Tag Archives: India

TechMarathi wants tech articles in Marathi for their e-Diwali-ank 2016

TechMarathi.com is a sister site of PuneTech, that focuses on publishing technology articles in Marathi for the benefit of Marathi speaking population who would like to stay abreast of the latest in technology.

Every year, in the time-honoured tradition of Marathi periodicals, TechMarathi publishes a special Diwali online magazine for the the past 2 years. This year too TechMarathi is planning an online “e-Diwali Ank” – a Diwali Special “bumper” edition of articles.

If you are a techie who can write in Marathi, please consider contributing an article. The article can be humorous, informative, experience sharing, or a
short story. It can be an article, poem, cartoon, or any other form of content. You can even translate an existing English article to Marathe – even that can be quite valuable.

These are the submission guidelines:

  • The articles should be 200 words or more (there is no strict upper limits for length of longer articles.)
  • Send the articles in Unicode.
  • Send the articles to sampadak@techmarathi.com
  • You will receive acknowledgement in 24hrs. If you don’t receive it by that time please write to sampadak@techmarathi.com
  • All rights to approve articles for publishing will be with the committee appointed by TechMarathi, and their decision will be final.

If you have any questions or suggestions please write to us at sampadak@techmarathi.com

TechMarathi wants tech articles in Marathi for their e-Diwali-ank

TechMarathi.com is a sister site of PuneTech – a site that focuses on publishing technology articles in Marathi for the benefit of people who are not yet entirely comfortable in English, but would still like to stay abreast of the latest in technology.

This year, in the time-honoured tradition of Marathi periodicals, TechMarathi is planning a “Diwali Ank” – a Diwali Special “bumper” edition of articles.

If you are a techie who can write in Marathi, please consider contributing an article. You can even translate an existing English article to Marathi – even that can be quite valueable.

The article can be humorous, informative, experience sharing, or a short story. It can be an article, poem, cartoon, or any other form of content. Please send short articles of about 250-300 words, or longer ones of 400-500 words.

Please get in touch with pallavi@techmarathi.com for details.

The end of the Indian IT Industry as we know it? -by @akkiman

(This article by Akshay Damle was first published on his blog and is reproduced here with permission for the benefit of PuneTech readers.)

Over the past couple few weeks, I have been reading & thinking about the salary hikes that the companies are doling out. This year, it has been challenging to provide “good” pay hikes to most of the employees and most of them are ending up feeling disappointed, cheated even. There were even dharnas staged because companies could not fulfil their promises of hiring them after graduation.

There was a time in the early – 2000s when the IT industry was the sunrise sector in India. 20+ % pay hikes were very common for even above average performers in organizations. This behaviour carried on till 2008-09 when the global financial crisis unleashed itself. The financial crisis affected most mid to senior level employees and things changed for most of them. Even during this time, young graduates (<3-5 years of experience) would still consistently get “good” pay hikes. They were given to prevent them from jumping ship as the key to success was having good quality resources in your organization and also because it didn’t affect the bottom line much.

The last 1 year has been tough on the Indian IT sector Most companies are reporting flat growth, squeezed margins, and record low utilization levels. A few of the companies have reported that they may not hike their employee’s salary. Most of them are providing single digit pay hikes, quite a departure from the past. Most companies are also reporting record low attrition levels (<5 %). So what has changed? What has suddenly gone so wrong ?

In my opinion, quite a few things have gone wrong. Note that I’m no industry expert: :

The failure of the Indian IT industry to move from performing standard grunt work (Services) to innovation.

Initially, performing “outsourcing” work for global companies in India was highly lucrative. What with low labour costs, low infrastructure costs, and therefore high margins. The failure of these companies was to not divert these profits into more R&D work and instead hiring more and more grads to work on such projects. The “good” raises & hiring by the thousands meant that the margins reduced, quality reduced. The effect was that many of these global companies started moving projects out of India to other lucrative countries like China, Philipines, etc.

Proliferation of sub-standard engineering colleges across India.

