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Nov 5

Written by: Raghu Pandey
05/11/2009 21:33  RssIcon

In part one of this story I narrated how we started off with the product model and managed to get our first customer for our software product called “Informer”, and how we had to dump the whole thing. In part two I’ll tell you how we managed to convert our proposition into a web service. Honestly speaking, during those days I sometimes used to feel like Robinson Crusoe :D


Well, it didn’t take much time for the Gyan to dawn upon us that its got to be a web based service. After all if the clients need 24x7 access to the software and they can’t maintain the server at their end, SaaS is the obvious way out. It was Dec 2006 and our to-do list was pretty clear – get a server, a good broadband connection, a ups, register a website name.. and we are done! But unfortunately that needed money (how unfair).


Call it serendipity or the benefit of marketing ‘Informer’, we received a call from the office of the then vice-chancellor of technical univ of MP, Prof. P.B.Sharma, to work upon his pet project called ‘KU’ (Knowledge Universe) – a knowledge sharing portal. Although the only trace of KU which remains today is this copy of press release, it gave us the exact amount of money to buy a server, necessary software and a cheap UPS! Bulls Eye!


Our first server was Dell SC440 and somebody told me that it was Wikipedia’s first too! I could never confirm the fact but blissfully believed him as it used to lift my spirits :) It reached us in march’07 and within few days with a child-like excitement I configured it, did the test run for our web-app etc. etc. so that the day my broadband connection comes I could make the service online! That day came after F-O-U-R months! I had actually applied for a 4mbps reliance b’band connection for which there were no competing plans from other ISPs and at the time when I applied, reliance didn’t even have the infrastructure laid-out (which was obviously not told to me while taking the application). To avoid letting this webpage catch fire I wont vent out my real frustration.


Finally the broadband incarnated in our office in Aug’07 and we got transformed into a services company :) Our first “subscriber”  was the client college which had paid for Informer. Initially the service was called inteeg.com which was an ad-hoc brand and then after a lot of brainstorming it was finally rebranded as iBranch.in

Story of iBranch - Part 1 of 3 (The 'Informer' days!)
Story of iBranch – Part 3 of 3 (Stand up... stay... walk... RUN!)

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660 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Story of iBranch – Part 2of3 (“Its got to be a service, stupid”)

(I'm afraid I'm being too impatient to wait for the Story part 3 of 3, which may answer my qeury.)

While hosting the service in-house (following SaaS model) has its own benefits - financial efficiency topping the chart - doesn't its maintenance become an overhead on times? By maintenance, I simply mean the hardware infrastructure. Sticking to the word 'service' (of SaaS), iBranch.in is a 'virtual reality' that is certainly far beyond the efforts required for hardware maintenance. If we put aside the money involved, from 'business objective' point of view, won't it make better sense to outsource the 'hosting' part? One.

Two, if yes (or no), what do you suspect to be the challenges? (Again, putting aside the money involved - I know it's too much to ignore, but still).

Since you've practically lived through the different phases of this business, I look forward to knowing your thoughts on 'Scope of outsourcing in SaaS/web-based services'.

Just a response to this comment or may be a new detailed article altogether?

By Rahul Desai on   05/11/2009 23:17
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Re: Story of iBranch – Part 2of3 (“Its got to be a service, stupid”)

Yes, actually part 3 will all be about the challenges involved in running a service. Maintaining the hardware infrastructure is definitely an expense which now we have to bear instead of the client, but that is 'pound-wise' as compared to worrying about tens of client-end servers (and which will eventually grow to hundreds & thousands some day).

Having said that, i agree with you that hosting part can be outsourced, and recently we actually did that by hiring a cloud server (more abt it in part3).

By Raghu Pandey on   06/11/2009 12:03
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Re: Story of iBranch – Part 2of3 (“Its got to be a service, stupid”)

Bingo! That's all I was looking forward to. As I had requested, if possible, please try to cover 'Outsourcing in SaaS' or 'Outsourcing' in general, in detail in Part 3 (or in a separate article, altogether). I'm currently trying to understand this concept better and your inputs (out of your practical experience) would help great! Thanks.

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