19 November 2019

Interview-Vijay Gupta (Softtech Engineers)

Our products are well equipped to fulfill Government of India’s smart governance initiatives

Pune based SoftTech Engineers Pvt. Ltd has developed path breaking and innovative solutions which cater to specific project management needs of construction enterprises and the infrastructure industry. VIJAY GUPTA, CHAIRMAN & CEO, SOFTTECH ENGINEERS PVT. LTD, responded to queries from CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES.

 

Briefly tell us about the background of your firm, solutions on offer and the industries you cater to?

SoftTech has been innovating reliable and world class software products for the niche vertical of Architecture-Engineering-Construction (AEC). We started in 1996 at Pune and have grown to the current team size of 200+ members.  Our products enable customers to reduce costs, increase productivity, have effective control and improve resource utilisation in terms of people, infrastructure and customer service. “AutoDCR” is our flagship product. It has won several national and international awards. AutoDCR has revolutionised the building plan scrutiny process in governing bodies. Currently the system is live across 55+ ULBs in India. “PWIMS” - Public Works Information Management System is a web based application for managing the core functional processes of works planning, procurement and maintenance in public works organizations. “PWIMS” has been adopted by seven state-wide government infrastructure organisations in India. “OPTICON” is an ERP software application, tailor made for construction organisations. With intelligently built modules for projects, finance, plant and machinery, “OPTICON” has been helping construction companies in India, UAE and Africa to optimally manage their businesses. 

 

Give us an understanding of your technological infrastructure facilities and the investments you have made?

SoftTech was established using the funds invested by promoters in 1996, starting with a team size of six members. As the company grew, we received Technology Funds and Venture Capital for development and growth. We have been a profitable company since our inception and have managed a CAGR of 30 per cent over the last five years. Our research and development centre is located at our head office at Pune, where we have our core technical and software development team. The team is a mix of engineers from various disciplines, software programmers, architects, QA engineers, implementers, project managers, business analysts and domain experts. Entire life cycle of software products from design to delivery is managed from our Pune office. Apart from this, we have local setups in major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad where our implementation, training, sales and business development teams are located.

 

Tell us of your company’s performance in 2015 and growth prospects till 2016? 

SoftTech delivered a strong performance in FY 2015. We achieved 501 per cent YOY revenue growth in this year. We could acquire 12 major accounts and increased our head count from 170 to 200. In FY 2016, we have set an ambitious target of achieving 100 per cent YOY revenue growth, we also plan to increase our team size to 300 members.

 

What is your company’s agenda for 2015? Can we expect any product additions this year?

We have an aggressive and defined road map to enhance capabilities of our existing products leveraging advancement on IT technology like mobile, analytics and cloud.  On the business side, we have planned to expand our operations globally. We are active in Middle East and African countries to take our products in these countries. We are exploring market in Asia Pacific.  Recently we have started our business development activities in North American (USA and Canada) market.  We have received excellent initial feedback from prospects of the region. We are in the final stage of establishing business alliance for this market. On the innovation side we are soon launching cloud based e-Commerce portal named “Rulebuddy.com”   dedicated to architects, property owners and developers and consultants in AEC industry to assist them online for understanding project related regulations and compliances. Rulebuddy will  enable them to take informed commercial decisions and help them getting faster approvals from various agencies for project establishment. From the current strength of 200+, we have aggressive plans to become a 500+ team and achieve 300 per cent growth in revenue during next three years.

 

What are the attractive qualities of Pune which led to your company making manufacturing investments in Pune? 

For any IT company, the major factor is the availability of high quality human capital. Due the existence of a number of excellent educational institutes, Pune has an abundant and steady supply of qualified manpower year on year. SoftTech has been an attractive destination for the top talent from engineering colleges, management and software institutes in Pune. In addition, Pune has fantastic weather, good quality of life, safe environment and a highly professional work culture.  These factors have proved that we were right in establishing our core technical, research and development centre in Pune.

 

Please offer your views of the city from a doing business perspective – what it has to offer and what more is required?

Subsequent state and local governments in Pune have employed policies which have been conducive for doing business here. Pune is second to none in overall awareness and adoption of new technologies. The response to SoftTech from local bodies like PMC and private organisations has been extremely encouraging. Most of the decision makers in Pune are forward looking professionals with a firm grasp of business operations. What lacks in Pune is the limited air connectivity. Existing airport being a defense establishment, has limited flights to offer to civilians. The long pending demand for new airport remains to be fulfilled. Once Pune gets a new airport, similar to Bengaluru, it will offer better national and international connectivity, making life easier for the business professionals.

 

As a manufacturer, what are the business enablers you expect to be introduced by the government?

As a software product and service company, we expect a clear policy on taxes and duties. For example, there are instances of double taxation where both Sales Tax and Service Tax are levied on software products. Anything intangible is classified as a service for the purpose of levying a direct or indirect tax. Software products, while intangible, are not a service. There is an urgent need to upgrade the direct and indirect tax laws. Also filing of taxes and the compliance to numerous statutory requirements is a drag on software companies, especially start ups. It would be great if the government comes out with an unambiguous taxation policy for creators of Intellectual Property in India. GST implementation is well awaited.

 

Give us a sense of the green building and sustainability initiatives taken up by your company?

Being a software company, we are already a green company with zero toxic waste and emissions. At SoftTech, we are highly conscious about the carbon foot print and make all efforts to have paperless communications. Like Europe and USA, we will soon have LEED certified buildings here in India, and we at SoftTech are fully geared up to adopt that.

 

What are the future plans for your company?

We have set an ambitious target of becoming a company with 500+ staff and treble our gross revenue in next 3 years. We will be leveraging technology in transforming AEC industry. Our products are well equipped to fulfill smart governance initiatives of Government of India with many success stories. We are closely working with Urban Local bodies to be one of the enablers of technology for smart buildings and smart cities initiatives.




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