New Age Entrepreneur

In conversation with CIOReview, Krishna Somayaji, MD, Somayaji Group talks about the group of companies

“There are Dreamers, there are Doers and then there are successful Doers. Krishna here is of the third kind! ”

A Degree in Computer Programming (University Rank II), a Master’s Degree in Business Administration [MBA], Advanced Program in Strategic Management from IIM Calcutta and more than 20 years of experience in top IT Companies, Krishna Somayaji had it all and done it all. Now it was time to put his dreams into action, to pursue his long calling passion – that was when “SOMAYAJI GROUP” was formed.

Being a part of the Digital revolution currently underway, Krishna’s vision is to make cashless banking infrastructure available in every nook and corner of the country.

Krish, tell us how did everything begin?

When I decided to quit my high profile job as Head - Payment Solutions from HCL to start something on my own, I had a clear plan based on ‘what I know’, ‘what I want to do’ & ‘what I can do’. The three thoughts led to 3 different Companies and a Foundation.

The entire venture was bootstrapped! With my reputation in the industry, I could have simply opted for funding and begun a typical large IT Product / Services Company but my interests were different.

How do you manage different lines of Business?

Our Core Competence is Project Management. So be it a technology project, an eLOBBY build or making a full-fledged movie, it’s just another project for us! With a closer look, one can see that though the offerings of each company are different from one another but our end customer is the same. All the group’s companies work hand in hand to support and complement each other.

And how about the skill set?

Technology is intrinsic to me! It’s what I have dwelled in nearly over 2 decades. When it comes to the creative pursuits, it’s natural. Story making, writing and telling is something I enjoy and happens instantly. The best part is that I easily connect to all the “so-called” mad creative people and that is an added plus I guess.

What is the overall Strategy of your Group?

From the beginning, our Strategy is simple - to have more Complete and unique offerings for a small set of clients, rather than servicing tons of clients with only a few offerings.

Tell us more about SOMAYAJI Technolabs

Humble beginnings but took off really well and is now flying high – all in a short span of time! Today, STPL is an established ISO 9001:2008 Certified Technology Company servicing more than 40 clients and over 70 projects currently. Awards galore from reputed Branding and Market Research Companies such as – “Best Project Management Company”, “Best Digital Banking Service Provider”, etc.

What we offer is high-end, complex Digital Banking Technology solutions to small and medium- sized banks. Strategic Alliances with MNCs like NCR Corporation, Aurionpro and reputed Indian Companies of the likes of Finacus and Manipal Group have been formed. We bring in projects, execute them with the aid of OEMs/OSDs [Implementation & Project Management], provide the first level support and also be a SPOC and manage the client relationship for the end to end activities for our clients.

Our Technology Solutions fall into 3 Categories.

Firstly, Enterprise Solutions - Core Banking, Loan Originating Solutions, Anti-money Laundering, Financial

Inclusion, Legal Recovery Solutions, Digital Signage, Queue Management Solutions, etc.

Second, Payment Solutions - Mobile Banking, Internet Banking, Aadhar Enabled Payment System, ATM Solution, POS, E-Commerce, IMPS, etc in integration with National Payment Corporation of India.

And finally, Services - Cloud based Solutions for the Clients who can not afford huge CAPEX. Other than this we do System Integration, Project Management, Implementation, Rupay Cards, and Consultancy etc.

What are some of the major Challenges you face while running a Project Management Company like yours?

The crux of the company is to balance, retain and maintain client relationship under any circumstances, quality of service is top priority and another focus area. Even a 1% glitch or failure, translates into major strain in our relations with the customer. Being attentive, alert and always prepared is imbibed into the company workforce.

What are the future Plans for STPL??

Lots! Acquire or fund small technology companies, add more and more Solutions to our kitty, venturing into new verticals like Education, Insurance etc. Also to strengthen the current team, expand and take up larger projects.

What about the other Company - SOMAYAJI ventures?

Somayaji Ventures is more into construction and designing of ATM sites and E-Lobbies. Many of these are under construction presently.

Very curious to know about your Creative Arm - SOMAYAJI Creatives

This is basically a Branding and Film making Company. Having made a couple of Corporate Films, Music Videos and Short films, this arm has earned a niche reputation for itself. This year, we plan to expand the creative business, bag more projects and eventually get onto the Silver Screen [Commercial Films].

What are your strengths, Krish?

I guess knowledge of the field, along with a strong positive attitude and tenacity is my biggest strength. Thankful to the oodles of experience in handling large and complex projects, I can grasp new subjects and add-ons very fast.

Then patience & persistence have come to my rescue always. My traits also include a strong damage control mechanism, a high level of situational competence and being a people's person, I believe in power of relationships.

What are your goals for the next couple of years?

Building Six Packs, joining a flying club and learn flying, float more Companies such as SOMAYAJI Studios, SOMAYAJI Academy, SOMAYAJI Consulting, many and many more.

And what about the long run?

Build SOMAYAJI as a Strong International Brand infused with ethics, values and service.