Melstar accelerates as niche software services company | Richard D’Souza | CEO, Melstar Information Technologies | Interviews |


Melstar accelerates as niche software services company

Interviewed on Feb 28, 2012 by Yogesh Gupta
Richard D’Souza
Richard D’Souza, CEO, Melstar Information Technologies Staying niche has always been the name of the game. Once the niche factor becomes mainstream, it will be difficult for a mid-size company like ours to compete with the big boys.

Interview Questions

Full Interview with Richard D’Souza

CW : What technologies or businesses are the major contributors to Melstar Information Technologies today?

D’Souza: Melstar Information Services is a Yash Birla Group company offering software applications development and maintenance services. Starting 25 years back as an IT hardware company, we are now a pure software services company. Today, our main revenue lines are professional services consulting and software development. Professional services consulting is staff augmentation in various technology areas wherein people on our payroll work on project sites of Indian and international clients. Today, we have 35 to 40 active customers and more than 450 people at customer sites.

BFSI has been the biggest vertical for us. Applications in commercial banking and financial services such as insurance and broking applications are key areas. We are building value-added applications and services around products available in the market. These would be growth areas for the next three years. We also plan to ‘productize’ applications that we have developed.

Melstar has begun to build ‘proof of concept’ in the mobile phones applications space. The mobile phone will become an application device for enterprises and we need to be there as a niche market service provider.

On the software development front, we develop end-to-end software projects. We are in the process of building specialized teams to address the increased demand for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) services and we would soon sign alliances with two leading software vendors.

CW : It’s been a decade since the shift from hardware onto software services. Has it been beneficial for the company?

D’Souza: In 1990s, we were a hardware-focused value-added company for a large technology company. In 2000, Melstar decided to move away from hardware because its then ‘stock and sale model’ had very high risks. And software was a booming area. There were investments to be made in software too, but the management took up the challenge. Top lines have come down, but profitability has increased.

CW : Would hardware integration be a focus area as enterprises prefer a solution provider who sells hardware, software, and services?

D’Souza: As Melstar treads on the next growth journey, we are again becoming a competent enterprise systems integrator. The focus is mainly on software integrations and services for enterprises. But within the Yash Birla group as a SI, we expect to do full-scale projects that would include recommending hardware too. Analytics and BI will have tremendous opportunities and we would align with the best solutions in the market to provide implementation services.

CW : The focus areas by Melstar including professional services, mobility, analytics, EAM have a ‘Services’ layer woven around it. Why?

D’Souza: Services layer is a niche area for a corporation and is the one thing that encourages a customer to make a big investment with a solution provider. We believe we can make money, and importantly, better profitability with services. Staying niche always has been the name of the game in the technology world for players like us. Once the niche factor becomes mainstream, it will be highly difficult for mid-size company like ours to compete with the big boys.

Melstar is setting up business practices in BFSI, ERP, Legal Process Outsourcing, and ECM. Software services are a clear path that will catalyze our growth. An enterprise systems integrator today has to excel in specialized technologies. We are progressing in that direction carefully and rapidly.

CW : What are the next big opportunities in Indian market?

D’Souza: I believe the Indian market is highly under-automated in terms of computerization and technology. Right through from corporations, government, municipal bodies, right down to the kiraana shop down the street. Not to mention the ample opportunities in personal computing space. There are enough applications and work in tech space for entrepreneurs for at least next 15 to 20 years.

On software front, we are into .Net and Java. But we built teams to developed applications in other technologies including mainframe applications. Whenever technologies have shown the need to be adapted, we have given our best as an adaptive organization. We would continue to be a multi-technology company.

CW : How will Melstar Information Technologies ramp operations over the course of next couple of years?

D’Souza: We expect to grow exponentially. After the Yash Birla Group took over, we have been able to stem the run of three consecutive years of losses from 2007. We re-entered profitability from 2010-11. Within the Group, Melstar is developing an ERP for the Group’s largest manufacturing company in next few quarters. The rollout will give Melstar a significant software product offering to offer to the manufacturing businesses of the Group as well as to the market enabling it to launch other IT initiatives and position itself as in-house consultant, developer, and systems integrator for implementing Yash Birla Group’s IT requirements. However, the bulk of our business will emerge from the larger Indian and international marketplace.

With offices across India, we cater to large enterprises as well as mid-market. We plan to set up offshore development centers as large number of Indian companies outsource IT-related activities. Around 90 percent of our revenues come from professional services consulting with remaining from software development. While the professional services will grow in absolute terms, the new growth areas could change to ratio to 50:50 in the next few years.

CW : Cloud and managed services cannot be ignored by an enterprise solution provider today. Comment.

D’Souza: Cloud is inevitable but our clients are still in the ‘wait and watch’ mode due to security and other issues. Speaking on managed services and RIM, we are not actively looking at it though its potential in today’s market is always at back of the mind. We, as a company, are always analyzing and adopting technologies to whatever opportunities come our way.

Other Latest Interviews

India's Leading VADs

Why Channels Want to Partner With Inflow Technologies

Inflow Technologies’ tie up with 39 vendor companies, an extensive tech portfolio, and a services play, are great value propositions for enterprise channels, says its President and CEO, Byju Pillai.

iValue Creates Real Value for Channels in India

Focused on niche vendor alliances around data, network and app management backed by a robust channel ecosystem marked iValue's success in 2014. What clicked for the seven-year-old VAD?

