Another milestone: From college labs to being a multinational

February 2, 2008

This is yet another milestone for the entire team here at Uraan Software Solutions. We’ve finally registered our firm in Germany by the name Coeus Solutions GmbH in Munich and have set up an office too. We will soon be hiring our first German team members within the next few weeks.

So from our college labs to being a multinational (within four years), we have come a long way, though there is still a long way to go. We’ve seen ups and downs; easy clients, difficult clients; made lots of new friends, lost some of the best friends;and saw good times,bad times (though more good times than bad times). During all this time, one thing has stayed consistent – our commitment to our clients. Whether there was a scope creep, or a technically difficult problem which took more hours than we anticipated, we always thought about our clients before our own profits and that has helped us win over the trust of over 50 clients for whom are the backbone of their software development requirements. We’ve helped our clients save hundred of thousands of euros and thousands of man-hours, and have helped our clients slash their launch time by weeks if not months. We’ve taken badly designed, maintained, implemented code bases, and transformed them into well-structured, well-documented, scalable architectures so that our clients can be competitive in their industries.

Other than our clients, our engineers have a great part to play in this success as well. We’ve had engineers working nights in our office to meet, er “beat”, deadlines; handle ever changing client requirements without changing the deadline and putting up super human efforts when going got tough. Kudos to all of these. We could definitely not do this without the strong team that we have.

Lastly, it definitely feels good to be a multinational and we are working aggressively to raise the bar for ourselves even further.


Facebook and opensocial applications

January 22, 2008

A while back we wrote about the technologies that we were using ranging from Flex to Facebook and Opensocial applications. Facebook in particular has been getting a lot of attention (probably they deserve all of it), and in a latest set of rumors, Nokia might also (apart from Microsoft and other investors) be investing in them. This is all very exciting for the “web 2.0” industry in general. So how have we kept pace?

From August to January, we have so far developed over six Facebook applications. One of the applications has nearly 120,000 users and growing fast. Due to NDA restrictions we cannot post links to the applications here, however, we do want to say that in our experience Facebook is one of the easiest platform to push new applications. Financially, some people have speculated that each Facebook user may be at least $1.4 a piece, while we do not really agree with the number, we can say for sure that developing a good Facebook application is not a bad investment.

If you want to find out more about Facebook and/or opensocial application development, please contact us here.

Q4-07 and outlook for Q1-08

January 16, 2008

We continued our growth this quarter. In the last quarter we predicted a 35% growth in revenue and 30% growth in head count. We beat our own financial expectation by achieving over 50% of growth quarter-to-quarter on revenue. In terms of head count, we grew at almost 25%. We also handed over new portals to our clients which are set to be launched this quarter (Q1-08).

In Q1-08, there is more exciting growth coming up. We are soon going to make some exciting announcements regarding our European operations. We are set to meet our revenue growth targets (of at least 40% growth). We are also looking at securing some of the big enterprise clients in EU (including some Fortune 500 companies). Again, these updates will be posted at the end of Q1-08.

Q3-07 and outlook for Q4-07

October 6, 2007

This quater has been steadier than past quarters. We’ve had steady growth in revenue as well as in head count. The growth hasn’t been as spectacular as past few quarters, but we have successfully completed a few large scale projects, handed them over to the customers and have started quite a few new big ones. We’ve also acquired customers in both US and German markets and this means our outlook for Q4 is more positive than ever before. We are set to grow more than 30% in terms of head count and almost 35% in revenue.

On the technical front, we’re developing a few test appliations in SilverLight as soon as it was released. Though it’s not as powerful as Adobe Flash right now, in terms of its animaion capabilities but we are confident to serve some niche customer-requirements with our Silerlight development skills.

We are also starting a very interesting journey into usng Rails as a platform for industrial automation applications. This may be quite interesting as it hasn’t really be tried before. We will keep our readers posted on this.

All in all, the up coming quarter looks more exciting than the previous quarters. We will be back with updates in January 08!

Another milestone … Perimeterlogics deployment

August 28, 2007

Our previous post talked about our innovations in the web 2.0 arena. Apart from the “cutting-edge” web 2.0 projects, we’ve been working on the regular hard-core technology projects. It’s important to talk about these, because we feel that with all this hype around web 2.0 and web application development, people seem to have forgotten the good old days of desktop/system application development. We feel that things like memory leaks, system compatibility issues etc have been replaced by browser compatibility issues, CSS issues etc.

