Srijan featured in Linux for You Magazine


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Srijan was featured in India's most famous Linux magazine - Linux For You. Srijan was featured in the Case Studies section.

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Srijan featured in Linux for You Magazine

  1. 1. For U & Me  |  Case Study _________________________________________________________________________________________Open Sourcethe New Mantra forBusiness Innovation Delhi-based Srijan Technologies has been successfully innovating and experimenting with business models to emerge as a true icon in the open source arena. “I can get better,” is what Messi’s story is about the victory of skill Barcelona superstar Lionel and will over hardship. The story of Delhi- Messi had to say after based Srijan Technologies, an IT company his masterful four-goal working on Drupal, TYPO3, and Django, runs performance against Arsenal in the Champions along similar lines. After a pitched battle against League 2010 quarter-final. Born with a growth mindsets, a talent crunch and strong proprietary disorder, no team was prepared to back the rare competitors, Srijan has emerged triumphant condition that plagued Messi. But his fate soon with a successful open source business model. led him to Barcelona and there has been no Growing at roughly 15 per cent today, Srijan looking back since. has achieved revenues of nearly Rs 2 crores.24  |  JUNE 2010 | LINUX For YoU |
  2. 2. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Case Study  |  For U & MeAnd like Messi, the firm plans to Switzerland, Thailand, Singapore, USAimprove by raising growth targets to and India. Some early customers include30-40 per cent and profit margins to IDRC, BAHAG AG (Germany), TU20-22 per cent. Alongside, the company Delft (Delft University of Technology,has evolved beyond the outsourcing The Netherlands), etc.model, with as much as 40 per cent of But what was the business modelits business coming from India. around outsourcing? Srijan made “There is a huge misconception money by grabbing parts of projects—that open source is not profitable. We at primarily in module development—Srijan have shattered that myth. Open from customers in Germany and thesource offers world-class technology Netherlands.products that are free and allow the Customers, mostly developmentvendor to custom build modules to map shops, outsourced their work to Srijan,customers’ business processes. This gives in order to be able to focus on their coreeven small companies (and individuals) competency, gain time-to-market bysuch as Srijan, from the developing buying rather than building whereverworld, an ‘equal opportunity’ to stand tall possible, reduce cost, and increasewith their western counterparts and offer operational efficiency. “We beganworld-class solutions. with providing outsourcing solutions “To customers, this means access on custom Web-based PHP and ASPto world-class technology at affordable applications during the start of ourrates. What you build over, gives business. Later, we worked on websites,you a distinct advantage that makes enterprise-applications and Webyou relevant for corporation or other applications using frameworks based oncommercial enterprises, giving immense PHP, Python, and Ruby,” says Bhat.scope to create a profitable business But the path wasn’t easy. Likemodel. Our ability to design solutions any other struggling start-up,on open source platforms to resolve getting the first deal was far from acomplex communication problems of our cakewalk. References from within theclients, gave us this edge. And the result industry, word of mouth publicity andis escalating RoI on our open source participation in global events got theofferings,” says Vikram Bhat, head, sales firm its initial recognition. The teamand marketing, Srijan Technologies. saw tough times like shoestring budget travel (including staying in YouthFirst tryst with open source Hostel dormitories) to Europe to win theSrijan was started in 1999 as a first international clients.partnership venture, and was then turned “When we began, the strategyinto a proprietorship. In 2001-2002, was not to sell open source solutions.founder Rahul Dewan, a first generation Around December 2003, throughentrepreneur, decided to focus on sponsorship from the World Bank (dueideas around ‘doing things better’ in to our association with an incubationthe technology realm. This led to the company) we got a chance to havediscovery of open source in 2002-03. a small stall at the ICT4D event in “The initial solutions we sold Geneva, Switzerland. Representativeswere small outsourcing projects from IDRC, New Delhi, were lookingbased on open source platforms. We for vendors based in New Delhi tobegan working on TYPO3 projects work on their website using Postnuke,and then moved on to other platforms an open source CMS. They wanted tolike Drupal, Ruby on Rails, Magento shift from their current Canada-basedand Django to solve mission critical vendors to a New Delhi vendor forbusiness problems,” says Bhat. better management. We replicated The firm has, to date, worked their whole site in Postnuke free ofon such outsourcing projects for cost to prove that open source contentend customers in Australia, Austria, management systems was somethingBelgium, Canada, Denmark, France, we could handle, and we got theGermany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, project. That was our first tryst with | LINUX For YoU | JUNE 2010 | 25
