Exclusive Interview with Lalit Sharma – CEO, Decipher Zone Software
In this exclusive interview, He shared his experiences in IT and several more things. Let’s check his success story and thoughts.
1. Tell Us about yourself how you start your career in IT Sector?
I have followed an ordinary educational path for most of the Indians which is BCA (Bachelors of computer application) followed by MBA in finance. Although during my BCA it became clear that I was passionate about programming but learning finance was the need of the hour as I come from a business family background.
I have drooled in the investment banking and financial analysis industry before getting myself landed into the IT sector to follow my passion. Initially, I worked with a very small IT organization which was a mix-up of IT services with few product offerings, I met one of my friends Raja there who was also passionate about programming.
After a certain level of experience, we found ourselves being adamant with older technologies so I left my job and started working as a freelancer to get acquainted with the new tech stack.
As the IT job market in Jaipur wasn’t very evolved in 2014 and I used to possess a diversified skillset freelancing was a more sensible choice psychologically, technically, and financially. A bunch of friends such as Shrikant and Raja helped me to lift that freelancing hustle into a real business i.e., Decipher Zone Software.
2. Tell us in brief about your company and the leadership.
Our company is an IT services organization that helps tech start-ups to build their products and digitally transform enterprises to drive more efficiency. The software development in Decipher Zone is a little more skewed towards web application development as we work less on developing small-scale mobile applications.
In terms of the tech stack, we work on Java (Spring, Groovy, Grails, Play, Blade, Struts, GWT, Spark), Angular, React Js, Vue Js, D3 Js, Canvas Js, and many more.
The core leadership of me, Raja D Vashistha and Shrikant Sharma. Both of them directs development teams with their work experience of being a coder for almost a decade and I have recently started pivoting myself from software development work to handle sales, marketing and finance for the company.
3. What is your outlook for 2021?
The outlook for 2021 is to strengthen up sales, marketing, and training within the company. For marketing, we have planned to expand our marketing team and I will be joining multiple CEO forums and platforms. The process to build strategic partnerships with other IT organizations and technology platforms is also on the roll.
4. How do you assess the role of research agencies like TopappFirms in bridging the gap between clients and service providers?
Agencies like TopappFirms work as a bridge of trust between clients and service providers. It’s very difficult for a person to trust professionals who are sitting at remote locations and wish to work for them so there were intermediaries required to verify the service providers on their behalf.
Especially small companies like us face the wrath of losing business due to lack of trust in our brand.
The brand recognition and listing opportunities offered by TopappFirms are a boon for clients and organizations which offer their software development services remotely.
5. Any particular technology or industry you would be targeting? How do you plan to prepare your workforce for the upcoming technology upgrade?
Yes, by the end of 2022 we have to train our workforce on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, AR, VR, and Mixed Reality. The plan for the year 2023 is to target Quantum Computing related application development.
For technology upgrades, our sales and business analysis team are the frontline members who keep an eye on emerging technological trends and filter out the technologies which start transcending into client requirements.
Such a piece of information is passed on to the top management so that we can enable our training department to conduct pieces of training on those technologies and simultaneously initiate the recruitment process to hire already trained professionals on the respective technology.
6. What all services do you think you would add to your offerings in 2021?
As I mentioned previously, we are planning to add AI, ML, AR, VR, and Mixed Reality development services by the end of the following year i.e., 2022.
7. What are the challenges you see in the outsourcing industry and how much you’re prepared to face those challenges?
The biggest challenges in outsourcing are building trust in the remote workforce, time zone variation, inflation, and currency fluctuations. We are planning to tackle these challenges by the following methods:
a.Building trust in Remote Workforce: We will be registering ourselves with research firms such as Top App Firm who can verify us as an authentic IT service provider.
We will try to appear in multiple media mentions and provide a little overview to our clients on the company’s registration with government organizations that are available in the public domain. If it’s required then we can also arrange their calls with our previous clients for feedback on our work.
b.Time Zone Variation: Last year we decided that if a client requests us to work parallelly along with their time zone then we can work parallelly with UTC +3:00 to +11:00 full day and half of the day for other time zones except for countries in the American continent.
