Sharad Sanghi, founder of Netmagic, talks about the pillars of his successful IT company.
“I cannot stress the importance of this factor. If a customer is unhappy then he’s not going to come back and you’re going to lose business. This is a simple, important fact in business, but a lot of companies ignore this aspect. At Netmagic we really go out of our way to help our customers and first work towards solving the problem and then discuss the commercials, etc. A lot of other data centre providers don’t do this. We have automated tools and strong tech support to help our customers through a crisis. In our escalation matrix I’m notified within two hours of a problem. So most of the time I know even before a customer does that there’s an issue. And I pick up the phone and inform him of this. Being hands on and fanatical about customer service is key for us.”
Hire professionals who add value
“Surround yourself with people who are really good at what they do; especially people who have the skills that you lack. This is especially important for entrepreneurs. And avoid ‘Yes men’ at all costs. You don’t want your first and second level leaders to be puppets. They should have the passion, drive and determination for their respective fields so that they can egg you on and drive the company forward. And empower them so that they can do their job well. Giving them the flexibility and freedom to take decisions; delegation is important. While you should have fair HR policies as much as possible, it’s also important to recognise your stars and have schemes or innovative ways to promote/reward merit. This might not sit well with some, but meritocracy is important. It also builds loyalty and trust.”
“To stay ahead in this industry it is important to look for new technologies, new ways of doing business. And this is why R&D is so important. Don’t wait for other companies to discover and adopt new technologies, and then join the bandwagon. Invest in R&D so that you can plan the future growth of your company. We’ve invested a lot in R&D and have a separate facility for it in Pune with 60 to 70 people working there.”
“It’s important to recognise opportunities and look for ways to improve what you’re doing. Don’t become comfortable with the status quo. We at Netmagic started cloud infrastructure services when it wasn’t a proven model in India, and no one wanted to experiment with it. But we looked at the format, the research that was being done and realised that it had a lot of benefits and over time would come to dominate the market. So we decided to take the plunge. Some opportunities will work out and some won’t. Learn from your mistakes. But don’t avoid taking risks and looking for new opportunities.”
Never compromise on ethics
“There should be complete compliance, a very high standard of transparency and good corporate governance. Never have anything to hide from the government, your investors or your employees. They should all know what is happening and be able to approach you if they hear any rumours or if anything untoward happens. And if Netmagic messes up, we immediately inform our customers. We are human, mistakes happen. But what is important is that you take ownership of them. That’s what will differentiate you from others.”
Sharad Sanghi is MD and CEO of Netmagic Solutions (an NTT Com company).