. Upon noticing that no one wore shoes in the country, the first salesman concluded that it would be unprofitable to set up a distribution center, while the second salesman concluded that the market presented unparalleled potential and there was no competitor in sight.
This is a good tale to being a TED talk but this is a simplistic and naïve way to judge potential of such markets, and no serious shoe company would decide investment by such arguments. Market potential can only be judged by addressing the market. Everything else is smoke in the air. We did it by way of ‘Sustainable Innovation’, we phrase that shall continuously encounter at Hashbrown Systems where we have our own definition of Sustainable Innovation.
At Hashbrown Systems, we have feet on the ground and we have achieved market success in three major market segments viz. Out of Home Advertising, Institutional Sales, Location Intelligence and Financial Analytics. Over the next few weeks, we shall discuss each of them, products that we fashioned out of elements and services that we provide but for now let’s focus on the domestic sector.
The Deficient Market
The first part of the series discussed the inflated numbers and the hype surrounding the Indian IT and Software market. Other than institutional buyers, who prefer institutional software vendors, the market is painfully limited if you are serving Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and similar-scale organizations.
The market assessment at macro level does not reflect the on-ground reality and if your organization is not actively exporting to fairer markets, you are fishing in an empty pond.
The second part addressed the many micro challenges faced by IT and software service providers. For the most part we threw the customer under the bus but if we follow the path less taken where your software engineering team works constantly with your customer in an effort to not only build a software system but also understand the underlying market.
Innovation through communication
We at Hashbrown Systems might come off as the humble sorts when we say that we do not build disruptive technologies or we are not a company that changes the y axis of the growth curve. We create successful business solution by constantly communicating with the customer.
When we say customer, we mean almost every person who is involved in the operations. The key point is that the potential of Indian market however is still true.
As the consumption grows, turnovers grow, so shall grow the cost of doing business and that is exactly where Information Technology comes to the rescue. Do not overestimate the market, the corollary is also true; do not underestimate the market either.
Make your customer see the light…. and see the light yourself
The bit about potential of Indian domestic IT sector, howsoever flawed, is true. Realizing the potential is the hurdle we all have to cross and that is a low margin, high cost hurdle but if you are willing to cross it, you shall discover untapped market. We do not believe in hyperbole, so we will not say, that possibilities are endless, but possibilities exist.
Hashbrown Systems sits in the middle, where we cannot alter market dynamics but there is scope to change things within the market or the market segment itself. The market we operate in is growing as macroeconomics and adaption of IT services increases. The fluidity of the sector makes in interesting but extremely difficult to grasp the flow.