“In 1997, not many were talking about the Internet, but I have been an Internet enthusiast since the 1990s and wanted to improve lives by harnessing the power of digital. I started a digital agency that was mainly dedicated to web design. I started with multimedia CD-ROMs and then moved on to web design, as that was the need of the moment at the time,” says Thakkar.
The business flourished, but Thakkar realized the need to evolve every 5-6 years, considering the path the IT industry went through. “Every half decade, we try to find out if we are still relevant or if we are outdated. We continually seek to reinvent ourselves and keep up with the trend and in 2004 I started Shivaami. By 2012, I could sense that there would be a demand for cloud services and solutions and I got into the space. Initially people thought we were wasting our energy, but now we are reaping the benefits of investing in the right direction. We were probably one of the first companies to be listed as a cloud service company on the MCA portal,” says Thakkar.
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Today, the company is primarily a Google Cloud solutions provider, accounting for 90% of its business. “We specialize in Google Workspace and because we’ve been in business for so long, we’ve served over 15,000-16,000 customers. About 10% of our business includes AWS, Azure and other cloud services,” says Thakkar.
Promotion of digital transformation
While not a buzzword in 2012, Thakkar gradually realized that his company was helping clients on their digital transformation journey. Many companies wanted to have an online presence and use the power of digital in their workplace, and Thakkar was the one who enabled it.
Thakkar says that post-Covid, it has become easier for him to make a business case for digital transformation. “Before the pandemic, we were asking customers to adopt cloud solutions and embark on digital transformation. The post-pandemic situation is the opposite, where I don’t have the bandwidth to meet the increasing demand,” says Thakkar.
He adds that people have now understood the power of cloud computing. Thakkar says the pandemic forced people to be away from the office for a while and they realized the importance of doing work from home or anywhere else. “At the same time, they didn’t want to incur significant costs, and that’s where we played a huge role. There are many cases where we have helped companies optimize by saving close to 30% of their costs by moving from a capex (capex) to opex (operating) model and still do a better job of delivering of its services around the world. he adds.
With technology undergoing rapid changes post-Covid-19, Thakkar says customer needs have changed as well. For example, Thakkar says, while email across different solutions remains largely the same, the difference in collaboration tools, mobile device management and document sharing aspects is palpable post-pandemic. .
“Before the pandemic, it was okay to come into the office and go through your documents and have what you need on your desk. However, in the post-pandemic world, you need to be able to access your data anywhere. We help clients upgrade their email solutions to get started, but then progress to move everything from files, documents, and CRM solutions to the cloud. If, for example, a customer has an SAP system and wants to integrate it with the mail solution, we could provide an end-to-end service,” says Thakkar.
Transformation is an ongoing process, and as companies mature in digital adoption, their need for different solutions increases. Thakkar says that companies need help in this process.
A leading provider of integrated financial solutions dealing with startups, large enterprises, and retailers decided to try Shivaami to help store data. “We help our clients solve their growth capital and working capital challenges. Since we regularly process data, we were looking for a solution that would provide storage for our data. We were looking for an all-in-one solution for which we contacted Shivaami. As a Google Cloud Authorized Partner, they helped us by switching to Google Workspace, which resolved our storage issues. In addition, we got applications like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Chat for collaboration and content management,” says the organization’s spokesperson.
Chetana Chaudhari, CTO at Shivaami, says that with the hybrid work culture, the trend now is to give employees flexibility. “This, in the truest sense, is transformation, where work can happen from anywhere. A company’s digital journey in the cloud can be left to a service provider, while the company itself can focus on its core business. While customers in Western countries are better in their understanding of collaboration tools, customers in India need more help. In India, change management takes a lot of time,” says Chaudhari.
Needs can vary and an electromechanical equipment company was looking for a solution where their employees could access the necessary data without compromising security. “We were also looking for a collaboration and communication solution. We live in the digital age and everything has been digitized to save resources and increase work efficiency. Our company could improve productivity through digital transformation and also offer better services to our customers. As a result, we experienced a digital transformation to improve our business”, says the spokesperson for the machinery manufacturer.
powered by women
Thakkar’s company is also notable for its team composition. In the technology domain, where the ratio of men to women is generally skewed, around 80% of its workforce are women.
“This has been a conscious decision and in no small part is due to Chetana, the company’s CTO, who began her career after her maternity leave. We have always believed in providing opportunities for women who want to restart their careers and women who want to make a career in the IT sector,” says Priyanka Khanna, Chief Revenue Officer at Shivaami.
According to Chaudhari, bringing women into tech can do wonders in a male-dominated field. She adds that the company employs about 250 women at more than five locations. “I would like to add that we do not have any gender bias and this is simply a means to give women an opportunity. At the end of the day, everyone is equal in the organization,” says Chaudhari.
Khanna says that even the company’s leadership positions are dominated by women. “The clients we work with are impressed with our employee composition and many want to emulate it within their organization. Women are better at multitasking,” says Khanna.
Thakkar says a lot of emphasis is placed on employees having the right skills, and for that, on-the-job training is extremely important. “During the first 30 days, all employees go through a training and certification course. We have an internal training team that conducts daily sessions. We make sure that the employees who join us get the necessary certifications offered by companies like Google and AWS,” says Thakkar.
Khanna says that as a Google Cloud partner, the company can help clients with everything from email solutions to high-performance infrastructure for cloud computing. “Along with the GCP platform, we are also part of the hardware, which is Google Chromebooks, and we also help optimize SaaS solutions and provide security within the enterprise. Today, we provide end-to-end cloud solutions,” says Khanna.
This fiscal year, Shivaami expects a turnover of Rs 600 crore, which Thakkar says would be in line with the growth rates of the industry. “Looking at the market scenario after the war between Ukraine and Russia, many countries are facing a recession. In India, we have seen a bit of a drop in demand, but the challenge is that customers are now more cost conscious. Also, the funding winter for startups has meant smaller companies tighten their belts. Cloud adoption is happening, but the pace has slowed,” says Thakkar.