18 March 2010- Coimbatore: It is relatively easy to outsource business processes, but outsourcing embedded R&D services not so, says Mr Bhagath Singh Karunakaran, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kalycito Infotech, a start-up e-lab at the PSG Science and Technology Entrepreneurial Park here.

“It is highly risky and can backfire. Yet I chose to venture into this space because I wanted to do something different.”

Mr Karunakaran quit his job at Infosys to start the venture about two-and-half years ago, with 20 employees. He now plans to double the staff strength in six months.

“We work more with French and Austrian companies. The global meltdown, however, spelled trouble for us. The European companies did not have a road map. So we started looking at the Indian market for projects,” he explains, adding, “Outsourcing embedded solutions and services is still in a nascent stage in India and not standardized as yet. Further, the vendor lock-in issue is widely prevalent in this space.” Organizations, he points out, demand flexibility and customization but fear vendor lock-in (makes a customer dependent on a vendor for products and services).

Mr Karunakaran says Kalycito products are built on open source solutions. “That is part of the appeal, because it allows organizations to modify the source and not be at the vendor’s mercy for new features.” His e-lab has five or six products in the pipeline. “Most customers see us as an extension of their R&D arm. They have domain expertise and know their market, but a lot of time is spent making decisions. Every customer in the embedded space seeks individual, customized solutions.”

While the economic downturn did result in some set back to Kalycito’s business prospects, it seems to have spelt boon in terms of identifying and retaining the best talent pool. “A couple of guys who were stranded came to us. We look for people with strong fundamentals,” says Mr Karunakaran.

Ref: Business Line