Most of the folks in India were enamoured with the wealth that the early IT folk acquired. Everyone had a house (or two), a car, flashy lifestyles etc. Therefore, there was a demand across Bharat to become engineers and move to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Gurgaon and get into big IT organizations. This meant that engineering colleges multiplied overnight and there were millions of new IT graduates. Most of the big IT companies had such huge requirements that most of them could fulfil this supply of hiring these engineering grads. What most didn’t realize is that it takes years & years of experience before a college can be considered good. You require land, infrastructure, good professors, excellent equipment to be able to impart quality education to students. Most colleges ended up producing half-baked graduates ready to take on the IT world. This has been the failing for many companies & colleges. What makes things worse is that most Universities are very slow to adapt their syllabus. In a fast-moving world of technology, this is a death-knell.

Near constant starting salaries

Ever since I graduated in 2001, the starting salary of an IT graduate has remained more or less the same. Most engineering students from the cities do not accept such salaries but then they have a choice of moving out for further education to the US, etc. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for most of the folks coming in from middle India. Additionally, 2.5 lakhs p.a. is lucrative for most of these graduates. Most big IT companies are also more than happy to keep this salary constant for the past so many years. So what we now have are sub-standard quality graduates along with folks who are paid less. Not a good thing at all.

Rising costs & degrading urban infrastructure

This isn’t a direct reason for the downfall of the Indian IT but most of these jobs & companies contributed extensively to the tax-revenues of states, and the centre. Unfortunately, this did not translate to quality infrastructure in these urban wastelands. The accompanying real-estate boom & high inflationary rates have ensured that the cost of living increases quite a lot each year & house rentals are on an all-time high. Many of the new young graduates stay far away from the city in order to make rent. This all affects the quality of work.

Increasing credit debt

It’s absolutely sad to see many of these young graduates caught up in credit card debts. There was a time around 8 years back when credit cards were doled out to IT workers as if they were visiting cards. I have seen quite a few colleagues who are stuck in credit card debts, personal loans, etc. Leave aside owning a home, they are struggling to make payments. At the same time, everyone wants the flashy phone, the flashy clothes, good food, etc. It’s appalling to note that many workers don’t even know how Income tax is calculated! So when these guys are offered single digit pay hikes especially when they’ve seen some seniors in the past get 20%+ pay hikes, they are disappointed and get unmotivated. To make matters worse, they can’t switch jobs because no one is hiring at that experience level. This all translates to poor quality of work.

It isn’t all a bad thing though. Many companies have started seeing the big picture and involved in improving their bottom lines. They have started investing more & more into innovation. Some colleges at the top-tier are changing their syllabus on a yearly basis. Also if you can innovate in your job, you still have multiple growth opportunities. Most folks are unaware of the emerging technologies, market trends, global financial news, etc. This is extremely vital if you want to grow in your role. If this is followed, many can still reap the financial rewards and grow. If this isn’t followed, sadly the IT industry isn’t the utopia that it was made out to be.

I’ll end this by saying that there is still hope but yes, the Indian IT industry isn’t what it used to be.

About the Author – Akshay Damle

Akshay Damle is a Pune-based technology enthusiast. During the day, he manages teams that are involved in building scalable payment systems infrastructure. He has over 11 years of experience in building enterprise applications. His interests are following emerging technology trends, current affairs, finance & general knowledge. You can follow him on twitter @akkiman.

Phanindra Sama, CEO & Co-Founder redBus.in to speak in Pune – 16 Sept

redBus.in is a truly Indian internet commerce success story. Nowhere else can I imagine a website that sells bus tickets being so successful. And, to be frank, when I first heard about redBus, I did not think much of its prospects myself. Hence I think it will be very interesting for the tech as well as the entrepreneur community in Pune to listen to the co-founder and CEO of redBus.in on 16th September when he talks about his story so far, as part of TiE Pune’s excellent “My Story” series of talks.

A similar session, My Story by Carwale.com’s Mohit Dubey is one of my favorite tech events in Pune this year, and I loved the advice he gave. That is why I have high hopes from this event.

Here is TiE Pune’s description of this event:

“From a single idea to India’s largest bus ticketing company, redBus is an entrepreneurial success story with resonance around the world. It remains compelling proof that a young visionary with a strong engineering background can use technology and insight to create a competitive business and transform an industry.”

Founded in Aug. 2006, redBus today has operations across 15 states and offers services for 15,000+ routes and has built relationship with about 850+ bus operators.

redBus is amongst Forbes top 5 startups to watch in 2010. redBus is ranked no#1 – with a growth rate of 4823% between 2007-’09 – amongst the fastest growing companies in India in a survey done by All World Network. And is also awarded India’s best internet startup, 2010 by IMAI.

