Ride the cloud

Over the last two months, I have had over 10 people discuss with me their ‘big’ idea in the cloud computing space. Most of these were ideas to make some ‘process’ more efficient with the use of software. From software for logistics to a solution for manufacturing automation in the textile industry, there were several exciting ideas. Like most “new” software product companies, these future entrepreneurs wanted to deliver their solutions on the “cloud”.

They wanted to build a growth company in this category known as SaaS (software-as-a-service) within the cloud computing landscape. I even heard one idea that was in the IaaS (infrastructure as a service) space and almost no one (not even the entrepreneurs who wanted to build SaaS companies) had a clear understanding of what PaaS (Platform-as-a-service) actually is.

Based on these conversations on cloud computing and SaaS, I made a mental note to work on a cover story on SaaS. The media is  filled with articles on the market potential, cost savings for enterprises and several success stories of companies like Zoho and Salesforce.com. To top it, Google even announced their ‘cloud’ operating system, Chrome OS, where you’d access everything (even your own files) through a browser tab. My inkling was that these entrepreneurs were in the right space. And hence we decided to write about “what it takes to build a growth company in the SaaS space?”

Our story even proposes a framework, drawn from our conversations with several experts, to make your venture in this space successful. We spoke to Sameer Guglani and Indus Khaitan of The Morpheus, a hands-on early-stage investing firm that advised and invested in 6 SaaS companies. Samir Kumar of Inventus Capital Partners, investors in InstaHealth, a software company in the healthcare space gave us some insights on this topic. To get an entrepreneur perspective, we had detailed conversations with the founders of InstaHealth, AppPoint, ImpelCRM and Practo.  The end result, we believe, will be very useful to these future entrepreneurs, and professionals currently operating in the SaaS space. We have attempted to delve deep in this topic and in some places it is a little technical. So, feel free to write to us (prem@smartmediagroup.in) in case you’d like to have a chat on this subject.

Speaking of conversations, a recent one I had with a friend was on the type of topics our columnists, Varun Prasad and Kaushik Nadadhur, write about. Well, their columns are meant to be different, thought provoking. Let’s just say a non-business article with a business twist to it! For instance, Varun’s article for this edition, titled “Mid-wicket to mid-life”, is about what cricket can teach us about “life, work and play.” Kaushik’s story revolves around the movie  ‘The Social Network’ where he discusses the agreement between co-founders. After all the technology jargon, these articles will lighten you up a little bit.

Our content mix has always been overweight on technology, human resource, funding, industries and management. One very important angle was being left out. That is money management.  We intend to set that right from this edition. Poornima Kavleker interviewed Natarajan. R, COO and CFO at Helion Advisors, a venture capital firm, and discussed how startups and mid-size companies can maintain a healthy cash flow.

As always, we hope you enjoy reading this edition of The Smart CEO. Here’s wishing you all a great holiday season ahead and a very happy and prosperous new year.