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As enterprises and markets spent billions in Data Analytics, (energized further by the recent buzz word “Big Data”); it begs some key questions –

– Does more data and deeper analytics guarantee business effectiveness?

– Faster processing, lead to meaningful and business enabling consumption?

– In the wake of Big Data, do larger data foot prints necessarily help organizations?

Limitation of human cognizance to consume voluminous data, inhibits enterprises to act coherently due to diverse understanding of the same data/analyses by different stakeholders. This is particularly true in distributed, global and heterogeneous organizations.

J Ramachandran, Co-founder and CEO Gramener

J Ramachandran, Co-founder and CEO Gramener

Despite the investment in data and analytics, all of the above are sure signs of the existence of an “Analytics Chasm” in enterprises. The single factor which is most pronounced in this phenomenon is lack of simple tools to represent data in a manner for all stakeholders to understand coherently. Gramener uses their innovative data visualization solutions to help businesses consume data for actionable insights.

Gramener is founded by a set of industry leaders with proven track record of developing and delivering technology for truly international customers across diverse industry verticals. We catch up with J Ramachandran, co-founder & CEO to understand more about the startup.

Story behind the Startup

Gramener enhances the ROI of data analytics itself, since enterprises start acting on insights by virtue of their improved understanding.  Many customers realize business benefits in less than 10 days.

“The company was registered in 2010, but 2011 was used to develop our own proprietary software. We entered the market towards the end of 2011 and over the past 2 years,Gramener has over 35 customers. Gramener’s solutions were chosen by our customers, despite their investment in Analytics tools and their multimillion dollar IT outsourcing relationships with big technology vendors. It is true even today that Gramener co-exist with many other IT/Software giants at the various customer engagements “, says Ram.

Gramener has won several awards including – First 50 Global Companies to watch for from IDC, Top 100 in Red Herring Asia and NASSCOMM Emerge 50.

Marketing Techniques and USP of Gramener

[pullquote align=”right”]Even today, we spend very little on marketing and sales. This is a decision which could have an impact on growth, but we were clear that we want to build a robust offering and a few deep customer relationships before we spend too much sales and marketing.[/pullquote] The startup took a very conscious decision to conserve their marketing dollars till they were ready with a proven offering.  The only marketing tools the startup used were to come up with Visualizations that are very unique and very eye-catching. (For example, Cricket, Elections,IMDB etc.) In addition to this, the founders started giving talks/lectures at some carefully chosen occasions from where they could get good traction.” The only Sales dollars we have spent are for the travel of the founding members. In the first 2 years,we chose solidity of the solutions over growth, but today we are poised to spend Sales/Marketing dollars since we have a proven solution & marquee customers as reference accounts.”, says Ram.

Since Gramener does both Analytics and Visualizations, it can be argued all the players in this space create entry barriers for Gramener. However, Gramener coexists with the competition and also there are instances where Gramener solutions are preferred over these big vendors. While the existing good products/solutions in visualization cater to analyst communities in the customer organizations, Gramener visualizations are inclusive in nature, that is; the context and the insights are understood by one and all; irrespective of their skill levels or functional roles.

Challenges faced and Cracking the first 5 Sales

On being asked about the challenges faced, Ram gives us pretty candid response –

One of our big challenges in the first 2 years have been to recruit people with the type of skill sets which we needed – a combination of Visual Design, Statistics, Programming and understanding of diverse industry problems. This combination of skills were not readily available in the market. The founding members had to stretch themselves in the first few customer engagements to institutionalize whatever we did for a specific customer to become a part of a repeatable delivery process. However, very quickly we started developing our own training and delivery methodology combining all aspects of theskills which we were looking for. Though it was a very hard choice to make – to invest the money and time to train everyone on the Gramener Methodology; it is paying off today. Our employees irrespective of their skills sets at the time of recruiting – after training, brings the differentiated value to our customers in a very short period of time and consistently across all engagements.

All the customers for Gramener have been acquired using the simple technique of engaging them with rapid solution for a bounded, small and a specific business problem. Gramener solves these problem at a rapid pace (less than 5 days), and customers get to see insights in a new light – using visualizations. This awareness of the potential of visualizations, helps Gramener to enhance the scope of the customer engagements to create deeper relationships.

Near Future Plans

” Gramener will focus on 2 aspects – developing some of the existing relationships into larger revenue base through Account Management Principles and also we will start investing in Sales/Markeing to enter US Geographies. The latter, we will do both with direct entry into the US market and with combined strength of our OEM/Service Partners.”, says Ram.

Being a startup in Big Data Analytics, we ask Ram on his thoughts around growth of Big Data. “While there is a lot of excitement around Big Data and the industry is also poised for rapid growth (both for products and services); the veritable bane of tumultuous growth will impact all. Collection, Analyses and Presentation of Big Data will provide ample scope for the customers and the technology providers; however it will entail a few hits and misses before it matures.Industry will muddle through a few buzz words, flash-in-the-pan trends and non-quantifiable ROI before it matures and become efficient. But that essentially is the nature of such discontinuities technology growth”, signs off Ram.

TTP’s take on Gramener

Gramener aims at every one using big data to arrive at conclusions, not only analysts. That perhaps explains the reason for it’s co-existence along with other products in the same domain. While we often hear hiring crisis in startups, Ram’s explanation of Gramener’s challenges in hiring and their solution to train people in house is indeed commendable.  We wish Gramener team all the very best!


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