If the work timings are too early or later than 7 PM IST then we can offer work from to such team members. The team member groups will also be segregated into multiple work shifts to cater to such requests while maintaining the work-life balance for our team.
c.Currency Fluctuations: We are currently conducting financial analysis to bind our asking price with the variance in inflation and currency fluctuations. The variance factor included in the asking price will cover the risk for us and our clients to create a win-win situation.
8. How helpful are the Web and mobile apps developed by your team, for enhancing your clients’ business?
Our clientele mostly consists of start-ups who need help in building their products and the existing businesses who are either stuck with a deadlock or need a technological upgrade.
Whether the web and mobile apps were helpful for these businesses is not quantifiable at the early stages of the business but some of them have got the funding like Blaze ERP.
If we talk about existing businesses then recently, we have upgraded a real estate data platform from Drupal to React Js and Java, built it over microservices architecture. The reports are quite enthusiastic because the technologically upgraded platform is 70% faster than the older one with a 99.95% uptime.
9. What according to you are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?
High availability of good support team, Detailed product requirement gathering, Iterative timely deliveries of working software to show progress and gather feedback, conveying information of occurring issues early to clients, and agile contracting models to ensure a long partnership between us and clients are the key factors that play a vital role in client satisfaction.
I would also like to add that the contracting models should be designed in a way where both parties take ownership of certain responsibilities such as the client shouldn’t be liable to pay for the extra hours of work done after the scheduled delivery deadline has passed and we shouldn’t be responsible for failed experimentations conducted for innovation if they were demanded by clients.
10. Tell me about some successful projects?
Blaze ERP was one of our big projects in the early stages of our company which last year got $8 million in series A funding.
Bextra was also one of the big projects that are about to get released in the market, at first glance it could appear just as a CRM platform but it’s way bigger than that. Urban Analytics (A real estate data analytics) was another project that got delivered this year. There are a lot more ongoing projects about which I cannot talk about right now.
11. How do you help your clients in choosing the right yet profitable platform for Web development?
Initially, we set up their meeting with our consultants where they map up the following points:
a. What’s the problem that the clients want to solve for their business?
b. In how much time the software solution needs to be provided?
c. What’s their budget?
d. What are the plans and projections for this software solution?
On the grounds of these questions, our consultants discuss the gathered requirements with the technical leads group to find the ample tech stack for developing the solution. Later on, the next meeting of the client is arranged with the appointed consultant and technical lead to provide detailed information over the selected tech stack with supportive arguments.
12. What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2021 after COVID 19?
The minimum range of the project was $5000 to $50000 monthly for projects that were catered in 2021 after 2021.
13. Please describe the operational structure of your company- from the moment a client walks to the product deployment.
Our operational structure works in the following manner:
a. When a client submits an inquiry with us then they are contacted by our sales team which does the initial project discussions about the client’s requirements at a high level, budget, and authenticity of the lead.
b. Then the client’s meeting is conducted with the consultants who help them choosing the right set of implementations that are aligned with their goals technically and financially.
c. In the third set, requirement gathering meetings are conducted between clients and business analysts to map the detailed requirements and priority for delivery.
d. In the fourth step Business, Analysts prepare BRD and other relevant documents where all the gaps and a closer project expenditure projection are mapped.
e. Then the discussion over the contracting model and the price revision cycle (if required) is done with the consultants.
f. After this, the Mockup designs are prepared and approval is taken from the client.
g. After the approval development over the application starts which is committed to achieving the prioritized milestones by delivering a working piece of software to clients after every two weeks.
h.The testing work is done parallelly with the development but a gap of one week is maintained between integrations with previously delivered software with new functionalities and the client’s demo to test them properly.
i. After achieving all the milestones deployment and support operations are initiated.
14. After service is a necessary part of development. How do you provide customer support to your client?
As I have told you earlier that we divided our developer and support team groups into 3 shifts to provide the support from 6 am IST to 12 am IST and the workdays are also spread out in a way that there’s always someone available from our team even on Sundays so, the clients have high availability of support team.
15 . Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
I do not have any specific recommendations in this context because the right platform to build an app is dependent on N number of factors related to the use case of that app.
We can build all types of applications but my advice for you is always to spend the money wisely. Consider your targeted customer, scope projection, revenue projection, and use case of the app and discuss it with our consultants before taking the final decision.