Anyway, the Perimeter Guard System has successfully been deployed in a few location one of which is a car dealership in Arizona. Here are some of the pictures of the system in action. Ignore the wiring mess-up this was cleaned up later. There are a total of 34 cameras along with motion detectors and alarms configured. Software allows support for managing guards. Another system we’ve used in this “Tour guard management”, this is based in RFID and allows to track guard movement and incident reporting. Guards can view live video streams and incident reports on their PDAs which are accessed through a secured wireless WAN in the area. Also incident reports can be configured to call a predefined number automatically. The entire system is very flexible and we are going to do a lot of customizations for different customers.

We can’t write about hardware set up because of NDA restrictions.

By the way, there were four rack-mount systems are used, as can be viewed in one of the pictures below. They are also kept cool and constantly monitored by the technical support team.

PGS Guard Control room

PGS Guard control room 2

PGS Installation control room

PGS Management Control room

PGS Video monitoring in action

PGS Video Monitoring in Action 2

PGS Server Racks

The successful deployment of the system is again a example of how versatile our engineering team is. We will be posting more news about our other successful projects (where NDAs allow us) so that our customers can really the range of things we’ve done before, and what we can do.

What are we up to? Amazon services, Facebook applications, Flex development, more web 2.0 applications …

August 12, 2007

This quarter is going pretty well. We’ve implemented quite a few of our plans, some of which were planned long ago. For starters, we added more skill-sets into the company:

a. We got more people trained in German (business analysts and sales staff). These will be continuing with their German language courses and continue to support our German customers. We’ve seen that knowing German has been great help in dealing with German customers.

b. PHP Zend certifications – we are also on the path of standardizing our skill-set certifications. For this reason, we are getting all our web development staff Zend PHP 5 certification. This will be help our potential customers differentiate apples from apples.

We continue to improve our processes, skill-sets and quality of work. We recently launched a video sharing portal completely based on joomla platform. We are also doing great things with the cutting edge technologies using web services such as Amazon’s (EC2, S3), Facebook applications, Yahoo’s new APIs and Google APIs. Furthermore, we’re doing applications on Flex platform. We’ve also completed a few more web 2.0 applications about some of which we will be writing on our blog soon. This also reminds me that this quarter we are also doing our first Arabic web 2.0 portal.

One of the applications that we developed, is currently under field trials and the response has been great. The application now support live streaming and incident notification on PDAs, and we are planning a Linux-only version for the server.

We’re also poised to launch some of our own innovative new products (some are already in beta) but more on this later.

These are indeed exciting times (as always). We’re excited also because we are working hard to be the best and we are succeeding in that. Our customers are excited to see their vision turned into reality, while we are enjoying being part of so many people’s success stories. We believe that we are arguably amongst the top innovative and fast growing companies in South Asia.

Q2-07 and outlook for Q3-07

July 2, 2007

This has been another strong quarter for us. In our last quarterly report we estimated that our revenues would grow by 52% and head count to increase by 32%. This quarter we’ve beaten our own expectation by growing 67% in terms of revenue. Our head count has increased by 25% and not 32%, however, this points to our efficient operational management rather than lack of growth.

The key event this quarter has been our key client acquisitions in German market. We have aggressively moved in German market and acquired customers ranging from automobile industry to print/advertising industry. We are also done to launch our German arm in this quarter. More details on this can be found here.

Our outlook for Q3 is that we expect to grow our revenues by 70% and head count by 50%. Also we expect to make our projects smoother with our German clients. We are also aggressively pursuing a few cutting-edge products and will be releasing them end of this quarter.

Working with competitors

June 23, 2007

There are a lot of times when we work on similar products which compete with each other. Quite a few of our customers have raised concerns about the secrecy of their ideas, business plans, development speed etc. and we realize that this is a very sensitive and important issue. Potentially, if a competitor knows enough information about a product, he/she can speed up development, modify his/her own feature-set etc. So how are we dealing with this?

Firstly, we do NOT disclose any information to any competing client whether it’s about feature set, or about release plan etc.

Secondly, we do inform our customers that we are doing “similar” work with other customers and we won’t be sharing information.

