MD PRABHU S HAS TAKEN ON THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED BY TAKING ON THE LOW MARGIN SEGMENT OF IT SERVICES TO SMES/MSMES YET IN A CANDID TETE-A-TETE WITH 4PS B&M, FEELS HAS ALL IT TAKES TO SUCCEED
 
Cindrel Infotech, quite unlike following the path of providing BPO services and then moving on to providing IT solutions to devloped country clients, has turned the other way to cater to the SME/MSME segments in the country. With developing products to help small businesses understand and analyze basic financial numbers and make timely decisions, Cindrel might just prove to be one of the harbingers of change to transform the SME/MSME businesses in India.

IT solutions is a domain where there are many players ranging from biggies like Infosys to smaller outfits. Amidst so much clutter, how do you differentiate yourself?
We focus on adding value to the Indian SME customers by providing them decision support systems to improve the profitability of their business. Most of the IT players are busy in serving the corporate customers of the world. Our focus is to empower the SME / MSME customers with accurate and timely information in their hands.

When did you start operations and what were the initial challenges?
We started operations a couple of years back. It took us nearly an year and a half to develop a product that the market needed. Today, our flagship product adds a lot of value to many customers in India. The first challenge we faced was in understanding the real needs of the customer and developing a solution that actually works for the customer. The next big challenge that we faced was in getting the SME customers to manage data efficiently and providing them with simple solutions that work.

How has the journey turned out to be so far?
So, far the journey has been fantastic and thrilling . We have customers who vouch for us today. However, looking ahead, there is a long way to go…

You have a solution called eyeTprofit. What is special about this product and what was the rationale behind launching it?
EyeTprofit (EYE THE PROFIT) is a unique product in the market place. It is more of a decision support system that the top management can use to understand their current position and take steps to improvise their business. The speciality of the product is that it coexists with other system(s) (that the customer may have) and aggregate information from these system(s) to empower the management users with accurate and timely information to take decisions. Today, it has support for most of the RDBMS, the ubiquitous Tally application, DBMS like Foxpro, Access etc and even excel sheets. Features like conditional business alerts make our product unique. We noticed that most of the SME customers were struggling with excel sheets to provide useful information to the management. Most often, the information was prone to human errors or was not provided to the management on-time. We realized that most of the SMEs had a latent demand for this kind of a solution.

What are your views on the competition in this sector?
Any sector will invariably have competition. Competition is definitely needed to evolve the market. Having been a pioneer in this segment, we feel we would have an edge over others.

What is your leadership style. How does it work for you?
I believe in a participative leadership style. I give complete freedom to my team and have a open, collaborative culture at office. I consider all my associates as part of the business and we all work as a big family.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.

IIPM B-School Detail
IIPM makes business education truly global
IIPM’s Management Consulting Arm - Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri (IIPM Dean) – ‘Every human being is a diamond’
Arindam Chaudhuri – Everything is not in our hands
Planman Technologies – IT Solutions at your finger tips
Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri's Portfolio - he is at his candid best by Society Magazine

IIPM ranked No 1 B-School in India
domain-b.com : IIPM ranked ahead of IIMs
IIPM: Management Education India
Prof. Rajita Chaudhuri's Website


IIPM Proves Its Mettle Once Again....
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GHOUISE MOHIUDDIN TALKS TO 4PS B&M ABOUT HIS DREAMS TO BECOME THE NEW BEVERAGE KING
 
When was the last time you came across a vending machine that proudly bore the logo of Nestle or even that of Georgia (from the house of Coca-Cola)? Perhaps, recently. But think about this – when was the last time you caught sight of a coffee vending machine whose trademark read Cafe Desire? Hard to recollect, isn’t it? But all that is set to change, with Cafe Desire (a brand of Radiant Consumer Appliances Pvt. Ltd.) determined to change the way vending machines treat consumers. It offers state-of-the-art vending machines and the products too – from tea and coffee to health beverages. And the brand has managed to run quite a distance over a decade. But that doesn’t satisfy Ghouise Mohiuddin, MD of Hyderabad-based Radiant Consumer Appliances Pvt. Ltd., who believes that much work remains to be completed, before Cafe Desire’s competitors really start feeling the heat.