Phani is ranked no# 3 amongst India’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs by Business World. He was awarded Entrepreneur of the year award under IT, ITES category by ET NOW and the BITSAA 30 under 30 award. He is also selected as Endeavor Entrepreneur (www.endeavor.org) and TiE Entrepreneur (www.tie.org).

He was a State ranker in Intermediate examination, Andhra Pradesh Sr. Secondary Board, graduated with distinction from BITS-Pilani, and worked with Texas Instruments, Bangalore before he co-founded redBus.

About TiE Pune My Story Sessions!

“My Story – Inspiring Journey of an Entrepreneur”

This program is created to celebrate entrepreneurship and bring stories from successful entrepreneurs in their own words. The invited speakers will share their entrepreneurial journeys and talk about lessons learned, mistakes they wish they avoided, and key decisions that helped make their venture successful.

Fees and Registration

The event is from 6pm to 8pm on 16 September at the Sumant Moolgaonkar Auditorium, Ground Floor, Wing A, ICC Trade Center, SB Road.

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Please register here

IPMA Event: Product Management Challenges Unique to the Indian Environment

IPMA Pune, the Pune Chapter of the Indian Product Manager’s Association, presents a talk by Vivek Tuljapurkar, this Friday, from 5pm to 7pm, at BMC Software, Tower A, ICC Tech Park, SB Road.

More details.

Product Management Challenges Unique to the Indian Environment

Indian software industry is experiencing explosive growth beyond its core offering in software services. MNCs are giving their India operations greater responsibility towards product management, Indian software companies are being asked to take additional responsibilities towards requirements management and product management, and the legendary Indian entrepreneurial spirit is in full bloom with many startups looking to launch new products.

The Indian environment, like any other, presents certain unique challenges towards product management. There is much commonality to the challenges that are faced by various types of businesses, whether you are an MNC, Indian services company, or a product startup. This seminar aims to discuss various current and upcoming challenges and also possible solutions and is a must for those practicing or aspiring to practice product management.

About the Speaker – Vivek Tuljapurkar

Vivek Tuljapurkar is a management consultant based in Pune. He has held various positions in the past such as Managing Director of Avaya, CEO of Ruksun Software Technologies, Global Product Portfolio Manager at IBM, and Product Portfolio and Line of Business Manager at Eaton Corp. Vivek has twelve technological “firsts” to his credit, has been an advisor or consultant to numerous governments and Fortune 500 companies, and has taught at various prestigious universities in the USA and India. Vivek mentors startups via IIM-A MentorEdge program and Power of Ideas initiative.

Detailed Agenda

  • 4.45 pm – Registrations and Networking
  • 5.00 pm – Opening Remarks
  • 5:15 pm – Talk by Vivek
  • 6:30 pm – Q&A
  • 6.45 pm – Demo of some cool tools for Product Managers (Knowledge Sharing)
  • 7.00 pm – Closing Remarks

About IPMA

India Product Management Association (IPMA) is a not-for-profit, voluntary, grassroots organization. IPMA Mission is to Foster Product Design and Innovation and Catalyze Product Management/Marketing Talent in India across software, mobile, hardware, telecommunications sectors in the IT industry. IPMA organizes knowledge sharing and networking forums such as Monthly Speaker Series, Workshops, P-Camps etc for professionals interested in product management and marketing. IPMA operate chapters in major product hubs across India and for more information about upcoming events, visit indiapma.org

  • Twitter: @indiapma
  • LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr: Search for “India Product Management Association”
  • IPMA Membership Registration: http://indiapma.org/membership
  • Event Registration: http://ipmapunejune11.eventbrite.com

Fees and Registration

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Please register here

RuralRelations.com – harnessing IT to help villages

Gandhiji once said India lives in her villages. The current times see a march towards converting the villages into industry land rather than sustaining the essence of villages with new technology. Pune based Pradeep Lokhande, who himself hails from Wai village (Satara), decided to dream big and reach out to the villages to realise his dreams. The result, Rural Relations, is an organisation that harnesses IT to develop villages.

