|Home - CEO Spotlight - Mar 04 Issue
CEO Spotlight: Pushpendra Mohta, Vayusphere
By Angel Mehta, Managing Director, Sterling-Hoffman Executive Search
Angel Mehta: There has been some buzz about the application of instant messaging within corporate environments for a while now, but why donít we start with a synopsis of the business problem that Vayusphere is solving for customers?
Pushpendra Mohta: There are environments in which the cost of delayed response is highÖfor example, the financial industry or the service provider industry where events that effect revenue need to be responded to by distributed employees immediately. What we do is use instant messaging in very interesting ways to reduce those costs of delayed response. Applications can find people, interrupt them, capture responses from them, and feed the responses back into the process. In a nutshell, thatís it.
Angel Mehta: Give me an example of a scenario that youíre referring to when you talk about environments where the cost of delayed response is high.
Pushpendra Mohta: So in the telecom environment, if the network is down, there is a cost related to the down time in that you are not generating revenue when your network is down. You want to be able to find the right set of employees Ė right away - who can respond to the problem and get the network back online Ė and do it immediately. The problem is, employees tend to be distributed and the challenge for an enterprise is finding the most qualified, available person and alerting them to the fact that they need to immediately respond to the problem.
What we do is use instant messaging to be able to track these people - employees, in this case Ė and notify them instantly about whatís going on. It gives them an opportunity to close the loop by providing a response. A similar example in the financial industry would be say, the Euro moving against the dollar, and youíve got to take a hedging position against it because your revenues are dollar denominated. You want to be able to find the right corporate treasurer who immediately provides a response to this event. So itís just basically about reducing minutes to seconds in the response time.
Angel Mehta: Or rather, reducing response time to minutes and secondsÖI assume that the target buyer is whoever owns or is responsible for service levels. But if you were to take a survey or a census of that market, how many do you think would say today that some sort of instant response application is at the top of their agenda as far as IT projects go?
Pushpendra Mohta: I think itís increasingly on the minds of people who are trying to eliminate costs and trying to eliminate lost revenue opportunities at the same time. Itís not everyone, but certainly itís on the top of the minds of people in two huge markets: financial services and the service provider sector. These are the early adopters in the Instant Messaging market.
Angel Mehta: So when you approach potential customers today, how much of the sales process is educating versus simply differentiating Vayusphere from its competitors?
Pushpendra Mohta: The problem that what weíre trying solve is an age-old problem Ė itís nothing new. We are trying to take time out of a particular business process. So thatís part of the ROI requirement of selling. The education process is typically around the use of instant messaging as a technology choice to solve this problem, so thereís a bit of education involved there because instant messaging traditionally has been looked upon as a person-to-person chat application. What we are doing is enabling it to do application-to-people messaging as well as people-to-application messaging so thereís a bit of evangelizing involved in demonstrating the true value of presence and awareness integration in enterprise messaging.
Angel Mehta: Why donít you tell me a little bit about how Vayusphere positions itself against other best of breed players that have similar offerings? On what basis do you win or lose in a shoot out?
Pushpendra Mohta: There are basically three broad product offerings in the instant messaging space. Thereís commercial, secure, people-to-people communication which is typically the domain of people such as Microsoft, IBM or open source based companies such as Jabber. Then there is the management of consumer instant messaging, which is the ability to archive log and provide compliance solutions when consumer instant messaging like MSN, AOL or Yahoo is being used inside the enterprise and thatís companies such as IM Logic and FaceTime. The third layer is integrating instant messaging into business processes and workflow. Itís the ability to integrate the use of instant messaging inside applications, inside mission critical applications, inside the enterprise - and thatís the area in which Vayusphere predominantly plays. This is what will deliver the real returns on the Instant Messaging investment. In this space we have the leadership position.
Angel Mehta: So what are some of the applications that youíre integrated with right now?
Pushpendra Mohta: There are trading applicationsÖcall centre applicationsÖand there are trouble-ticketing and urgent messaging applications.
Angel Mehta: But any major vendors specifically that youíve integrated with?
Pushpendra Mohta: Sure. Remedy from BMC, Computer Associates Service Desk, Siebel. We have toolkits that allow for integration into just about any application.
Angel Mehta: Isnít it a relatively simple task for larger enterprise software players to just build in IM functionality into their existing applications?
Pushpendra Mohta: What we are doing is creating the equivalent of an application server for instant messaging. Traditionally, instant messaging is about people-to-people communication. What we provide is a framework and a platform for application-to-people and people-to-application messaging. For the same reason an application software vendor is not going to build an application server, they arenít going to build one for IM either. If you use voice telephony in your applications, you donít go build a PBX. Thereís a level of complexity that you donít want to get involved with. Also, the Vayusphere product is pretty IM neutral so we support 8 different instant messaging protocols and we keep up with changes in the protocols.