How has the journey for Cafe Desire been so far?
It has been both an interesting and a challenging journey so far. We started with a simple idea that has developed over time. When I started offering hot beverage solutions, I had hoped that it becomes a success – all I needed to do was to empathise with our potential customers, address their wants and solve the problem with some simple offerings. Our business is straight and simple – it’s all about offering hot and cold beverage solutions (primarily tea and coffee) at the work place through our range of vending machines. We realised that there was a huge demand for uninterrupted supply of tea and coffee in many offices. Product quality and superior service is what the employees desired the most. And that was precisely the gap, which we went about filling. Honestly, we thought if we could solve this issue, we had a big market potential to address. We invested all our energies to become the most trusted vendor-company in the country. And looking back at the past few years, I can produly state this the rest is history. Our efforts worked wonders.

Cafe Desire is one of the fastest growing companies, with high customer retention levels, providing unmatched and proven services. But there is no denying that you had to convince the customers that your brand was far more reliable than the Nestles and the Coca-colas of the world in terms of hot and cold beverages. How big was this a challenge?
Honestly, the biggest challenge we faced was to break the mind-set of customers. We had to prove to them that we were superior to the big multinational brands like Nestle, Unilever, Coca-cola’s Georgia and others. Somehow, there was no room for any small new company, because all the corporates and even individuals obviously preferred to invest in some multinational brand. For this, what we did is that we tool trial contracts and proved ourselves first to our potential customers. Only then did we sign a final contract. Yes, it was indeed a risky and a tedious process, but what makes me most happy is that we became successful at the end of the day and started growing an extremely rapid pace.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.

IIPM B-School Detail
IIPM makes business education truly global
IIPM’s Management Consulting Arm - Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri (IIPM Dean) – ‘Every human being is a diamond’
Arindam Chaudhuri – Everything is not in our hands
Planman Technologies – IT Solutions at your finger tips
Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri's Portfolio - he is at his candid best by Society Magazine

IIPM ranked No 1 B-School in India
domain-b.com : IIPM ranked ahead of IIMs
IIPM: Management Education India
Prof. Rajita Chaudhuri's Website


IIPM Proves Its Mettle Once Again....
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PHANI N. RAJ, FOUNDER AND MD, EYANTRA INDUSTRIES IN CONVERSATION WITH 4PS B&M
 
Starting from scratch to merchandising 12,000 products, the journey has been challenging as well exhilarating for him. As he had not chosen a conventional business to enter into, there were no benchmarks or industry standards which he could look up to. Every step was a learning and every initiative was a discovery, says Phani N. Raj, Founder and MD of eYantra Industries as he shares his journey of turning a small idea into one of India’s leading brand merchandising and corporate gifting solutions company. Excerpts:

You claim to be the one-stop shop for ideation, designing and execution. What were the challenges in achieving that?
The biggest challenge was to bring together these three critical aspects on to a common platform. Neither clients nor vendors were used to this one platform business ideology, which we had pioneered in the country. Each of these activities was done by different entities and there was no fusion of thought and action, leading to client unhappiness. We mapped the entire set of activities and designed this unique business model where we bring together a set of creative, planning and execution skills to help clients achieve their business objective, which meant that eYantra had to invest in competent and qualified segment-wise professionals to set up this initiative. We also had to invest in a robust technology framework to implement this plan, which today is recognised as an industry-first initiative.

So, any first mover advantages?
Yes, there were several advantages. I did not have any legacy issue to tackle and had taken a whiteboard approach. This enabled me to script the entire business plan and execute it comfortably. Since eYantra pioneered many initiatives in its segment, therefore the recall for the brand was pretty high.

How has the business arena changed in the last 10 years for your brand?
From multiple vendors to single vendor. From orderbook platform to ideas platform. From FOS (Feet on Street) to online sales. From being seen as a supplier to being seen as a strategic partner. There has been a paradigm shift in the way the business has operated in the last decade. Thanks to the Internet and the technology evolution, the gifting and promotional merchandise business is being innovated in a completely new way. As the first organised player in the industry, we were able to implement technology solutions very early and have become the brand leader in online stores, e-commerce reward stores and for using state-of-the-art technology in retail stores.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of dealing in merchandising industry at present?
The benefits are that the industry is coming of age in India and many students are taking up merchandising as a course discipline. Even more and more companies are now learning the importance of BTL activities, which is at the top of the table in merchandising business. It’s slowly being recognised as the most effective and low cost medium to promote a brand. The disadvantage is the eco system around merchandising is still to develop and the adaptation in the industry is still a small base though it’s growing at a rapid pace.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.

