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Home > Discover Pune > Personalities >Mr S N Aggarwal
Mr S N Aggarwal

S.N. Agarwal, COO, Neilsoft Ltd. - Some hard talk about Software.

Mr S. N. Aggarwal - President and COO, Neilsoft LimitedSurendra 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 background?
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 Ahmedabad?
Soon after my post graduation, I worked on an operations research based logistics project along with two professors of the institute for HAL, Bangalore.

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 client interface.

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 industry?
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.

Rahul Surkund


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