Lokhande went about the basics alongs the lines of the Mahatma again:

“I embarked on a journey of discovery, to find out what constitutes the real India. Though I myself hail from a village, I knew that deep down there’s more to life than what I had seen or lived myself. I wanted to know the essence of the various traditions, cultures and soak in its thinking. It was a journey of 40,000 villages of which I have personally visited 4000, across the country. I tried to understand rural India’s administration methodologies, markets or the bazaar-haat systems and the process of the education system. In the process of my journey, I established direct contact with opinion makers in villages and started recording obscure details of the local economy. And in 1996, I made my first customers, Tata Tea and Parle to delve in the data that I had collected. Since then there has been no turning back.”

After that, Lokhande decided to take the computer revolution to the villages. The intention was not to make computer literates of people but at least to get them to touch, feel and try computers. So he began to install used computers in villages, particularly in secondary schools, where the interest and curiosity levels were very high. When he personally could not find the means and finance to provide infrastructure, he appealed to individuals, organizations and corporates to contribute used machines. Today he has been instrumental in installing 600 computers across 540 villages.

What I found most interesting in Lokhande’s philosophy was the concept of the Non-resident Villager, which he has turned into a movement to raise ideas, funds and hands for development. The idea is to get people from cities to adopt a village (typically a village that they have some past connection to), and use this network of NRVs to help the villages. “Each one of us is an NRV, for our roots do, in some way, come from the villages. So as an NRV, we can always reach out, support and contribute something to the development of rural India.” says Lokhande and it rings really true. This is a concept which is in tune with the concept of the NRI and offers a person a chance to lend a helping hand to what once gave him a life, if not in this generation, then to the generations before that. Roots matter, in India at least.

Those interested in participating in the NRV scheme can get in touch at nrv@ruralrelations.com.

Lokhande has more active concepts in execution under Rural Relations. Take a look at his next concept, Village Developers, these are over 300 trained local village youths across 9 states and most of them are connected with mobile phones and emails to facilitate all ground activities.

Or the concept of rural marketing he employs called The Rural Barometer, which is ‘experience backed by cutting-edge technology’; live, dynamic, and regular information, by region and by state, which is subscription-based to help understand the villager like never before, gain valuable insights, learn about competition, distribution and empowers one to forecast trends. Large multinationals like Hindustan Lever, Reuters, and even Microsoft have used Rural Relations’ expertise in this area.

Then there is the library movement, the Gyan-Key, which makes a library in every rural secondary school a reality. It is a unique concept – a library of the students, for the students and by the students. The library will be run by one of the girls (Gyan-Key monitor) from that village studying in class VI. Each library to start with will have minimum 150-200 books in that local language covering various subjects. To instil a sense of ownership, students will be encouraged to donate books, (regardless of their value) for ‘their’ library on their birthday, creating a feeling of belonging. The Rural Talent division is a talent bank endeavour for the villages under the umbrella.

Lokhande himself is “from very humble background” he claims and has done his graduation B.Com externally and admits to have “taken a less travelled path”. His proportions for investment of time and money are as clear as his concepts for development, “After 2000, I have been investing 40% for business, 40% for professional social activity & 20% for teaching”

I had a curiosity to find what he considered the greatest achievement ever since Lokhande started Rural Relations? To be sure, he has a clear and ready answer to that too. “In professional achievement, it’s a case study on rural relations in Philip Kotler’s book and in personal & social achievement – I have more than 6,00,000 letters from villagers & the satisfaction I see in the eyes of the students from rural areas.”

He has a team in place to handle the essentials, 13 people in office staff & 31
associates as village developers.

So Lokhande, where do you see yourself five years down the lane?

“Our goal for the next 5 years is to reach to all feeder villages of India, create 5,000 videos of changing villages & minimum 10,000 Gyan-Key libraries”

Ambitious? Not at all, if there is a will, there is not just one way, but many.

Should businesses in India innovate, imitate of adapt technology?

Entrepreneurs, investors, government agencies, domestic companies & MNC executives in India need to think beyond “hi-tech” ventures and creation of IP and should focus instead of adapting existing technologies for Indian needs, points out Kaushik Gala in a new essay he published on his website. Kaushik is a Business Development Manager at Pune-based startup incubator Venture Center, so he does spend a lot of time talking to and thinking about all the players of our technology and startup ecosystem mentioned in the first sentence of this paragraph.