IIPM B-School Detail
IIPM makes business education truly global
IIPM’s Management Consulting Arm - Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri (IIPM Dean) – ‘Every human being is a diamond’
Arindam Chaudhuri – Everything is not in our hands
Planman Technologies – IT Solutions at your finger tips
Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri's Portfolio - he is at his candid best by Society Magazine

IIPM ranked No 1 B-School in India
domain-b.com : IIPM ranked ahead of IIMs
IIPM: Management Education India
Prof. Rajita Chaudhuri's Website


IIPM Proves Its Mettle Once Again....
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ARUN MAHAJAN, MD, STYLE SPA TALKS TO VAREEN RAY & AVNEESH SINGH ABOUT HIS COMPANY’S FUTURE PLANS TO ENTER THE LUXURY & PREMIUM SEGMENT WITH A DIFFERENT BRAND ALTOGETHER
 
This K. K. Birla Group company has already redefined the furniture business in India and is set to make new benchmarks in the near future. Arun Mahajan, the MD of the company reveals to 4Ps B&M that how in a matter of just a few years Style Spa has grown to become one of the largest furniture retailers in the country.

Today Style Spa is the largest furniture retail chain in India. What are the factors that can be attributed behind the success?
Post the end of the JV, we were not too sure whether we wanted to stay in the business in the long. term or not. But about a year ago we decided to make Style Spa into one of the core business of the group (KK Birla group). The factors that led to the success are after sales services, repeat customers, modular furniture, strong back-end operations and of course the quality without which any product will find it difficult to succeed in the market.

With the furniture market in India still largely unorganised and fragmented, what steps have you undertaken to educate customers?
There are a few initiatives that we have taken this year and the most important being our brand campaign, which will be launched this month. This will be our first brand campaign and that too on a pan India basis.

Could you elaborate on your expansion plans?
At present we have 97 stores and we are planning to add another 20 to 25 outlets and have a total of around 120 stores in the next one year. You will be surprised to know that out of these 97 outlets, we own 89 of them. During recession when most of the franchisees could not survive, we thought that it was better to have our own showrooms. We’ve confidence in our own model as this will serve us well in the long run.

What is the target audience you are catering to?
We can’t really say which segment because these segments change from city to city. Even if you see the middle class we can bifurcate middle class in three different parts like upper, middle and lower middle class. We’re still not catering to upper class. I would say that Style Spa is still positioned to the lower end of the upper class and the middle and upper end of the middle class. Then the class changes from city to city like middle class in Delhi would be equivalent to upper class in a tier 3 city. We have not yet got in to the premium class or the luxury class which is the upper end. So in that sense our positioning is very clear.

Do you plan to enter any other segment other than the ones you are currently present in?
Within a year we do plan to enter the luxury segment and the premium segment with a separate brand and we plan to open separate boutiques for that. What I mean by boutique is that we will have separate boutiques according to the product line. For instance, a separate boutique for sofas, a separate boutique for beds, et al. The feel, experience, people and the stores will be different to that of Style Spa. Our format will be like if you are looking for sofa the customer will know that this is the place where I can get my sofa and likewise for other products we plan to have separate boutiques.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.

IIPM B-School Detail
IIPM makes business education truly global
IIPM’s Management Consulting Arm - Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri (IIPM Dean) – ‘Every human being is a diamond’
Arindam Chaudhuri – Everything is not in our hands
Planman Technologies – IT Solutions at your finger tips
Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri's Portfolio - he is at his candid best by Society Magazine

IIPM ranked No 1 B-School in India
domain-b.com : IIPM ranked ahead of IIMs
IIPM: Management Education India
Prof. Rajita Chaudhuri's Website


IIPM Proves Its Mettle Once Again....
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With millions being spent in making movies, brand managers are integrating products into stories thus providing branded entertainment to create brand recall with the emotional connect
 
