Interview with Madhukar Bhatia, Co-Founder at Sapience Analytics

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

 

Sapience is an innovative People Analytics solution. At an individual level, it empowers users to own their productivity and wellness through mindful work. At the enterprise level, managers and CxOs get accurate Workload and Capacity Utilization insights across every business dimension of interest, enabling them to align their talent pool to strategic needs. Sapience is helping over 100,000 users at 70+ enterprises across 10+ countries to move the needle on employee engagement, employee wellness, organization productivity and business profitability. Sapience also owns the Art of Working platform (http://www.ArtofWorking.net ), that brings together several of the world’s leading productivity experts and working professionals interested in improved personal effectiveness at work.

Gartner recently recognized Sapience as a Cool Vendor, and Sapience is the recipient of several industry awards for its innovative product and fast growth, including TiE50 (at TiEcon, Silicon Valley, California – 2014), Frost & Sullivan (Product Innovation – 2014), Dun & Bradstreet (Best Emerging India SME – 2013), NASSCOM (India’s Top 10 – 2013), IDG Channel World (50 Hot Global Companies – 2013).

You can download Sapience Buddy on your PC for your personal use – http://www.sapience.net/buddy/ – it’s free!

Sapience for Mobile is available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
We recently got a chance to interview Madhukar Bhatia, the co-founder of the company.

Madhukar BhatiaAbout Madhukar:

Madhukar has around 25 years of software industry experience, which includes building two successful start-ups. He has deep technical and business experience creating complex software products for global companies.

As the VP at Symphony Services Inc., which acquired the company that he co-founded (In-Reality Software), Madhukar scaled the Storage/Systems practice to 20 clients and 500 employees in 4 years. Previously, he was Sr. Manager at VERITAS Software (now Symantec Corp.), and prior to that he was a partner at one of India’s earliest product start-ups in CAD/Graphics space.

Madhukar has a B. Tech (CS) and M. Tech (CS) from IIT Mumbai.

Give us a snapshot of your professional journey till now.

I am a Computer Science  post-graduate by qualification. Sapience Analytics is the third start-up for me. I started my career with a start-up that we wound-up after 8 years of operations. After that I worked with two large software product MNCs (PTC followed by Veritas) from 1995 till the end of 2002. My second start-up (along with 2 co-founders) was In-Reality Software that provided Outsourced Product Development services. We grew very quickly and eventually got acquired by a US-based company. We founded Sapience in 2009 and have been working on it since then.

When & how did the entrepreneurial bug bite you?

I joined the first start-up as the second employee right after my college. This was a small company where the founder eventually gave 50% of the stakes to the first four key employees. So I got exposed to building a company accidentally. That was one of the best periods of my career and it was playing at the back of my mind when in 2002 two of my colleagues in Veritas Software and I decided to start In-Reality Software. Things were moving along very well for me in my job. In fact, they were moving too smoothly and I wanted to do something more exciting and challenging.

What were the early days at Sapience Analytics like?

Early days at Sapience were full of excitement and uncertainty. Not only were we building a software product which was a novelty in India, but also a product the likes of which didn’t exist anywhere else in the world. We were creating a new product category with no existing product to imitate.

Can you please describe what a typical day at office is like?

My office timings are generally from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM. I have deliberately kept it that way because it helps me getting an hour or two of work without much interruptions. My day in office starts with responding to all the emails since previous night. I spend between 1.5 to 2.5 hours every day in meetings or calls. I also spend a good amount of my time in technical work like coding, analysis etc. Most of this happens towards the end of the day when the interruptions are minimal.

Can you tell us about the technology stack used at Sapience Analytics?

Most of the development work is done using Microsoft technologies including .Net, ASP, C#, C++, MS-SQL and IIS. Our product has client component for Linux, Mac, Android and iPhone platforms, in addition to Microsoft Windows and Windows Phone. For non-Microsoft platforms, we use native or most commonly used technologies on that specific platform.

Is there any technology that you’re personally betting on to help you scale up?

Our product is data intensive and revolves around analytics. We use relevant aspects of SQL server data retrieval and configuration coupled with associated web technologies to support scaling.

How are you using Business Intelligence and analytics at your company?

Analytics at individual and company level is a very important aspect of our product. In fact the extensive analytics and reports at enterprise level is a big differentiator for us when compared to our competitors. We will soon be adding some prescriptive and predictive reports in our offering. At the company level, we use analytics for marketing and lead generation.

How else does technology help your company stand apart from its rivals?

I think it is the domain knowledge and deeper understanding of what our customers wants that makes us different from our rivals. What we normally refer to as “Technology” is available to everyone. The key is to use that technology to solve real problems.

What has been the biggest technical challenge you’ve faced while running Sapience Analytics?

Sapience can collect your time utilization information from a variety of sources including desktops, laptops, phones and tablets. Developing and supporting the Sapience client on multiple platforms with various OS versions and calendaring applications is one of the biggest technical challenges for us.

What are some of the attributes you look out for in a prospective technology employees?

We primarily look for individuals with good work attitude who can handle the demands of a start-up, like tight deadlines, frequently changing priorities and only partially defined requirements. Good team skills are also very important because you cannot afford to have friction in a small team under high pressure.

How do you keep up to date with the latest happenings in the technology world?

I try my best to know what new technologies could be useful for our product but as I mentioned earlier, understanding of my customers’ requirement is much more important than the technology.

What gets you excited about coming to work every day?

It is very exciting to realize that we are creating a totally new market and there are so many challenges to be overcome.

What sets Sapience Analytics engineering culture apart?

It is a very close knit team which is as excited about the product as the founders. It is because of this that we have had nearly zero percent attrition in the six years since we started in 2009.

Which Sapience Analytics value resonates best with you?

Our product helps users and their organizations budget time effectively. Sapience helps you define core hours, allowing you to focus on what really matters: professional success, family time and personal growth. We help users get their time and life back with Sapience. We not only sell this product to our customers but truly believe that by being mindful of our work habits and minor adjustments, everyone can achieve much more at work as well as personal life. We actively promote this culture in our company as well.

Any piece of advice for the techies out there?

Many of us get very picky about the technology stack that we want to work with. We need to understand that it is the solution that the customers are looking for. While you might need to narrow down your technology choices a bit, it is your problem-solving skills that will be most valued.

 

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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