Kaushik Gala, Business Development Manager
Kaushik Gala, Business Development Manager at Venture Center occasionally writes essays on issues related to startups and small businesses in India. Click on the photo to see more of his essays, and his website

The whole article is definitely worth reading, and we give here a few excerpts from the article to whet your appetite:

So, will hi-tech entrepreneurs & startups drive economic growth & wealth creation in India? Consider this assertion by economist John Kay:

Advancing technology is the principal determinant of economic growth for the twenty or so rich countries of the world. However most of the world is well inside that technological frontier. For these countries, prospects of economic growth depend little on technology and principally on advances in their economic, political and social infrastructure.

Over the two centuries of rapid economic growth in rich states, the pattern has been for one or two countries to join the group of advanced states every decade or two. In the last fifty years or so these new members of the rich list include Italy, Finland and Ireland within Europe and the first Asian economies (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore) to operate at this technological frontier.

Later, he points out that there are three kinds of tech startups in India: 1) Technology innovators (who are creating new IP at the cutting edge of science & technology), 2) Technology imitators (who are reverse engineering technology from elsewhere and implementing a copy here), and 3) Technology adapters (who take a foreign technology, and then adapt it to Indian conditions. This usually involves significant changes, and there’s usually a key piece of (non-technology) innovation required to make it successful locally).

He gives this example of technology adaption:

My favorite example is Sarvajal. They sell clean drinking water – but with many twists:

  • They’ve developed a (patent pending!) device called Soochak which combines existing water purification technology with cloud computing.
  • Their innovative ‘distributed’ business model uses pre-payment, franchising, branding, etc. to make it profitable to sell relatively affordable water to remote rural areas.
  • Success for Sarvajal is as much – or more – dependent on understanding the psychology of rural customers and village entrepreneurs (franchisees) as it is on the technology.

Kaushik ends by saying that while all three avatars of technology enterprises are required for wealth creation in India, being an adopter/adapter in India offers far more opportunities to excel.

Read the full article. Highly recommended.

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TechMarathi Event: Trends in Java; How to type in Marathi – 19 June

What: TechMarathi kickoff lecture, featuring technology trends with Harshad Oak, and introduction to typing in Marathi using Baraha, Quillpad, Google Transliterator, and Lipikaar
When: Saturday, 19 June, 4pm-7pm
Where: Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research, Atur Centre, Model Colony. Map.
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all. Register here

TechMarathi is a special interest group of PuneTech and focuses on bringing the latest tech information to students and professionals in Marathi. Click on the logo to see all PuneTech articles about TechMarathi
TechMarathi is a special interest group of PuneTech and focuses on bringing the latest tech information to students and professionals in Marathi. Click on the logo to see all PuneTech articles about TechMarathi

Trends In Software Development For The Java Platform.

Harshad Oak is the founder of Rightrix Solutions & editor of http://IndicThreads.com and the author of 3 books and several articles on Java technology. For his contributions to technology and the community, he has been recognized as an Oracle ACE Director and a Sun Java Champion.

Harshad will talk in Marathi about what the next 5 years have in store for the Java Platform

How to type (email, blog, doc etc.) in Marathi?

Mandar Vaze has 15+ years of experience in IT industry. He is currently working as Senior Module Lead at Avaya India. Mandar will talk about how to type in Marathi using Baraha, or Quillpad, or Google Transliterate

Using Lipikaar to type in Marathi

Lipikaar is a Pune-based startup that takes a very different approach to typing in Marathi. It uses a “sms-style” typing rules, and they claim this is much easier for people who are not very comfortable with English, compared to the other styles of marathi typing.

Neha Gupta and Praman Shetye of the Lipikaar team will talk about the how and why of Lipikaar.

About TechMarathi

http://TechMarathi.com is a forum that aims to bring all information about software technology in Marathi to technology professionals who are still more comfortable with Marathi than English. The website contains articles that are translations into Marathi from sources all over the world, and also original Marathi content. TechMarathi also holds technology events where the primary language is Marathi.

TechMarathi was started by Nikhil Kadadi and Pallavi Kelkar and is a Special Interest Group of PuneTech.

