Spearheading a global vision...

| | 5 min read

In order to identify what to write on in this edition of the newsletter, I interacted with some people in Zyxware. The suggestions, at first glance, appeared varied. But the more I think about it, the more I feel that there is a common thread running through them. The common thread is that of the future of Zyxware as an organisation, its vision and how it plans to get there. I am putting together a response here which are broad answers to the questions. More specificity would require me to take up more space which I am afraid will not be possible in the newsletter. But I would be happy to engage in the comments section.

Let me begin with the question of vision. Zyxware has a two part vision. The first being that of growing into a global IT solutions company. The second to build a platform from which a number of initiatives can be launched towards a just and compassionate society. On the first part, Zyxware has, over the last 8 years, built itself on multiple fronts. It has an operational design for software development, it has built ability to train and develop programmers, it has a talent pool of over 60 people drawn into Zyxware after fairly rigorous selection tests, it has a brand presence on relevant platforms, it has a global presence with representatives in US, UK and Australia. It has steady relationships with many clients with some of the relationships being over 5 years long, a sign of trust they repose in us. In absolute numbers, we have reached a revenue of Rs.1.75 crores in the last financial year. Incidentally, the last year was also when we wiped off the losses on the balance sheet and the first year of profitability since 2006. That is a significant landmark in the life of any company. For the present year, we crossed over Rs.1 crore by the middle of this financial year.

While those are the positives, there are areas where we need to make significant improvements. We need to move at a much faster pace in every area of operation in Zyxware. A clear strategy and competent leadership at various levels are the key to increasing our pace. Over the last few months, we have invested significantly into that.

As I wrote in the last edition, we are focused on building our capabilities in cloud and mobility in the medium term and social and analytics in the longer term. Cloud, mobility, social and analytics are the key to the digital landscape that we are in today. In addition, under the leadership of George, we have initiated our product development journey. The Business Solutions Group will be working on developing a product for the media industry, one of the biggest opportunity spaces for us. We are setting ourselves a period of a year to develop a product. Our target is to have a go to market phase by December 2015.

A major initiative that we are launching is that of continuous improvement in productivity and quality in the operations. We will be relooking at our software development practices. It is an imperative that we improve our productivity levels which hover around 30 percent currently to about 70 percent as quickly as possible. By the time you will be reading this, we would have had the first meeting of the leadership of the software development operations to look at this issue. At the meeting on the 17th, we propose to identify sources of efficiencies like estimations, code reuse, knowledge management and organisation of teams and projects, define processes that would contribute to productivity increases, set targets, and lastly identify process leaders who can own these improvement initiatives in Zyxware. The leaders will be equipped with the necessary resources to successfully pursue these plans.

That brings me to the last issue I want to touch upon. It must be evident to all of you that successful pursuit of the plans above require strong leadership in Zyxware at all levels. The leadership can be both at a personal level and at a team level. As a start, we have initiated a 360 degree feedback process for all positions including and above Team Leads in Zyxware. This will help each individual identify their strengths and areas of improvement. We will be putting in place a leadership development plan for each individual based on this assessment. This is about deepening leadership in Zyxware so that we develop as an organisation where ideas are generated and pursued diligently and relentlessly. That is the hallmark of any great organisation. Zyxware aspires to be just that.

Before I conclude, I must touch upon the second part of the vision also. The second part of the vision has primarily been at the level of an intent and has not received the attention it deserves. Therefore, it would be unfair for me to present a formal Zyxware position on it. However, based on my experience of working in these areas prior to joining Zyxware, I will venture to say this. Social change, the aspiration behind the second part of the vision, is an intensely challenging engagement. It requires deep commitments, expertise and courage of conviction to pursue this seriously. One of the models that has been considered in Zyxware is that of the Tata Trusts. It is a truly inspiring initiative from the Tatas and worthy of emulation. While it is too early to say much more, it can be safely said that the first initiatives in this direction will be primarily based on voluntary effort by employees of Zyxware towards improving governance and expanding freedoms of individuals through Information Technology. The Kerala Health Monitoring System, one of the initiatives of Zyxware in its formative years, is an illustration of such an effort. We invite people who would be willing to contribute to get in touch with me.

Last but not least, we are well and truly into the Christmas season. It is often seen as a season of joy, remembrance and gratitude. It is also a season of concern and love for your neighbour. Merry Christmas.