Duckback Systems

It is important to understand the product well says Asis Chaudhuri, COO, Duckback Systems

By Shreehari Paliath
FASTTRACK Mar 28th 2011
Duckback Sytems

It is important to understand the product well says Asis Chaudhuri, COO, Duckback Systems


Duckback Systems

Key Executives:
Asis Chaudhuri, COo, Sayantan Pal Chaudhuri – Head Enterprise Sales
Revenues 2008-09:
Rs 20 Crore
Revenues 2009-10:
Rs 25 crore
Microsoft, IBM( Hardware, Storage and Software), Oracle, Citrix, Adobe, Autodesk, Symantec, CA, McAfee, Trend Micro, Websense,
Virtualization, Cloud computing, Asset Management, Document Management, Rights Management Services, Database Management, Network

Two decades back IT was a different ball game altogether. The world already knew its significance, but the attribution that India is accorded today with regard to the industry was still at a nascent stage. Duckback Information Systems was set up in 1986 in Kolkata with a primary focus on software development. “When we started up, like many companies at the time, we decided to partner with Microsoft and focus on selling their products. Then we were selling a box and selling software alone was a great source of revenue, but today it would be a challenge just to stick to that alone,” says Asis Chaudhuri, COO, Duckback Systems.

“At that point the competition was not big. Although there were companies who we had to compete with, the requirements and realization of customers was not as acute as of now,” he adds.

Up until 2008 Duckback Systems was largely focusing on software development alone. Along with the partnership with Microsoft, the company has added Oracle, Citrix, IBM and other principals to their roll. They company says that to maintain the demand of the industry with potential technicalities for the future, the company gradually steered its attention towards almost all relevant areas of application.

The First Steps

They won their first deal with the Department of Telecom in Kolkata. Those days the telecom sector worked on the UNIX platform and Duckback was one of the solution providers for UNIX in the region. Their expertise in the field helped to complete the assignment successfully. “At that time a software box would cost close to Rs 20,000. These days it would hardly come to Rs 2000. This is how much technology and the availability has changed over the years, and therefore there is a need for improvement,” recalls Chaudhuri.

“Initially the challenge in implementing solutions was to understand the need of the customer. We had to understand the product and only then implement. We could have any number of products based on cloud or application development, but if you do not understand the customer’s requirements it holds no value to them. We are basically a solution based organisation and not a software sales company. Therefore it’s our job to understand all the products,” adds Chaudhuri.

In the last couple of years Duckback systems has decided to spread its wings wider to adapt to the versatile IT market. “Over the years, the market dynamics has changed. As is with technology, products always come and go and it was important for us to make changes in our organisation. Previously the focus was on customised development, but now with ERP and SAP products, the market scenario has opened up. It is a ready-made product that can be applied to existing pain points and issues in the customers’ business process. So we also had to improve our technical skill set to stay competitive in the industry. A few years back nobody was talking about the cloud. Now it’s a rage. So it becomes vital to be constantly on the move to improve our skill set, stay on course as a top SI player,” says Chaudhuri.

The company is a large partner to a number of vendors in eastern India. What makes them help fight competition? “We are working in our own segment. There are other large SIs that are providing solutions but their infrastructure cost is much higher than ours. We provide the best support and execution for our customers, hence they prefer us,” says Chaudhuri.

Spreading Wings

Duckback Systems has also diversified from selling software to hardware like servers, networking and security since 2008. They have bagged a few big banking deals. Duckback’s turnover for the year 2009-10 was Rs 25 Crore, which is a huge increase from their the Rs 20 Crore figure in 2008-09, especially considering the shortfall of projects during the downturn and the general apprehension towards upgrades in technology for most companies around the globe at a time when the slump was taking its toll. Nearly 50 percent of the software sales are to enterprises and 35 percent of which relates to their SMB sales. The service and support is also a significant arm that consists of ten percent of their revenue. Duckback Systems caters to different industry segments like Aerospace and defence, financial, education, among others.

The company maintains that through continuous monitoring and close association with the quality assurance cell during every stage of business, their software marketing division does periodical reviews of their work at every stage which helps in maintaining the quality of their solutions and implementations. “We have an internal training process. The team is well versed with the product and as I mentioned earlier understands it well to cater to the needs of the customers. We obviously have interactions with the vendors and principals who help in the training. The employees have tests to go through in the hardware and software bit, which in turn helps in the technical training. Based on all these we also develop our own methods,” says Chaudhuri. For most SIs this part of their business process is significant as it directly reflects on the quality of implementation and the subsequent execution of a project. Duckback Systems has 25 employees, but their training regime is offering positive results for the business.

They did two implementations for BSNL in Chandigarh and Kolkata recently, where they implemented their mobile service delivery. They have also implemented a number of projects for the banking segment. The technologies that the company focuses on are virtualization, cloud computing, asset management, document management, rights management services, database management among others.

For a company that has variegated technology solutions, cloud seems to be on top of their agenda. “Of all the technologies around I believe that cloud computing will live the hype. It will be well sought after in the next two years. As an IT company we have to understand the technology and use it in the best possible manner. We have done Exchange and Sharepoint implementation in the cloud environment. So we have already started our bit to garner some traction in the cloud sector with our solutions,” adds Chaudhuri.

Duckback has valuable expertise in virtualization also. They have executed applications on desktop and server virtualization for their customers. Partnering huge vendors would mean meeting targets designated by them. But Chaudhuri says not all companies are target oriented. There is a lot of margin in volume selling and implementation. So they have an option to pick according to their requirements.

They looking at the future optimistically. “We have started selling hardware solutions. At present the best infrastructure and manpower is based here in Kolkata. But we are planning to start a branch in Mumbai too very soon,” says Chaudhuri.