I’m here in Coimbatore, India for our brand new office opening. Over 5000 sq.ft capacity that can comfortably take about 60 people. Thanks to many of our friends, family and well wishers who congratulated us whole heartedly, appreciating our growth. Here is our little story, that summarizes our India operations journey so far.
Our journey in starting up in India is very interesting, when I decided to open India operations back in August 2013, the idea was to set up a supporting office for our UK team with about 10 people. On that basis we rented a small place in Coimbatore, and started the hiring process. By the time our first couple of employees were about to start their work (around Dec/Jan time frame) we realised the place we have chosen may not be appropriate. We paid a penalty and closed the lease without operating there for a single day. We took an office in a bit more prominent place (around 500 sq.ft) with IBM as our next door neighbor. Pretty much whole of 2014 we focused on building our team in India, after seeing the quality of work and hard working characteristics exhibited by the people we hired, the whole momentum shifted and we started to expand more aggressively, we expanded to about 1200 sq.ft in the same building taking available rooms in the premise. By our 1st year anniversary we were about 22 people in our India office (more than double our original plan), and the place started to look very cramped. We pretty much maxed out on our capacity and we realized if we need to hire more, we need to find a new office place.
I’m really grateful to my whole team, who put aside all the comfort and focused solely on delivering quality product, we released 9 major releases just in 2014, taking BizTalk360 to the next level.
Around August 2014 (after about 1 year) we decided to look for a new place, this time we are very clear not to just take a baby step, instead we wanted to think big and take the next big step. We decided to move to TIDEL Park, Coimbatore, the most prominent IT park, special economic zone (SEZ) an initiative by Government in Coimbatore.
The banner TIDEL and SEZ are special category and the admission is not open for any business. In order to get into TIDEL, organizations need to meet various entry criteria’s and need to go through some strict selection process. There are tons of paper work, approval processes, some of the procedures need to be done in Coimbatore and some in Chennai (about 500 kms away). There is no clear guidance and no one clearly understood the process. Our team has done lot of learning, taking help from other organization in the SEZ building and importantly friendly co-operation from TIDEL, Coimbatore officials. The whole process took about 4 months, just to get the approval, and get a confirmation letter.
Around Jan/Feb 2015 we started looking for the next step of converting the warm shell into workable office, it required allocating funding, identifying correct contractor who can perform the task, plus 100 other things. We finalized on a local contractor who promised to finish the work in 45 days and started the work in Feb 16th, with the aim to finish around 1st April.
Only people in India can understand the real challenges dealing with any construction work in India, I have witnessed briefly for couple of weeks during my stay here. Contractors disappearing for weeks without any sign, not bringing enough material for the workforce to perform their day job, disappearing in the middle of the day, purposely forgetting to bringing the entry ID card, breaking things due to carelessness, it’s all pretty normal. After 45 days, nothing moved forward, the project was in really in bad state and in the verge of complete failure. In fact one of the other organisation who was dealing with the same contractor got into conflict with the contractor and registered a complaint with the local police.
At that stage some of our core members in BizTalk360 India team stepped up and decided to project manage and execute the whole project. Hard core technical guys worked like building contractors managing the cash flow, making sure the enough materials are brought on site, making sure the labour force is in place to do the work managing dependencies between different teams like networking, electricians, furniture delivery, air conditioning, managing TIDEL authorities, in/out materials process, clearing wastes etc, etc…It’s unbelievable stuff, for someone not from construction background.
I’m grateful for the few who worked hard on this project to bring it alive. Here is the final output, we are fully set to take off and accelerate. I’m seeing this is as proof of our teams executing ability. I strongly believe teams with strong execution abilities always wins. There are always tons of ideas with everyone, it’s the execution that matters, whether you are building a software product or finishing a construction work. After seeing this, I’m even more confident to bet all my money on the capability of our India team. Keep watching! more to come and disrupt the market from our team.
Dedicated Area For Customer Support
When we designed our office one of the thing we cautiously planned for is a dedicated place for customer support. Following picture shows the 4 mini conference rooms dedicated for customer support and demo’s. We constantly get on call with our customers for various reasons. If a support ticket is not resolved after 3-4 emails conversations our support team will get on the call. So it’s very common site in the office, people speaking to customers constantly. To keep the disruption in the office low and to give customers a great experience we dedicated a portion of building purely for support. Can you make anything out of the colours!!, hint: we love Microsoft.
From Start To Finish In 90 Days
The first picture was taken on 16th of February starting our work with completely blank canvas, and the second picture was taken on our opening day on May 16th, a complete transformation of the site and solid base for our team to just focus on building software and supporting customers.
At the end we are very pleased with the outcome, even though there were lot of challenges for the past 3+ months the end result is awesome. From BizTalk360 team we wish to thank all TIDEL authorities, the contractors and everyone who is involved in making this happen. Thank You.