Continuous innovation and profitability of a Bootstrap technology software company
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Suparna Systems is a self-funded technology company started without venture capital, angel funding or debt financing. The company has an enviable track record in achieving many successful e-governance projects, that is, projects that deploy IT solutions to help government agencies collect data and provide services to the public of efficient and transparent manner, as well as m-governance, a subset of the provision of public services through mobile applications. Resounding successes to date include COVID-19 contact tracing and quarantine monitoring applications, ERP software development and implementation, and online service delivery.
Suparna Systems was founded by CEO Satish Kumar in 2008. The main reason the company has managed to survive the competition from large multinational companies in India and become profitable is due to Kumar’s relentless focus on innovations in providing software applications to government customers.
Being a bootstrapped software company and considering the high cost of compensating software engineers, the core elements of Suparna Systems’ technology stack were written by Kumar himself. Kumar is passionate about introducing new technologies in delivering software services ahead of the competition.
The Quarantine Watch mobile application conceptualized, architectured and developed by Satish Kumar in a record time of 10 days was covered by The New York Times because of its exceptional effectiveness in tracking and monitoring the rates and locations of disease transmission, and because of the speed with which it has developed and delivered it. Kumar also received recognition from the Chief Minister of Karnataka for his outstanding work on mobile contact tracing and quarantine monitoring applications. The mobile and web-based contact tracing applications, which were also conceptualized, architected and developed by him, have been recommended by the government of Indian Ministry of Health for adoption in all states of India. Many states, cities and organizations have since adopted the basic concepts to improve their existing contract tracking systems.
The innovative use of technology has enabled the mobile contact tracing application to locate the primary and secondary contact of a COVID patient within 24 hours, anywhere in the state of Karnataka. Once the contacts were located, the Quarantine Monitoring app created a virtual geofence to monitor quarantine compliance of those exposed for fourteen days. These apps easily switch between online and offline use, making them exceptionally effective even in rural areas where cell coverage is unreliable. This work drew the attention of the World Health Organization, which called it “technological innovation”.
The app has made a real difference in the transmission rates for Karnataka. Tracing an average of 47 people for each patient infected with COVID, compared to the national average of 20, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Just before the COVID-19 crisis, Satish Kumar had developed and implemented enterprise resource planning software at Hubli Electricity Supply Company Limited, one of the leading electricity distribution companies in India. His idea of implementing robotic process implementation (RPA) technologies, rule-based decision systems and the work of building an integrated plan for project execution and communication with staff on the job. This terrain has since been adopted by many public sector agencies beyond power utilities, both at the state and central levels. The change management process followed by Satish Kumar has been much admired by senior IT officials in government, and CIO Review India magazine published an interview with him about it. Satish Kumar built the entire solution using open source technologies, including modules using robotic process implementation (RPA) technologies, rule-based decision systems, and chatbots based on NLP (neurolinguistic programming) to strengthen the addressing capacities of various business processes with different software modules. . His work paved the way for other large organizations to undertake such complex IT transformation projects in the public sector, using artificial intelligence to create tailor-made modules for narrow and focused tasks.
Mr. Kumar has done a commendable job expanding government delivery of online services. His work for the city government of Noida was appreciated from its inception by the city and was one of the city’s first online service implementations on such a scale, providing almost all municipal services and empowering citizens communicate their needs directly. to local government efficiently, in real time. It has brought many firsts to the city, including mobile apps. Leading newspapers like “Navbharat Times” wrote about it and ranked Noida City Online Services above well-known computer centers in Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, etc.
Like any entrepreneur, Satish Kumar has also faced many ups and downs. ERP implementations typically have a failure rate of 75%, which is why government officials were reluctant to outsource such an implementation to a new product developed by a small business. The government agreed to assign the project to their company and to approve the work order on the condition that payment would not come until the completed software was delivered, configured, customized, and tested under real working conditions. These deferred payment terms resulted in a cash flow crunch and existential financial crisis for Suparna Systems in 2016 and 2017. This prompted Satish Kumar to turn to software coding work. This strategy was successful and Suparna Systems returned to profitability.
One of the things that differentiated Suparna Systems from other software companies working in the e-governance space was that it always opted to sell its own products developed directly to customers’ specifications and personalized services upon launch. seeking government contracts, taking the competition head-on. The company has never used third-party vendors, outsourcing the work of large national or multinational IT organizations. This made it possible to build a solid technological core.
Delivering such large and successful projects to public sector clients and building a profitable software business without external funding has given Satish Kumar a rare and rich combination of technological skills, innovation and entrepreneurship. Working with government organizations and state and local agencies has also helped him gain in-depth knowledge of a wide range of liability and privacy-related regulations under which the public sector operates.
Satish Kumar is currently focused on building the next generation of data platforms powered by artificial intelligence. The entrepreneur moves up value chains, from service-based software to cloud-based AI software products, harnessing the power of existing open data sets.