Internet Traffic Tracking and Measurement

comScore Search Ratings, Dec. 2005-2006, Live,...
Image by dannysullivan via Flickr

(As the web upgrades to web-2.0, it becomes a difficult challenge to figure out the value of companies that are serving this market. Since most web-2.0 companies are in an early stage of their evolution, they can’t be measured on the basis of the revenues they are earning. Instead, one needs to guess at the future earnings based on measuring the thing that they’ve currently managed capture – i.e. the number and demographics of visitors, and the amount of attention they are paying to the site. Pune-based entrepreneur Vibhushan Waghmare, who has co-founded a marketing analytics startup, MQuotient, gives us an overview of this space, points out some problems, and wonders if there is an opportunity for some entrepreneur to step in and provide solutions.)


A good product or service will always attract appreciation and success, but what will make it stand out from crowd and fetch the premium is knowledge of exactly how good it is from the rest. Qualitative strategy decisions are important to set the direction, but real numbers and insights from these numbers are required to actually know how fast/slow is one moving in that direction and how far it is from the target.

This applies to online internet businesses as well. As against the established brick-and-mortar businesses which are driven primarily by monetary profitability, evolving online businesses have been searching for the parameters to judge and measure the success or failure of the business.

A few days before the Dot Com bust (of early 2000s) happened, we had seen how internet companies’ valuation shot off the roof based on parameters like eyeballs they generated – and hypothetically – could be monetized. We had ExciteAtHome paying $780 million for BlueMountain.com, an online greeting cards company with 11 million monthly visitors and negligible revenues (which was sold to American Greetings after 2 years for just $35 million!). Back then, page-hits on the servers was what each site measured and investors bought into.

Today we are into web2.0 world, and parameters for measuring success of online business have also evolved to 2.0 version. Before the Lehman Brothers folded up their shop, we had valuations of these socionets soaring to astronomical levels – all based on the unique users they can generate. Page-hits have given way to page-views per unique user, and now we talk about more evolved and derived parameters like unique users visiting the site and time spent by each unique user on the website. With the ghosts of Dot Com bust not yet laid to rest, investors and entrepreneurs are much more cautious and are becoming scientific in tracking and measuring the internet traffic. Still every now and then, we keep getting news about socionets with their latest 2.0 apps being chased by good money because of their platform of involved users, although all that they do there is poke each other and take up a challenge of some random quiz. We all know the problems giants like Google are facing when it comes to monetizing a socionet like Orkut.com. Economists have predicted 8 of the last 5 economic meltdowns, and I don’t want to sound like one. I just want to point out to you the issues faced by online businesses today.

User Panel based traffic estimation

I was reminded of these measurement arguments when last weekend I attended an interesting talk organized by Pune OpenCoffee Club. We had owner of a reputed online gaming portal talking about the kind of traffic his games attract. He used comScore extensively to compare himself in the online gaming world and stated that getting into the top 5 of the comScore list of online gaming sites worldwide is the target he has set for himself. (I don’t know whether the list was of page views or unique users these gaming sites are generating). Definitely a great target to chase!

Image representing comScore as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

While comScore does provide an elaborate analysis of the website traffic and is considered a standard worldwide, before we set our business targets based on it, we need to understand the methodology used for this tracking. comScore has a panel of around 2 million internet users worldwide (16,000 in India) and these users install monitoring software from comScore on their computers. This monitoring software is used to determine which websites are being visited by these users, and how much time they are spending on each site. comScore then uses extensive statistical methods to extrapolate these numbers to the behaviour of all the users (not just comScore’s user panel). More details on methodology are here). They have elaborate analysis like time spent by each user, IP tracking, repeating users, incoming and outgoing traffic and many more such details.

But what needs to be noticed is the fact that comScore excludes traffic from cyber-cafes and users under age 15. For India, I am sure that is a sizable mass of internet users. And when it comes to activities like online gaming, I am afraid, absolute numbers shown by comScore might be drastically away from the reality. Cyber cafe still remains an important point of access for Indians and excluding this traffic can result in misleading conclusions. Internet is being taught in schools and at least in cities, school kids are using internet extensively for both studies and entertainment purposes. In such situation, excluding users under age 15 might not always provide the best traffic numbers, especially for activity like online gaming.

Image representing Alexa as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

The other good bet in terms of tracking online traffic is Alexa.com. Alexa again, is a panel research based on the information gathered through a browser toolbar that their panel of users download and install in their browser. However in over more than a decade that I have spent on internet, I have not seen a single browser with Alexa toolbar. Apart from the high-end users of internet, I wonder if an average internet user would actually go to www.alexa.com and download and install their toolbar.