“As discussed, I guarantee that I will use Brown & Williamson tobacco products in no less than five feature films. It is my understanding that Brown & Williamson will pay a fee of $500,000.00. Hoping to hear from you soon.” The writer of this letter dated April 28, 1983 – written to ‘Bob’, a film promotion associate, to confirm an agreement – was none other than one of the greatest action cinestars of all time, Sylvester Stallone. It is one of most famous instances of product placement and endorsement in motion pictures. However, much earlier in the 1920s, the first ever denunciation of product placement appeared in the weekly periodical Harrison’s Reports that lambasted Red Crown gasoline appearing in the 1919 Fatty Arbuckle comedy The Garage. But the establishment of in-film product placement as a fad happened much later in the 1990s.

Today, in the rapidly changing world of global communications, big brands have gained attractive consumer connect by placing themselves in sync with a motion picture’s real life feel. It was quite evident when Mission Impossible and Independence Day saved the day for Apple in 1996. The Twilight franchise saw actor Robert Pattinson driving a shiny Volvo XC 60 which generated over 4 million hits on Google on searching the terms “Volvo/Twilight/Eclipse”. Globally, there has been an increase in the sales of Volvo since the premier of the first Twilight movie in 2008. Similarly, Tony Stark [Robert Downey Jr.] displays 3D printing technology in Iron Man 2 using Apple Macs, positioning Apple as a highly advanced computing giant enhancing the brand identity.

New PQ Media report finds US branded entertainment spending on consumer events and product placement dipped [only] 1.3% to $24.63 Billion in 2009 and is on track to grow 5.3% in 2010, exceeding most advertising and marketing segments. Patrick Quinn, CEO of PQ Media, told AdAge recently, “It used to be that you’d buy this much commercial time and the networks would throw in these product placements for you. Now, you have agencies whose job is to add brands into scripts, making the real estate of the screen more and more important.” Movie producers are always looking to alternative revenue sources; and placing products in movies serves the purpose of both branding and promotion. The recent Tom Cruise flick Knight and Day portrays the icon on a Ducati closely followed by Benz cars in various death defying action sequences throughout the movie. Brands like Apple, Nike, Starbucks, and Adidas are regulars in Hollywood and spend big bucks on product placements.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.

IIPM B-School Detail
IIPM makes business education truly global
IIPM’s Management Consulting Arm - Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri (IIPM Dean) – ‘Every human being is a diamond’
Arindam Chaudhuri – Everything is not in our hands
Planman Technologies – IT Solutions at your finger tips
Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri's Portfolio - he is at his candid best by Society Magazine

IIPM ranked No 1 B-School in India
domain-b.com : IIPM ranked ahead of IIMs
IIPM: Management Education India
Prof. Rajita Chaudhuri's Website

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John Abraham
John Abraham in an exclusive tête-à-tête with 4Ps B&M talks about his associations and his love for the Capital...
 
Whether it is skin cream for men or white goods, what is that one thing that you look to finalise the list of product endorsements?
I basically look for two things before finalising a product for endorsement. One is the brand positioning and second is the perception of the product in the mind of the consumer. The right perception is about the goodwill in the minds of the consumers. If they are watching the commercial and do not feel good about, it then it is solely for monetary reasons.

That means besides the product attributes, money is also quite important, right?
Well I would say that it is a combination of both. I am very honoured to be a part of the Bollywood and share the same space with great actors and cricketers. But again, I would say that it makes sense to endorse only when you are attached to a particular brand that is growing exponentially.

What is that one thing about Delhi that you like and dislike?
There are a lot of things that I have in my list for Delhi as it is a very lively city. But if I have to pick one, then it has to be surely Delhi girls as girls out here are quite pretty. However, there is nothing in particular that I dislike about the Capital as it one of the best places to be in.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.

