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10 July 2006  
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Home - Management - Article


Netcore bets on Linux

Netcore plans to widen its client base through partnerships and by creating awareness about its Linux-based products. Vinita Gupta reports

The biggest problem for an IT company nowadays is to differentiate itself from the crowd. One factor that can help is a focussed approach.

"Emergic as a brand name represents three things—emerging technology, emerging in the market, and emerging in the SMB and enterprise segments"

- Rajesh Jain

Netcore has grown over the past six years in terms of customer acquisitions and spread its wings geographically. Its founder, MD and CEO, Rajesh Jain, is quite well-known for his online deals. IndiaWorld Communication, acquired by Satyam in November 1999, was a success when it was launched in 1994 with Web sites comprising khel.com, khoj.com, samachar.com and bawarchi.com.

Emergic, the brand name for Netcore products, captivates what the company plans to achieve. Says Jain: “Emergic as a brand name represents three things—emerging technology, emerging in the market, and emerging in the SMB and enterprise segments.” It has been the consistent focus of the company to introduce technology innovation that is affordable and effective.

"Convincing an IT manager to adopt Linux is quite difficult
as many people still have apprehensions about the platform"

- Kalpit Jain
VP, Technology

From e-mail to VPN, firewalls to bandwidth management, virus protection to spam filtering, Netcore’s products are providing solutions to build the back-end infrastructure in large enterprises and small-and medium-sized businesses alike.

The company also offers products such as BlogStreet, India’s first portal on blogs providing analytics, search and directory services. Emergic CleanMail is a hosted anti-virus and anti-spam solution and messaging service that is used by organisations in the banking, logistics, finance and other industry verticals in India and other developing countries. Emergic FlexiMail is a mail hosting component where mail space can be offered to customers. The Emergic Mail Server, a new product, is a Linux-based messaging and security suite. It has a proxy server, mail server, firewall and anti-virus solution built into it.

Adds Kalpit Jain, the company’s VP for Technology, “We keep on building new features into our products.”

In Linux they trust

Right from the IndiaWorld days, Netcore’s focus has been to develop and market affordable software solutions. The company has been providing Linux-based solutions. Rajesh Jain’s first endeavour, IndiaWorld, was an early user of Linux. Since then all the development of the company has been done on Linux.

Netcore’s reasons for using Linux-based solutions are its open, secure, reliable and stable standards-based nature. Since they have been using the Linux platform for some time now, Kalpit feels that their expertise leaves no scope for competition. Along with this he also believes that customers are much more open these days to adopting Linux-based solutions. “Many people are ready to transfer from the Windows platform to Linux,” he states.

Some of Netcore’s clients
Financial Services
Advertising & Media
Bank of India Kotak Securities VIP (Blow Plast Group) Grey India Lee & Muirhead
IDBI Bank ShareKhan (SSKI) Supreme Industries FCB Ulka Jeena & Co
Development Credit Bank NSDL Onida Lowe Lintas JM Baxi Group
IndusInd Bank Sundaram Mutual Fund Emco India Leo Burnett Patel Roadways

Role of partners

For a products-based company, having a strong sales team is crucial if it is to be a success. To start with, Netcore used to sell directly to its customers, but couldn’t attain the desired growth rate. This made the company realise that to grow rapidly it needed partners. Today, the company’s 20 partners pitch its products in India and eight international markets.

The company also realised that partnering with companies which have a good customer base would help it broaden its own customer base. Another criterion in picking partners has been to choose companies that are into providing end-to-end solutions. Take for instance their tie-up with HCL. Netcore’s two products, EmergicMail and CleanMail, are being bundled with HCL products. Says Kalpit, “We have a flexible relationship with HCL wherein they can offer these solutions to any customer based on the customer’s requirements.”

Some of Netcore’s other partners are Orient Techno-logies, Prolink Computers and Wysetek in Mumbai; Veeras Infotech in Chennai; Advance Ecom in Coimbatore; and Microzol and Green Vision in Delhi. “We are not looking at too many partners but believe in having a few strategic partners,” notes Kalpit.

The strategy Netcore is adopting is to team up with an aggressive partner and then create awareness about its Linux-based products; this because Kalpit feels that people still have a mental block when it comes to Linux.

Growing steadily

Netcore has built a client base of over 500 companies, and its Linux-based messaging and security solutions are being used at 800 locations in India and abroad. In 2005 it added about 180 customers. It is focussing on SMBs and enterprises along with the government sector. As of today, Netcore is present in 11 countries including Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Kalpit says, “We have also grown in terms of people. Five years back we had 20-25 people, now we have around 80. Our offices are in Bangalore, Chennai and Pune.”

Its clients include the likes of IDBI Principal, Birla Global, ICICI Prudential, Raymond, Bombay Dyeing, Unichem, Cipla, Mudra and Infomedia.

Major achievements

Kalpit prefers to count achievement in terms of customer satisfaction, delivering the right solution, and the problems solved. For instance, before Godrej & Boyce implemented Emergic CleanMail, it faced a lot of complaints related to spam and viruses. After the implementation their spam has reduced by 90 percent and this has helped in optimum usage of bandwidth.

For Mangal Keshav Securities, scalability of their mailing solution was an issue. Says Kalpit, “In this case the issue was one of lack of scalability of the mailing solution. Also, the company needed an integrated LAN security and controlled browsing solution. We provided them the Emergic Mailserv, which today caters to around 25,000 e-mail accounts. Also, the firewall and proxy servers made them realise that Netcore could cater to all their messaging and security needs.”

Moving ahead

The major challenge Netcore faces is to move in sync with the latest technology. As Kalpit says, “Convincing an IT manager to adopt Linux is quite difficult as many people still have apprehensions about the platform.”

Despite these problems, the company has an ambitious road-map ahead. Netcore is planning to come up with new products. The company is also looking at expanding its presence in the international market. For this they are in the process of strengthening their partner base. Along with these activities they are planning to open a 24x7 call centre in Mumbai; this centre will cater to their international customers.


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