Olive Data Centre earned long-term business and a lasting friendship by building a complete open source mailing solution for Mahesh Bank.
Quid pro quo. Conventional wisdom tells us; always ask a favor in return for a favor. But Pravin Mohite, CEO, Olive Data Centre, doesn't care for conventional wisdom. The astute businessman that he is, Mohite believes business relationships cannot and shouldn't be transactional. He has a story that many can learn from.
Prior to Olive Data Centre, he spent a decade working in IT for the banking industry with heavy-weights like ICICI. Mohite started Olive IT, an IT services venture part of the 25 year-old Olive group last year. With its rich expertise in open source technologies, the SI, was a trusted choice for many SME banks. A.P. Mahesh Co-operative Urban Bank was going to be another addition.
Popularly known as Mahesh Bank, this SME bank is primarily focused on operations in Andhra Pradesh (Khammam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Rajahmundry, Visakhapatnam, and Warangal). It's a highly technology-driven bank, despite its relatively small size. The bank has its own core banking and mobile banking solutions which are on a secure IT platform. But, it lacked a secure mailing solution. Till about two years back, they were using 50 corporate Gmail licenses that were configured for 450 users. For its internal users, the bank was using a Linux-based mailing platform. Operating two mailing systems in isolation was proving to be a hassle. Also, growing security dictums from RBI mandated it strengthen its security posture.
It started the search for an integrated, secure mailing solution that wouldn't burn a hole in its pocket. Soon, Milind Rajhans, Mahesh Bank's senior manager-IT and CISO, realized this wasn't going to be a walk in the park. At first he turned to the usual and popular options like Microsoft Exchange and IBM's Lotus Notes. Both were excellent products with great features, but ones that came at a not-so-attractive price-point. But Rajhans knew that the need for an effective and secure mailing solution was urgent and business was willing to pay for it despite the budgetary constraints.
Things were about to take a dramatic turn.
Rajhans had a chance encounter with his old-friend Mohite. Both knew each other from Mohite's days in banking. Their conversation--between reminisces of their past gaiety--soon turned to business and IT; a shared passion. Fortunately, for Rajhans, this was the time when he was trying to rebuild the design architecture at Mahesh Bank and was having trouble negotiating a deal with a vendor. As he discussed the situation with Mohite, his old-friend stepped in to offer a helping hand. In the days ahead, Olive Data Centre helped Mahesh Bank negotiate the contract with the vendor. Mohite was successful in bringing down the deal from the initial offer price of Rs 7 crore to Rs 2.5 crore. He did this purely as a favor to a friend: He wasn't expecting anything in return. But, to his surprise, this gesture, not only won him a long-term friendship, but it also garnered a long-term business contract.
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