Thirdly, we do NOT share the code base between projects. Actually this doesn’t matter too much when you are doing a framework-based development (phpCake, codeignitor etc) as code is not really important – the idea and the marketing effort that goes with a product is!

We are currently working on quite a few competing products ranging from media sharing portals, social networking portals, file sharing portals etc to desktop applications and we have not released any information to anyone – not even the information that’s already publically available.

We realize that as our customer base grows we are bound to come across more competing ideas and products. We have developed processes to ensure that we don’t release any information to the competitors and also do the development of competing products in parallel without affecting each other. We are proud to be the pioneers in our industry to pro-actively address this issue and make sure that our clients can build a relationship based on trust with us.

Germany updates

June 22, 2007

It’s been a while since we updated our blog. During the past month or so, we have signed partnership deals with various firms in Bavaria, Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, and Nordrhein-Westfalen. We are now working with some of the largest advertising and media companies and are currently talking to the software arm of one of the largest automobiles firms in Germany.

On the other hand, our on-going projects with German customers have gone to completion smoothly with a few (expected) hiccups. We have improved our processes and communication structures and are now delivering better support and quality to our customers.

So what are we doing now? We have setup an office in Frankfurt (along with one of our partners), starting our own GmbH and will be hiring local staff to provide better support to the customers. All our perspective clients can contact us to know more about our existing customers and their experiences. We are looking forward to create more value with our German partners and customers.

Softwareindustrie in Deutschland, Gelegenheiten für Outsourcing

May 10, 2007

Heutzutage bin ich in Deutschland und treffe eine Menge deutsche Firmen und diskutiere verschiedene Ideen wie gemeinsame Produkteinführungen um Technologiepartner zu bekommen. Ich habe Firmen getroffen die 30-50 Arbeitnehmer beschäftigen und Firmen die nur Freelancers anstellen. Ich habe auch Freelancers getroffen die für verschiedene kleine und mittelgroße Firmen arbeiten. Demografisch hab ich Firmen in München, Frankfurt, Köln, Bonn, Essen, Hamburg, Hanover und Nürnberg getroffen. Diese Begegnungen haben mir einen tiefen Einblick gegeben wie der deutsche Softwaremarkt arbeitet und was für übliche Probleme den Leuten gegenüberstehen.

Hier sind einige Ergebnisse:
A. Es gibt einen Mangel an technischen Ressourcen in Deutschland. Während es Arbeitslosigkeit seit Integration Ostdeutschland ins Westdeutschland gibt, ist der Mangel an technischen Ressourcen noch das gleiche und es wird immer schlimmer da die Vermarktung ständig wächst.
B. Aufgrund strenge deutsche Arbeitsgesetze, bevorzugen Firmen und Individuen mit Freelancers zu arbeiten anstatt ihre eigene innerbetriebliche Entwicklern einzustellen.
C. Die meisten Freelancers arbeiten mit mehreren Kunden und haben ein sehr kleinen Umsatz. Auch die meisten Freelancers arbeiten mit anderen Freelancers für Mangel der Fähigkeiten die dort sein können. Zum Beispiel ein Grafikdesigner kann mit einem Programmierer auf einem Projekt und auch umgekehrt arbeiten.
D. Es gibt ein riesiges Sprachhindernis zwischen deutschen Firmen und der restlichen Welt.
Es ist einfach unmöglich für einen Fremdsprachigen von Deutsch, von verschiedenen deutschen Kunden (für die Mehrheit der Fälle) Bedingungen annehmen zu können. Es gibt auch Probleme, wenn Deutsche versuchen mit Fremdsprachigen von Englisch zusammen zu arbeiten, schließlich viele Missverständnisse sind auf Grund der Tatsache geschafft, da keiner von den Parteien Englisch als ihre erste Sprache spricht. Eine Ausdehnung dieses Sprachproblems ist die Tatsache das ausländische Firmen Deutsche Kultur und die Art wie sie arbeiten nicht verstehen. Wegen dies schaffen sie viele Probleme für sich selber sowie für ihre Kunden und folglich eine menge Deutsche haben schlechte Erfahrungen mit ausländischen Firmen.

