StartupTalky presents Recap'22. This is a series of interviews in which we conduct in-depth discussions with founders & industry leaders to understand their growth in 2022 and their predictions for the future.
A Virtual Technology Office (VTO) refers to a service model where a company outsources its IT and technology support functions to an external provider, who manages these services remotely. The provider typically provides technology-related services, such as network management, software support, and hardware maintenance, through a virtual platform. The VTO model is designed to help companies reduce their IT and technology-related costs, while still providing reliable and efficient technology support services.
For this Interview, we invited Mr. Kaustubh Kashyap, Chief Growth Officer (CGO), OpenTurf, and we talked about the growth, challenges, insights, and future opportunities in the industry.
StartupTalky: Kaustubh, what service does Openturf provide? What was the motivation/ vision with which you started?
Kaustubh: We started Openturf with a vision to help companies achieve incrementally and transformative change in both efficiency and effectiveness of their business processes with the use of technology. By offering organizations cutting-edge technology along with co-creating customized software solutions aligned with their specific needs, Openturf is becoming instrumental in changing the fortunes of firms across product categories and service domains.
Among the prominent services, we are the leading solution provider in technology audits & consulting, digital bridges (automation solutions for faster roll-outs), platform integrations, and enterprise software development. We also offer distinctively superior services in performance engineering, databases, analytics, technology stack assessment, cloud cost optimization, and cognitive services among others.
StartupTalky: What new services have been added in the past year? What is/are the USP/s of your service?
Kaustubh: We have been expanding our portfolio of services with a laser-sharp focus on achieving the highest levels of quality and market requirements. We have successfully added our flagship offering Virtual Technology Office -VTO (virtual CTO services), 5G expertise, and complex System Integration capabilities in the last few years in our portfolio.
Further, the work is on building various digital bridges (pre-built modules for automation) to shorten time-to-market for enhanced customer experience. Some of the USPs offered by Openturf include a Build-Operate-Transfer engagement model, a turnkey software development model for shared risks and responsibilities, an incremental approach to platform scalability, and building a dedicated technology team. In addition, we are also proud of our governance practices that ensure complete project transparency and ethical conduct at each and every phase of business execution leading to trustworthy long-term engagements.
StartupTalky: How has the tech outsourcing industry changed in recent years and how has your company adapted to these changes?
Kaustubh: The increasing influence of technology is very much evident in today's fast-changing business environment. Companies cutting across industries are increasingly becoming inclined to integrate new-age innovations and this change is fuelling the demand for SaaS platforms, VTOs, and BOT models among others. Openturf has aligned itself well with the ongoing changes by adding new services to its constellation while making the necessary amendments to the existing services in accordance with the requirements of its clients.
StartupTalky: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in your industry?
Kaustubh: By constantly interacting with the stakeholders of the business ecosystem including our clients, technology developers, suppliers, and policymakers, we at OpenTurf keep a close tab on the present and future pulse of the business. Participating in international and national conferences, symposiums, discussions, competitions, and allied events also helps us to keep up the pace with contemporary trends and changing realities.
StartupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check the company's growth and performance?
Kaustubh: While we closely follow key performance indicators (KPIs) such as revenue growth, profitability, and operating margins, the real metrics that matter most to us include net promoter score, the longevity of client engagements, repeat orders from our existing clients, and a number of projects gone live per client to name a few.
StartupTalky: What were the most significant challenges your company faced in the past year and how did you overcome them?
Kaustubh: The issues related to project execution - non-availability of tech documentation, or rapid changes in the scope of work where tech documents exist, or lack of project visibility by the customer. Then there were issues related to living systems - need-based just-in-time scalability of the platforms, the supportability of legacy systems, etc.
In order to successfully address all these issues, we evolved our processes to come up with a slew of innovative approaches which delivered considerably well on the above-mentioned KPIs. We also started a few new practices like sustenance engineering practices to address the management of legacy systems.
StartupTalky: Good service is something everyone is talking about in the service industry. How do you ensure that your clients are happy?
Kaustubh: The fundamental operating principles that help us to deliver exceptional service experiences to clients are our single-minded focus on customer-centricity - Our mantra is “if the customer succeeds we succeed.”
Besides, our customer-friendly business approach - commercials based on deliverables provide a lot of confidence to our customers to work with us. This coupled with the cost competitive structure and high transparency makes us the preferred choice of tech supplier across business categories and service domains.
Further, our culture of bringing new-age technologies to customers is at the epicenter of our business practice, and it is proving instrumental in keeping us ahead of our contemporaries.
StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hack which you pulled off.
Kaustubh: Our clients are our biggest assets as we have been able to achieve an exceptional 91%+ of repeat businesses from our enterprise customers. We also boast that more than 80% of our clients come via references, which again speaks volumes about our software delivery and system integration capabilities that we deliver to enterprises across the globe. In sum, a chunk of our business comes from repeat orders as our existing clients refer our services to new potential customers around the world.
StartupTalky: Foreign clients- this is what most service-based companies are looking for. What has been your experience?
Kaustubh: We are receiving a very positive response from overseas clients and this explains the rapid expansion of our operations in foreign territories. We have a dedicated office in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and efforts are underway to further build up our presence in the US and Europe. As technology integration today has become a prerequisite for success, we anticipate the demand for virtual CTO, cloud computing, SaaS-based systems, and platform integrations to reach a whole new level in the coming years.
StartupTalky: What are the important tools and software you use to run your business smoothly?
Kaustubh: Being a technology service provider, we at Openturf have integrated new-age platforms and open-source enterprise-grade systems to keep our operations smooth and nimble-footed. Google Cloud, Slack, Jira, CRM, Accounting tools, and a few other such platforms are used to streamline our business processes and deliver enriched experiences to our clients, employees, and suppliers.
StartupTalky: What opportunities do you see for future growth in your industry in India and the world? What kind of difference in market behavior have you seen between India and the world?
Kaustubh: Technology is the biggest unifying factor encouraging industries across the globe to strive for more efficiency and effectiveness. While the needs and requirements of Indian and foreign clients vary as per the taste and preferences of their customer segments, the underlying need to realize better operational efficiencies and functional effects are the same on both national and global fronts. There is tremendous scope for growth in VTO - virtual CTO services, AI/ML services, analytics, database management, and 5G services. Further, the need for integrated platforms, automation modules, and SaaS architectures is going to drive the growth of our services going forward.
StartupTalky: What lessons did your team learn in the past year and how will these inform your plans and strategies?
Kaustubh: We have always been focused on exercising the highest level of customer centricity and as we go forward in the future, we would like to take this characteristic of our organization a notch or two higher. We have also learned that any cost that doesn't add value to the client has to be taken away with immediate effect. Our focus on the learning and development needs of our employees even amidst fast-changing business scenarios helps us to keep our customers happy.
StartupTalky: How do you plan to expand the Customers, service offering, and team base in the future?
Kaustubh: We are focusing on a multi-pronged strategy for expanding our customer base in the coming years. The focus is also on expanding capabilities in newer domains such as 5G and Web 3.0. We are also expanding our corporate base by setting up overseas offices to further encourage the adoption of our services among prospective clients globally. In addition, we will continue to hire across the country and onboard employees with a hybrid work culture.
StartupTalky: One tip that you would like to share with another Service company founder?
Kaustubh: Exercising the highest level of customer centricity is one of the most important virtues to remain relevant in the service industry. In addition, companies should strive to provide the best solutions and services which are equally competitive on the cost front to stay ahead of the competition.
We thank Kaustubh Kashyap for spending his valuable time and sharing his learnings with all of us.