IIPM B-School Detail
IIPM makes business education truly global
IIPM’s Management Consulting Arm - Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri (IIPM Dean) – ‘Every human being is a diamond’
Arindam Chaudhuri – Everything is not in our hands
Planman Technologies – IT Solutions at your finger tips
Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri's Portfolio - he is at his candid best by Society Magazine

IIPM ranked No 1 B-School in India
domain-b.com : IIPM ranked ahead of IIMs
IIPM: Management Education India
Prof. Rajita Chaudhuri's Website

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SANJIV BAJAJ, JOINT MANAGING DIRECTOR, BAJAJ CAPITAL

"On the distribution front, guidelines have not brought in a positive response"
 
Life Insurance industry is going to undergo dramatic changes both in the products and the way they are sold following the introduction of new regulations on Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIP’s) with effect from September 1, 2010. Insurance watchdog IRDA has tightened the norms for ULIP’s after winning the battle with the markets regulator SEBI over control over ULIP’s. The new guidelines issued by the Insurance Regulator, IRDA for ULIP’s will cause an impact on the profitability of the insurers and bring down the ULIP sales.

However, these changes are actually for the betterment of the public but come as a mixed bag as the changes made with the intention and statement that they are for the betterment of the policyholders may cost them dear too.

These ULIPs are being positioned as Long Term solutions but some people were misusing the present 3-year norm and hence ULIPs were being sold as Short Term 3 year products. Now with the changes, they are clearly defined in the 5-year plus product category.

Some of the welcome moves are the allowance of a higher sum assured, which means higher protection for policyholders. Stricter guidelines for pension products would ensure lower mis-selling as these products were being mis-sold by some unscrupulous agents. Return guarantees will benefit pension investors who are approaching retirement. But for long term investors, a guaranteed fund, primarily debt, may not make sense and they will get much higher returns if they invest in ULIP with higher equity exposure and can buy an annuity later to get regular income.

Another welcome move is the cap on surrender charges. This puts the onus on the life insurance companies to ensure that their products are pitched as long term solutions, so that the clients who intend to pay the premium for a long term are encouraged to do so. The companies which were earlier allowing a bit of mis-selling in order to rake in lapsation profits may not be able to recover their initial expenses in respect of the lapsed policy now. But will this mean a stop to mis-selling for lapsation profits. Maybe not, as most of these policies are sold by multi level marketing companies and this loophole still exists in traditional policies and they may simply shift to traditional business.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

For More IIPM Info, Visit below mentioned IIPM articles.

IIPM B-School Detail
IIPM makes business education truly global
IIPM’s Management Consulting Arm - Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri (IIPM Dean) – ‘Every human being is a diamond’
Arindam Chaudhuri – Everything is not in our hands
Planman Technologies – IT Solutions at your finger tips
Planman Consulting
Arindam Chaudhuri's Portfolio - he is at his candid best by Society Magazine

IIPM ranked No 1 B-School in India
domain-b.com : IIPM ranked ahead of IIMs
IIPM: Management Education India
Prof. Rajita Chaudhuri's Website

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
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On July 08, 2010, Planman Media hosted a special meet, as a part of its Thought Leadership Summit series, this time covering an industry in flux in contemporary times – insurance. The meet was titled ‘Insurance: The road ahead’ and was held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The tone was set by Rahul Aggarwal, CEO, Optima Insurance Brokers Pvt Ltd, who talked about the growth areas within various categories of general insurance wherein he emphasised upon the fact that health and motor insurance would be the key growth drivers. Mario Perez, Director-Marketing and Sales, Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance traced the evolution of conventional distribution channels and discussed how banks as a channel for distribution of insurance have begun to play a critical role in building the interest and trust factor related to insurance products in India and how the role of bancassurance will become crucial in coming times. A S Narayanan, Head-Bancassurance, Corporate Buisness and Direct marketing, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance threw light on the trends in both the global as well as the Indian insurance industry. He talked at length about the challenges facing the Indian insurance industry; however his main focus was on the regulatory changes which are in the pipeline. According to Narayanan, while the intention of the regulators behind bringing changes is good, it will be beneficial to only a select segment of the consumers and the insurers will not be in a position to serve a greater population base. He said that such regulatory changes will impact the insurance industry in such a way that the basic fundamentals would have to be altered in order to sustain. The final speaker was the VP and Country Head of Royal Sundaram, Prashant Singh, who gave a ray hope by saying that all is not over in the insurance industry. He analysed the insurance sector in the country using various parameters and illustrated the critical factors that will play a big role in the years to come in this industry.