Kshitij Kotak, CEO, Fortune Grecells shares insights into the company’s focus on helping the Indian businesses with open source solutions
Briefly tell us about your journey as an IT solution provider?
It has been a very satisfying life as a solution provider catering niche solutions to high value customers since 1994. We built our 1st commercial Linux server solution, Blackbox in 1997. This was an entire open source development system in a box with SAMBA file server, SQL, PHP, Apache, Perl, Squid, Mail server and FTP server.
We were the first Indian company to implement and support MSS Retail RMS and customized it for India. We had a single minded focus on Microsoft Windows Small Business Premium server and also demonstrated the product for Microsoft. I strongly believe in Henry Ford’s statement that ‘A business that only makes money is a poor business’. We wanted to do something for India that would help reduce costs and still enhance reliability of business operations, especially for SME that found it difficult to implement server clustering.
Hence, during my stint at a retail chain in 2004, we built a product that helps Indian businesses achieve high availability on an open source platform. We are now focused on even making those Indian businesses reliable with independent license free server with built-in backup and disaster recovery capabilities.
What all best practices should be followed by a solutions provider to become one of the leaders in the industry?
Leadership is an undefined parameter. Building scale and financial rewards is one amongst them. Winning awards for your business entity is another. Solution providers can generate jobs by building scale, win awards by developing technologies to lower costs and improve efficiency. In my opinion, making a difference in the industry you work in, impacting lives of people around you and giving back to society is leadership.
What has been your ‘success mantra’?
Efforts! I have dedicated my life to my cause, my work and my vision to make Indian businesses safer so that they can compete with the world with ease, speed and confidence. There is nothing like success ‘mantra’. But run that extra mile, do that extra bit to try to make a difference is my suggestion to all entrepreneurs.
What is your major area of expertise?
We are the only Indian company to commercially implement open source server in an automated fashion powered by our cloud and supported online. We install our own version of Linux implementation within 10 minutes on bare metal hardware that can be upgraded with a mirror server to high availability and disaster recovery. We work through partners across the country and cannot name our customers due to NDA (Non-disclosure agreement).
We power verticals such as banks and credit societies, SMEs like architects, interior designers, graphic design studios, ad agencies, BTL advertising companies, recruiting, chartered accountants, distributors, hotels, healthcare and retail.
What have been your major achievements / projects in the last couple of years?
Running servers at NBFC and banks has been a very satisfying experience in the past year. A deeply satisfying experience was a multi-locational dairy that came to us after being attacked by ransomware once and paying off to recover data (could not recover all the data, though). They implemented our solution and thereafter were attacked twice in a week. However, we could restore their Windows server and business operations in less than 20 minutes.
What all business innovations you have done to stay ahead of your peers in the industry?
We are in a niche area where we are our own competitor. The remaining being unorganized professionals who implement open source solutions. Operationally, we have been using CRM since 2001 that also helps us in making business decisions in terms of customer viability, key verticals to target and operational efficiency right up to the last end-point.
What are your expectations from the vendors that you are working with?
Reward quality, not just numbers. Our server software can be preinstalled in any and every server and can reduce piracy to a great extent as well as eliminate risk of exposing businesses to undefined threats like ransomware as our OS provides built in sandboxed backup.