“Deskera Brings a New Interface for CIOs”
In a freewheeling discussion with BW CIOWorld, Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera, throws light on how he is increasing the use of CRM on phones.
Tell us more about Deskera. How do you differentiate from the likes of Salesforce? Deskera is a classic SaaS story. We have built (ERP, CRM, HRMS, PM) the whole enterprise application suite that an SME uses in our part of the world. SMEs in India look to buy a solution that runs the entire business. It should do payroll, invoicing, inventory and everything else. In the US, on the other hand, you have specialized vendors for B2B applications. So you have a CRM for Salesforce, a Workday for HR, and Basecamp for Project Management. However, Salesforce is expensive and at the same time does not solve all the problems. One of our main selling proposition is compliance. Today SMEs go through us to file their GST and we help them by way of an ERP. This is something which other competitors like Salesforce can’t do. After tasting success in Singapore, you are now turning towards India. How are you planning to expand the market here? We are an Indian player. We have got the “Make in India top 50 brand” from one of the IT magazines of the country. We have been selling in India for a while now. We have launched six offices in India. We are doing a very big event with chartered accountants today in India. We have just launched a plan in India that helps SMES get finance from banks. One of the driving factors for us in India is that we are helping SMEs get more access to finance. How much do you charge an SME for your products? Our pricing is very simple. We charge on a per user basis. There is no installation fee. There is no set-up fee. It is approximately Rs 5000-6000 per user per year. How is cloud shaping your business? The world is moving towards cloud -- a technology that can be used without a desktop. You can access applications it from your phone and on the go without having to invest in a server or desktop in your office. For instance, if there is a power failure you cannot access the data. Such problems can be solved by our cloud-based technology. People put critical data on cloud. How do you allay their fears with respect to security? This question comes up frequently. There are two parts to it. It’s not that the data sitting with an SME is more secure. The desktop in your office is probably less secure than a cloud system. If the data sits with us then it is an obligation on us to make sure that the data is secure. In ASEAN we work with typical ISPs. So, the biggest ISP in Singapore is our partner and we store all our back-end and our back-end is secured by the ISP’s T1 line. Our system is as secure at the banks. We have a two factor security, a token, we have an SSL on the browser side and our biggest strength is disaster recovery. So if something goes wrong we have multiple nodes and we work with multiple data centers and ensure that systems don’t go down. For instance Singapore is very onerous when it comes to obligations towards data. We have 6-7 data centers here just making sure that that if one fails or if there is a hit on data then there is a disaster recovery and then we just shut it down. Have you showcased your product to any of the CIOs in India? What has been their feedback? Yes, we have. We have a few CIOs using it and the feedback has been terrific. It is a platform that CIOs can use out of the box. The biggest challenge CIOs in India face is that of legacy infrastructure. It is time they introduced new ideas like mobile. So we suggest to CIOs to use phones instead of imposing desktop or laptop to employees. One of the largest players that we are working with is using our CRM on phone. This is a player from the healthcare vertical and have their Medical Representatives selling their medical products. The idea is to use the CRM application on phone, which makes it much more flexible than a desktop. Deskera brings a new interface for the CIOs with a jazzy look and feel that increases adoption.