In order to stay relevant, Valuepoint decided to move into the solution business. It was around the same time that Gururaj moved out to head the group company, KnowledgeWorks, and Valuepoint was joined by Ganesh Mahabala. Leaning on his experience at VMware and Sun Microsystems, Mahabala helped Valuepoint create and take advantage of the opportunities in solutions space. Though our topline got affected initially, we took a firm decision to stay the course with services, he says.
Shanbhag admits that it was a heavily dependent on one or two brands and few loyal customers at the time when they were looking to move into the solutions space. Mahabala changed all of that and drove the company into being a solutions consulting organization that was no longer dependent on a few brands.
Though HP remains our forte, we moved from selling what we had to offering solutions based on what the customer wanted. True system integration cant be solution dependent but customer requirement dependent, opines Shanbhag. This commitment to the solutions business paid off in the subsequent years and it was able to transition into a full-fledged solution provider from being a mere box pusher. As markets moved, our leadership styles and the way we address the market also transformed, says Shanbhag.
This journey has not been without its fair share of lessons and learnings. As a first-generation entrepreneur in the IT field, he had to learn on his own as there were no templates to follow. Moment we started the solution business, we faced challenges in the form longer sales cycles and payment cycles that we had not faced in our earlier years, says Shanbhag.
The cost of operations versus returns was another challenge. Shanbhag attributes the longevity and success of Valuepoint not only to the business acumen it possessed but also to the discipline that it maintained. Right at the beginning, we set down a set of basic ground rules that we decided to adhere to, says Shanbhag.
First and foremost was the decision never to evade taxes. We wanted to have all our transactions in white and not encourage cash dealings, he emphasizes. Second, when it came to showing commitment towards the business it put its money where its mouth is. They decided to continuously reinvest in the business year-on-year. We were more interested in building the organization than building personal wealth, says Shanbhag. The third rule was slightly more personal. They vowed not to bring in direct family into the operations of the company. This helped them draw a firm line between family and business. But it was not just these rules that served as guiding principles for Shanbhag. From a young age he was associated with spiritual organizations and social service initiatives. I realized that money is not the only wealth that we can create.
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