Mr S N Aggarwal
S.N. Agarwal, COO, Neilsoft Ltd. - Some hard
talk about Software.
N Agarwal is the President and Chief Operating
officer of Neilsoft Ltd; a Pune based Software
Development Company, which commenced operations
in 1993. Today it has a US subsidiary at Ann
Arbor, USA and 5 branch offices in the major
Indian metros. The company provides solutions
in the CAD/CAM arena, which is its core competency.
The company is now expanding its focus to provide
services in related areas such as technical publishing,
software testing, knowledge management, e-business
and e cataloging
Poonabest spoke to Mr. Agarwal and got an insight
into his work;
Q. Can you tell us something about your educational
A. I have done my B.Tech and M.Tech from IIT Delhi.
On completing my masters, I had a fellowship offer
from the John Hopkins University for a doctorate
in Operations Research and Marketing, which I
declined. I also topped the list of candidates
at the Engineering services examination conducted
by the UPSC, but instead of pursuing a promising
job in the government sector, opted for a stint
at IIM Ahmedabad.
Q. Could you elaborate on your stint at IIM
Soon after my post graduation, I worked on an
operations research based logistics project along
with two professors of the institute for HAL,
Q. Could you please chart your career
graph for us?
A. After a year at IIM, I joined Telco
in 1969 and was entrusted with the job of developing
the IT department. Around the 1980s, we started
talking about Software exports. To give an impetus
and boost the software development efforts, I
moved to Rockwell International, Australia.
Thus began the software development efforts
from TELCO that ultimately led to the birth of
TATA Technologies. After serving with Telco for
23 years, I moved, in 1993, to Bajaj Auto as
the Group's Chief Information Officer. During
my stint with the company, I developed an innovative
ERP package called SNAP or Systems and Network
Accounting Package. The first website of Bajaj
Auto, Global Information Systems for Bajaj dealers
and EDI was also developed under my guidance.
My next move was to IT consultancy. I moved over
to Foseca as Corporate Advisor where I
was involved in setting up the company's total
IT infrastructure and implementing JD Edwards.
Time to move on and this time it was to LTITL
(L & T) as head of two of their strategic
business units before I quit to join Neilsoft.
Q. You moved to Neilsoft as President and Chief
Operating Officer, how did it feel to head a company?
A. Quite simply, I always wished to head
a company. I also wanted to help the company achieve
a 100 percent growth rate in 5 years.
Q. What are the core strengths of Neilsoft?
A. To my mind, our strengths lie in three main
areas - CAD/CAM Products and Services, Software
testing, Technical Publishing and conversion of
software into local languages and finally e-business
solutions and content creation. We are a focused
company and concentrate on these niche areas.
Q. What is the total strength of your organisation?
A. We have a total of 150 people working for the
company. We have our head office in Pune and branch
offices in 5 cities. We also have a fully owned
subsidiary in the US, which is manned by 7 persons
who are basically involved in the marketing and
Q. How has the recent slowdown in the US affected
the Indian software industry and what lessons
does it hold for the industry in general?
A. I think it is the right opportunity for the
industry to enter the European market. All this
time we have been concentrating on the US and
its time to focus attention on Europe. As far
as Neilsoft is concerned, we are targetting 70%
of our exports for the European Market.
Q. What, in your opinion, is the reason for
the failure of the Dot Coms?
A. I guess most of the Dot coms had not worked
out their business models, besides the heart of
the business is really good content; if content
was not given due attention, the venture would
fail as it is good content that drives business.
According to me, digitalization of content will
be a multi-million industry in the years to come.
Q. Has the demise of Dewang Mehta; the NASSCOM
President affected the growth of the Indian Software
A. Dewang was, undoubtedly, a very hard working
and charismatic person, but the organization that
supported him still exists with its inherent strengths.
There is no doubt that Dewang will continue to
be missed, but his vision will remain with us.
Q. How do you rate the threat of the Chinese
eating into our share of software exports?
A. The Chinese are a threat at a lower level,
as far as coding goes. When it comes to customer
management, they cannot be a threat, at least,
for a long time to come.
Q. What is your favourite pastime?
A. I am fond of traveling all over India as well
as abroad and am fond of Photography.