There are some other tracking and measurement services available, but mostly it has been Alexa and comScore who are quoted for such purposes.

One can argue that both comScore and Alexa work based on a random sample and hence same error in reporting would appear across traffic measurement for all sites. Given this, Alexa and comScore can be reliably used to compare two internet destinations or to detect any deviation from normal trend. However for absolute numbers, I guess there is lot more needed to be done.

For developed countries where most of the traffic originates from home, school or offices and very less from cyber cafes, these numbers might work, but for India with its huge cyber cafe traffic, I guess a more extensive tracking system is required. Cyber cafes continue to be important point of access, often the only access point in tier II and III cities. I have seen young school kids flocking these cyber cafes which serve more as gaming parlours; parents creating matrimony profiles of their children with the help of assistant (generally the owner) at the cyber cafe; and young college students playing pranks on their friends through Orkut and also getting their first experience to mature content over internet. comScore is missing this traffic by excluding cyber cafes.

Although this traffic might not be very huge in terms of absolute numbers, general observation is that these new users of internet (who learn how to use internet in cyber cafes) are more likely to click on ads as online behaviour has not matured to differentiate an online advertisement from a genuine article. I once saw a school kid trying to fill up a life insurance form because the advertisement offered some lucky draw prize on filling the form (Of course he never completed the form for the lack of PAN number :-)). This audience would be of the least interest to all the online advertisers and brands since they hardly convert into any transaction; however these would be the guys who would most likely click on all those online advertisements and hence form important part of the online advertisement industry.

Is there an entrepreneurship opportunity here

I am sure that all hosting servers do have the exact numbers about traffic coming to them, however key is in profiling this traffic and consolidating and analysing this information into useful insights. Quite often websites who try to track and measure their traffic resort to putting javascripts on their pages for this purpose. This adds to page-weight and slows down the site, a significant problem in country like India where high-speed broadband is still a luxury. These efforts give reasonable tracking and measurement of traffic from server side alone. However to prove the worthiness of traffic generated by website, system needs to track the demographic details of this traffic. System should provide information about the age, education profile, income level and other details in which advertisers and investors would be interested. Of course proxy variables need to be used for this tracking along with all the principles of market research and with due care of privacy of the user. Also the system should be encompassing enough to take care of diversity in internet usage as we see in India and in developed western countries and also in non-English speaking countries.

Creating such a tracking and measurement system for India would need investment, and given the current level of online advertisement spends in the country it needs to be analyzed whether this investment is justified.
Do you guys see an entrepreneurship opportunity in this?

About the author – Vibhushan Waghmare

Vibhushan is a co-founder of MQuotient, a Pune-based startup that uses cutting-edge quantitative analytics and mathematical modeling to build software products for marketing analytics, and in general deliver solutions for enterprise marketing challenges. Before co-founding MQuotient, Vibhushan was managing the Search product at Yahoo! India. He is an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and an Electrical Engineer from REC, Nagpur. He has also held positions with Amdocs & Cognizant Technology Solutions. Check out his blog, his linked-in page, or his twitter page for more about him.

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How is the Indian IT industry handling the recession – facts and figures from NASSCOM

Ganesh Natarajan, CEO of Zensar, and President of NASSCOM, gave a talk last week about how the Indian IT/ITES industry is tackling the recession. It was full of facts and figures about the state of the industry, and the initiatives that are being taken by NASSCOM. This talk was given during the IndicThreads conference on Java technologies. I’ve already included this in my overall report on the IndicThreads Conference, but thought that it was interesting enough and important enough to warrant a post on its own.

The basic point he made was that we are not going to affected as badly as the rest of the world because of the following reasons:

  • We had already been tightening the belt for almost an year now, so we are in much better shape to handle the recession than those who weren’t being so prudent
  • We are creating new products, tackling new verticals, and focusing on end-to-end service (and these claims were all backed by facts and figures), and this diversification and added value makes us resilient

And he spent a lot of time pointing out that to do even better, or primary focus needs to be the tier 2 / tier 3 cities, 43 of which have been identified by NASSCOM and whose developement will get some attention. Also, our tier 2 / tier 3 colleges are sub-par and a lot of work is needed to improve the quality of students graduating from there. NASSCOM has started a number of initiatives to tackle this problem.

His full presentation with a whole bunch of interesting graphs, facts and figures from NASSCOM is here. Definitely worth checking out.