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CIO Review >> Magazine >> November - 2015 issue

Srijan: Using Agile to Unleash the Potential of Drupal for the Enterprise, and Product Development

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Founded in 2002, Srijan is synonymous with Drupal, an open source content management platform. Today Srijan is the largest pure-play Drupal company in Asia with over 130 employees in five India locations and a US office. But about five years ago, the company was challenged with issues related to project overruns, that had a direct impact on profitability as well as quality. That’s when, Rahul Dewan, CEO of Srijan, set out to transform the company by adopting Agile processes and lean thinking. Today, all of Srijan’s projects are on Agile, and the company has evolved mature processes that enable it to deliver the most complex projects to great customer satisfaction. Among its clients are OnCorps, TUI, Zoho, Cleartrip, Open, Vogue, Getit, HT Media, Oxfam and many others.

Rapid Prototyping for Product Development
One of the key areas in which companies seek out Srijan’s service is for outsourced product development. This is because a Minimum Viable Product approach using lean thinking and Agile processes becomes key to ensure that the right product is developed, as against a product being developed right. Companies look for development teams that not only have great expertise in technologies, but also for the value they are able to create by engaging in debates and discussions on what features should be developed. This means the development team has to fully understand the client’s business and then bring their online business perspective into play to develop products that are right for the target users.

Srijan has been engaged in product development with several companies enabling them to launch products early, test viability, raise funding, find paying customers, or pivot the product. These clients find it immensely valuable to have an Agile team that lets them figure out the product viability very early on, instead of taking the waterfall approach and finding out many months later. Srijan’s Rapid Prototyping approach helps companies build prototypes in just six weeks.

Srijan has built a platform to enable legal transcription workflows. It has built communities for thought leadership, volunteering and surveys. And is also building a market place for Malaysia.

Drupal for Large Enterprises
Another key area that Srijan is focused on is to help large global enterprises solve critical problems within their IT software setups. Srijan is now helping companies engaged in consumer packaged goods, air ticketing, office stationery, travel and tourism, etc.

Srijan works in the Agile model to develop applications that simplify or improve existing workflows related to enterprise software such as ERP, e-commerce, CRM, HR management systems, POS, PIM, etc. Srijan is working on integrations with mailing solutions and big marketing platforms as well.

Srijan’s expertise is in Drupal, and encourages its people to contribute to the rapidly growing community worldwide. Among Srijan’s employees are many who are recognized as mentors, speakers and leaders for various initiatives related to Drupal.

Srijan is also now actively developing its JavaScript to drive its Headless Drupal practice which uses Drupal as the backend, and emerging new powerful technologies for the front end. Srijan is also focused on its Ruby on Rails practice and implementations for Internet of Things.

Releasing Own New Products
While Srijan has been engaged in developing products and applications for its customers, the company has also built its own products or platforms that are now being used in various media houses and enterprises. For example, SARUS is an SEO-friendly continuous scroll framework that helps media websites serve their content as a single scroll. This is great for mobile consumption and improves reader engagement. Srijan has also released TRRYBE, its Drupal distribution for video libraries. This is being used by HR teams in enterprises to streamline training content.

The Way Ahead for Indian IT Industry
Srijan is largely focused in the US and has clients across the world. From large enterprises to product start-ups, from worldwide NGOs to large media houses, from marketing portals for travel to global travel companies, Srijan has a wide range of clients.

Rahul believes that the entire software industry of India has to overcome the perception that we are a nation of code monkeys. By doing low-end jobs or doing what we are told to do, we will not be able to overcome that perception. “We have to empower our engineering teams to be able to discuss business angles to a product, as well as the technical ones. And for that we have to enable work cultures that encourage debate and discussion,” he says. While Srijan, like some other companies has been doing just that, it is time for more companies to come forward and create work cultures that empower their people to create value for the clients. Following Agile practices gives us the way for that, he says.