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CIO Review >> Magazine >> December - 2013 issue

Eastern Software Systems: A Trendsetter in the ERP Space


ERP solutions have revolutionized the way organizations conducted business. Even though it has a well established market, the expectations of the users have changed over the years and they increasingly demand ERPs which go beyond the traditional ERPs in terms of functionality. Users expect functionality like Workflow management, Document Management, Statutory interfaces and Business Intelligence to be a part of the basic offering. At the same time they want it to be compatible to the rapidly evolving mobility platforms. While these expectations are on the rise, the budgets are not. These demands put tremendous pressure on R&D and Product Development costs, creating multiple technological and financial challenges for an ERP company to address.

In the nineties when the entire Indian Software Industry was focusing on Services only, the Delhi based company; Eastern Software Systems (ESS) was one of the first in India which dreamt of developing a Software Product. Having an aim to develop an ERP product, the company was scoffed by the Global players. People were unsure whether a product like ERP with great complexities and magnitude could be really developed by an Indian software company. Then ESS entered the SME market, which was entirely a new paradigm as no one thought that the SME segment can buy an ERP. Today many big players are trying to make inroads into the same. Rubbishing all the comments/scoffs from the competitors, ESS’s product “ebizframe” today runs successfully across 25+ countries including a number of countries in Africa, a market where people were and are scared to get into.“Though ESS is a mid-size company, we have been a trendsetter and a role model for a lot of companies in India. We were the first to launch a completely web enabled ERP and also became the first company to launch ERP on a SaaS model way back in 1999” says Sanjay Agarwala, Co-founder and Managing Director, Eastern Software Systems.

Serving IT needs of customers across-the-board
Founded in 1990, ESS responds to the unique challenges and opportunities that are associated with providing high quality IT solutions in the extremely competitive business environment of today. Its internet based ERP software has helped many companies transform themselves from non-integrated units with scattered islands of information into an integrated strong global company managing the entire operations from a single location. ebizframe is the leading web based ERP software in India and Africa market supporting multi-company, multi-location and multi-currency operations and has been successfully implemented by over 800 customers in more than 20 industry verticals spread across more than 25 countries.

Taking a call on capitalizing company’s reach spread across Africa, Middle East and Europe, ESS realized the need to offer solutions to different IT needs of wide-ranging customers. For this ESS identified Partners across the Globe with good Software Products and decided to offer these Partner products, such as Document Management, Hospital Management, Mobile based Sales Force Automation, Utility Billing, BPM and Courts Automation. It also provides Hardware and Hardware based solutions (Security solutions, High Availability and DR solutions) to the Clients. The ADM services is one of key Business Lines of ESS beyond Enterprise Solutions, offering Custom Application Development Services to its Clients globally. It provides Web Portal Development (e-commerce, Social Networking), Mobility solutions, Custom Applications and Product Development. These Services even helps ESS to meet the Custom Applications requirements of organization’s ERP Customers.

Keeping pace with the changing trends
Only the best ideas and technologies can get absorbed in a mature product, and hence there needs to be some gap between the time a technology hits the headlines and the time it becomes useful in the enterprise space. SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) is one of the revolutionary trends coming on the line. The market is now demanding SOA compliant products which are thinner, efficient and can be easily interfaced with other third party products. This approach helps in extending the ERP beyond the scope of the chosen product. Other than this, Social networking has started to influence the User’s demands especially from Users who believe in building Customer’s and Supplier’s communities.

ESS has already incorporated these functionalities in limited form in current version of it is “ebizframe” ERP and is all set to launch the new version of ebizframe in Jan 2014 created around the SOA. This product will have all these “in-demand” functionalities in built. Besides incorporating the latest Technology trends, the new version has extremely powerful and interesting set of features which have been built based on User’s demands primarily. Certified with ISO 9001:2008, ESS has always been the trendsetter be it launching the ERP for SME space or launching India’s first web enabled ERP or taking its ERP to the African market successfully, the company is all set to change the way people look at their ERP and implementation.

Sanjay and his team believe that innovation has to come from various quarters to be relevant. Assessed at SEI CMM Level 5, innovation at ESS is largely driven by its employees and feedback from the customers. The development life cycles of large and complex products like ERPs are long and the Products need to chase the dynamic requirements set quickly enough. “If a Product company does not spend on R&D it is destined to die as a part of the Product Lifecycle. Fortunately, over the past many years, ESS has innovated continuously in all aspects, and has succeeded in being ahead of the curve at all times,” adds Sanjay.

Looking Ahead
Keeping customers happy in ERP space is not an easy task as the ERP system usage spreads across the entire organization and keeping so many users within an organization happy is no mean task. Coupled with this, when there is an expansion of operations spread across so many Customers, countries and Verticals, it needs a lot of maturity at the Product, Processes and Organization level to operate successfully. This to ESS is a big achievement being a mid-sized Software company. “I attribute this success to our customers who have supported us at all times and have continuously given us constructive feedback. I also credit our team of dedicated Managers who are empowered and encouraged to take operational decisions leaving the Top Management with Strategic decisions primarily. We look forward to grow more and more with support from our Customers, Employees and Partners” concludes Sanjay with a smile.