Einer der Schlüsse zu die ich gekommen bin, ist dass wir ein Deutsches Büro mit deutschem Personal haben müssen, sowie einige von unseren Business-Analytiker, die auf Deutsch ausgebildet sind. Für diesen Zweck bin ich momentan mit der Bayerischen Technologieförderungs Behörde am sprechen und wir werden ein Büro innerhalb diesem Jahr aufstellen. Dies ist nicht nur wichtig um kulturelle Unterschiede, durch persönliches Treffen mit unsen Kunden zu bewältigen, aber auch den Deutschen Firmen ein Sicherheitsgefühl zu versorgen dass sie mit einem Deutschen Gegenstück, anstatt einer Offshore-Firma, Verträge machen können.
Da gibt es ein paar Dinge, die Deutsche ebenso übersehen, wenn sie ans Auslagern oder Offshore/Nearshore Ressourcen anheurn zu denken. Erst sind die meisten Firmen, die mit Freelancers arbeiten, nicht bereit mit Firmen zu arbeiten,Tatsache das ihre Umschlagszeit mit einer Firma von einem Freelancer verschieden sein wird (selbst wenn sie eine pflichtbewusste Ressource einstellen ). Auf Grund dieses, haben sie völlig falsche Erwartungen vom Versorger bezüglich der Umschlagzeit. Die Tatsache ist, dass für einen Freelancer es ziemlich einfach ist, was immer zu tun was er machen will ohne eine Methode/Verfahren folgen zu müssen. In größeren IT/Softwarefirmen, ist das einfach unmöglich. Dass kann als einem Problem zu einigen Leuten erscheinen aber was sie erkennen sollen, ist das arbeiten innerhalb eines Verfahren für beide Parteien gut ist. Auch mit rationalisierten Verfahren wird es für die deutschen Kunden mehr leichter sein ein Team zu skalieren.
Ich habe auch beobachtet dass viele Deutsche, Outsourcing wegen der Qualität befürchten. Die Lösung zu diesem Problem ist, dass sie mit diesem Problem vorzeitig bewusst sein sollen, und ihre Erwartungen von der Firma weglegen mit denen sie arbeiten. Eigentlich sollte das die Kernregel von irgendeiner Verabredung sein d.h. „Legen Sie alle Erwartungen weg“. Während dies einerseits richtig ist, die Versörger die in Deutschland arbeiten sollen im sinne haben das jede Industrie in Deutschland von Automobilen bis Elektronik nur mit einer Regel arbeitet – Qualität Versorgung, und Deutsche sind verdammt ernst bezüglich Qualität in irgendeinem von ihren Produkten. Was das heißt, ist das selbst wenn es bedeutet mehr Bemühung und zusätzliche Ressourcen anzustellen, es wert sich auf Qualität zu konzentrieren (von Spezifikation erhaltung bis zu Implementation und Dienstleistung).
Es gibt riesiges Potenzial für Deutsche sowohl als auch für Offshore-Versörger den wachsenden Markt auszunutzen. Jedoch, wenn Parteien sich mit Geschäftsverträgen beschäftigen ohne die Schwierigkeiten und die Hürden zu bedenken(angenommen dass ein Amerikanischer Modell von Offshoring arbeiten würde) werden sie sicherlich in Schwierigkeiten geraten.

Vergewissern Sie sich:

A. Alle Erwartungen sind deutlich weggelegt.

B. Die Versorger haben einen beständigen Kontakt mit Deutschen Kunden und unterschätzen die Wichtigkeit der Kommunikation nicht.
Es ist besser es zu übertreiben denn Probleme zu erhalten die Anspruch von Kommunikation Mangel kommen können.

C. Deutsche sollten sich daran erinnern, dass sie die kulturellen Fähigkeiten von dem Versorger nicht überschätzen sollen. Sie müssen für die Unterschiede und die folgenden Probleme vorbereitet sein die kommen können.

Am Ende des Tages merken Sie sich , dass ein Unternehmen in Deutschland zu machen bedeutet Beziehungen und Vertrauen zu bauen, deshalb alle Bemühungen sollen gemacht werden das zu vergewissern. Wenn Sie ein Offshore-Versorger sind und Beratung benötigen Deutschen Kunden anzunähren oder eine deutsche Firma sind die Beratung benötigt bezüglich Offshore-Entwicklung Teams einzustellen, wenden Sie sich an uns und wir werden froh sein ihnen behilflich zu sein.