  3. 3. For U & Me  |  Case Study _________________________________________________________________________________________________open source, and the world of content management systems problems, it still faces macro environment challenges. “Talent(CMS),” narrates Dewan, describing the chance events that is a huge challenge today. Skilled talent is available, but at aled to Srijan’s adoption of open source software. very high cost, making it unaffordable for a growing company “Thrilled with this open world, in April 2004, while like ours. To solve this, we are venturing into Tier 2 and 3 citiesresearching on other open source CMSs, we found www. to acquire talent at lower rates and internally train people., and were amazed by its feature list, which was plan to start a satellite office in Srinagar is in alignment with thisfree and out-of-the-box. We put a developer to the task goal. We hope to create Srijan hubs at a number of small cities toof researching TYPO3, and started to talk about it on our grow and also overcome the talent challenge,” says Within 30 days, a huge corporation in Germany Very early on, Srijan recognised that ‘people’ make thefound us, and awarded us our first PHP project. Then came a difference in a service-based business model. Thus, the successflurry of TYPO3 projects, and those were the defining days for of the company had to be shared and has been instrumental toSrijan. We started growing, on the foundation of open source its business growth and achievements. “At Srijan, we maintainsoftware, and reinvented ourselves.” financial transparency with all our employees. The health of Alongside, there were many ups and downs for Srijan. the company, the value of contracts, salaries of employeesBuilding a name in the competitive outsourcing market was (including the CEO) is open for everyone to access. It isdifficult. “To be honest, we messed up many projects. Slowly we actively shared during Saturday ‘knowledge sharing sessions’.gained competence in what we were doing. Matching European This has helped Srijan’s business as we have been able to attractquality standards was very difficult. We continued to learn and and retain highly driven and entrepreneurial people—who areburn our fingers. But soon we had a good enough portfolio of critical for a start-up like ours,” says Bhat.many ‘well done’ projects and ‘happy customers’, willing to giveus repeat business and even further references,” says Bhat. Plans for the future Perseverance and hard work is what made this young Srijan hopes to diversify further and look at mergers to keepfirm’s business model a winner. its business flying high. “We shall diversify in the future. We are already making a significant ESOP offering. We are alsoSupport seller working on a hosting solution of integrated service offerings But with time, technology began to outpace the team, to our growing Indian customer base. We are at an advancedresulting in the need for a fresh look at its business model. stage of developing this and hope to launch the solution “An outsourcing model alone wasn’t enough. We needed three months down the line. Alongside, we are looking forto grow and provide more than just handling backend companies (of our size or smaller) to merge with us to bringactivities,” confesses Bhat. Thus, Srijan adopted a ‘support more economies of scale and share good people, resulting inseller’ model wherein it derived revenue from consulting, mutual growth for everyone involved,” says Bhat.custom development, and post-sales support instead of The firm also hopes to evolve new business strategies,traditional software licensing fees. like a combination of the rental model (pay as per use/SaaS) “We provide a lot of value addition around content and dual licensing models. “For our hosting solution, we planmanagement systems like Drupal, Django and TYPO3. Srijan an indirect revenue model, where the core product is free-of-recognised early the need to offer integrated business analysis, cost but an enterprise version with support and adds-ons isinformation architecture and UI design services under one available on a pay-by-service model -- also called a SaaS/roof for strategising, conceptualising, and designing large rental model,” says Bhat.applications and portals. We thus partnered with Itu Chaudhuri By constantly working on its business strategies, SrijanDesign and Dolka Innovations— both broad-based design Technologies will continue to chart an independent course inagencies. This led Srijan to winning the contract for large the open source world.magazine portals such as, which isbuilt on Drupal,” says Bhat. The client list currently includesbigwigs like Centre for Science and Environment, The World By: Vanisha JosephBank, Bharti, Open Media Network, etc. The author loves to experiment and writing for LINUX For You is her latest experiment. So, beware! Just a minute, she also Yet, business challenges remain. Though the firm has happens to be a journalist during the day.overcome the initial mindset issue and a number of teething26  |  JUNE 2010 | LINUX For YoU |