RAH Infotech Shows Channels the Way Ahead

Mutual trust and long lasting bond with vendor companies and channel partners helps VADs to evolve and succeed in today’s aggressively competitive market. Leveraging competent channel partners and forge niche vendor alliances marks RAH Infotech’s success in 2014.

How Satcom Infotech is Adapting to New Security Landscape

As a leading value added distributor, Satcom Infotech is emerging as an end-to-end security player, helping both customers and partners grow.

How ComGuard Shields Channel Partners

As emerging technologies introduce new threats to the enterprise landscape, they are making channel partners anxious. But VADs like ComGuard are putting their worries to rest. Here's how.

Tech Chat

Collaborating To Outcome Based World: Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Avaya

Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Avaya, on how IT is transitioning from a keep-the-lights-on role to one that enables customers to deliver results.

The Dawn of the Digital Age: Akhilesh Tuteja, KPMG

The development of digital infrastructure will be a key growth driver for technology and solution providers. 

Paradigm Shift from End-Users to User-First : Parag Arora,Citrix

Parag Arora, Area Vice President and India Head, India Sub-continent, Citrix, says new technologies will force organizations to take a user-first approach in 2015.

Mobile and Cloud Are Gamechangers of the Future: Karan Bajwa, Microsoft

Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, Microsoft India, says, in  2015, organizations will adopt a mobile-first and cloud-first strategy to get ahead of competition.

A Network for the Internet of Everything : Dinesh Malkani,Cisco

Dinesh Malkani, President, India and SAARC, Cisco, talks about IoT and the significant technology transitions in the networking world.

Moving to the Third Platform: Jaideep Mehta, IDC

Cloud and mobility are the two technologies that will fuel the rapid adoption of the third platform in India.

Envisaging a Holistic Security Strategy For 2015: Sanjay Rohatgi,Symantec

Sanjay Rohatgi, President–Sales, Symantec India, says the company has a set of holistic solutions in place to secure organizations from security threats. 

Beating the Bad Guys: Sivarama Krishnan, PwC

Organizations will need to turn inwards to establish robust information security strategies.

Building Capabilities for a Digital Tomorrow: Alok Ohrie,Dell

Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell India, on the company’s investments to build end-to-end solutions and delivery capabilities for a digital world.


CIO Survey: What’s Inside Your Customer’s Mind (Cloud Computing)

A look at the findings of the State of the CIO 2014 survey and the challenges, benefits, and strategies of cloud computing that are keeping your customers on their toes. As their channel partners, here's what you need to know.

CEO Comebacks: For Better or for Worse?

We bring to you six global CEOs who made the idea work, or not.

Datacenters in the Weirdest Places

A peek into some of the most unusual datacenter locations in the world. Here are 13 datacenters that are built in unusual locations like mines, ships, trucks and even a nuclear collidor. Taking about common wisdom, eh?

6 Leaders Who Headed for an Abrupt Exit

The abrupt exit of top leaders of Indian and global tech companies this year, with many of them citing ambiguous reasons, surprised the technology world.


Kamtron Systems

Transitioning towards a service-oriented company will boost our growth, believes Kavita Singhal, director, Kamtron Systems.

TIM Infratech

Delivering ‘best of breed’ technologies to enterprises is key to success, says Monish Chhabria, MD, TIM Infratech

Mudra Electronics

A vendor-agnostic strategy helped us sustain business, says Bharat Shetty, CMD, Mudra Electronics.

Systematix Technologies

Our USP is a customer-friendly approach backed by services, says Akhilesh Khandelwal, Director, Systematix Technologies.

CorporateServe Solutions

Our ability to turnaround complex ERP projects in record time is what gets us customer referral, says Vinay Vohra, Founder & CEO, CorporateServe Solutions.

KernelSphere Technologies

We are emerging as an end-to-end systems integrator, says Vinod Kumar, MD, KernelSphere Technologies.

Uniware Systems

We constantly validate emerging technologies for first-mover advantage, says Vergis K.R., CEO, Uniware Systems.

Astek Networking & Solutions

An innovative approach helps us stay successful, says Ashish Agarwal, CEO, Astek Networking & Solutions.

CSM Technologies

Our approach is backed by innovation and simplicity, says Priyadarshi Nanu Pany, CEO, CSM Technologies.


Partnering for Profitability

Atul H. Gosar, Director, Network Techlab, shares how the company’s association with EMC has provided it with a competitive edge and a wide customer base, leading to increased profitability.

Sponsored Content

Promising Pipeline

Venkat Murthy, Prime Mover, 22by7 Solutions, shares how EMC brings in competitive edge by enabling technology, GTM and lead generation, helping 22by7 acquire new customers and retain old ones.

Sponsored Content

Powerful Performance

Deepak Jadhav, Director, VDA Infosolutions, says initiatives by EMC around training and certification have helped the company’s staff improve its performance and enhance customer experience.

Sponsored Content

Performance Booster

Rajiv Kumar, CEO, Proactive Data Systems, says that the solution provider’s association with EMC has helped expand its customer base and added value to existing offerings.

Sponsored Content

Pursuit of Profitability

Santosh Agrawal, CEO, Esconet Technologies, shares insights on how the systems integrator’s association with EMC has spelled sustained success over the years.

Sponsored Content

Non-Performance is Not an Option

Nitin Aggarwal, Director, Trifin Technologies, shares insights on how the association with EMC has helped the system integrator stand out and empowered its personnel to deliver consistent performance.

Sponsored Content


Signup for our newsletter and get regular updates.