Webonise Lab is a product of both the innovative curiosity and the passionate drive of like-minded individuals directed at achieving the same end result: to make the world a better place through technology. From this enthusiasm rose what Webonise is today: a company focused on building technology that people would love to use. Webonise is now more than 200 people ‘strong’! But how do you keep a continuously evolving company like Webonise grounded on its roots and true to its culture? For Saurav Mishra, Webonise COO and CoFounder, it all goes down to building the team behind it.
“Everybody at Webonise is a contributor. Our culture is built on wanting people to continue to learn and grow, to take on new challenges and to focus on delivering value to our customers” – Saurav Mishra
Saurav has gone through great lengths to continuously strengthen the foundation of which Webonise was built on. He took the initiative of working with almost every department within the company to effectively perform his role and ensure there is a consistency when it comes to communicating Webonise’s principles and philosophies. That Saurav is one of the key people to speak with to gain a deeper understanding of what Webonise stands for, what sparked the innovation that gave birth to the company and what managing such a dynamic company is like in clear. As soon as I got the chance to have an afternoon of conversation with Saurav, I knew it'll be worth a blog. Here's how it went: What is it that you enjoy doing most as a COO? At this stage, what I like doing most of the time is to work alongside our clients and partners - CIOs, CTOs and Cofounders of upcoming and well-established startups and enterprises - to consult with them on solutions that can help their businesses. A key focus area has been mobile. I’ve also been involved in evangelizing IoT (Internet of Things), which I believe is the one of the next “BIG” things in Technology. Why? Possibly one of the biggest reasons is that it seamlessly integrates the web, online and offline, right where technology leverages its presence on all aspects of our life. We have also done some projects in GIS and I am excited about helping develop that new practice area and what we will be able to deliver to clients. My specific role at Webonise involves being across multiple disciplines; whether it is in marketing, sales or product delivery. But a majority of my time has been dedicated to building the Webonise team; moving it towards becoming (an even stronger) rock solid team that is passionate, well directed and is willing to stretch that extra mile to get the best product or app to the market. That’s what has been my greatest contribution or role at Webonise and one I definitely enjoy doing as well. As one of the Cofounders, what do you think led to the foundation of Webonise? Everybody utilizes the internet and access to it across the world has continued to become increasingly easy. When we started out, we were really focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the internet - how people are utilizing it as such a vital part of our daily lives and what possibilities existed. How technology can make people’s lives better, how it can drive businesses and deliver new markets was something I have been extremely interested in. As we started talking and found out our initial group had these common interests and passions, we all thought, “Hey, we should build a company!” Right then and there, Webonise was born. How did it go from there? We started out with building our own product. We brought people in and started out our own team and began by building our own product initially. That initial test failed but what the process gave us was a tremendous idea of how products work. The whole experience taught us how to architect, consult, build a lean product and then how to scale it through multiple phases and stages. We realized that we’re quite good at product development. Those early experiences and insights led us to what Webonise is today. With Webonise being a global company, what are the benefits of operating on an on-shore/off-shore model? Essentially, the on-shore/off-shore model has a long list of advantages, a lot of which Webonise is focusing on leveraging as we operate in our main offices in the US, India, UK, Canada and in small teams in other parts of the globe. These benefits include: Cost effectiveness Through operating from different parts of the globe, we get to leverage the economies of various countries in developing products at a very affordable cost. This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of the on-shore/of-shore model, in which companies find the same level of talent that they are looking for in a country that is half a globe away in a much cheaper cost. Higher Availability Utilizing not only the on-shore/off-shore model but as well as the global delivery model, we were able to be available across multiple time zones to our clients for up to 20 hours per day. Cultural Diversity The importance of cultural diversity for us here at Webonise is beyond recognition. We do understand that geographical differences have a certain level of influence on a product’s design. For example, if you’re building something for a community in Florida, somebody designing or building back in India might not be the ideal option because there is a clear gap in terms of how people from each location understand and appreciate user experience. It’s exactly the same as how the color red is sacred in China and at the same time be a sign of danger in India and the US. Global Exposure Having the opportunity to talk to somebody who’s living in a different part of the globe and working in a different time zone can be a very liberating experience for our team. The whole process in and of itself is enlightening. It gives us valuable exposure to people who are culturally diverse, which adds tremendous amount of experience to all of us. What is the most challenging aspect of managing a continuously expanding company? For me perhaps what I consider the most important challenge is knowing that what works for a company of 1-10 people does not always work for a business of 10-50 people or even to an enterprise of more than 200 employees. As more people join, it becomes more of a focus to maintain the philosophies, goals and objectives for which the company was formed in the first place. Webonise has been constantly striving to maintain its “small” company culture irrespective of the size or the number of people that we keep adding or the number of geographies we add to our global reach. Why strive to preserve a small company culture? In preserving our culture we get to reap the benefits of operating just like how a small team does, such as:
- Communication between teams and departments is more effective.
- Everyone is well aligned with the vision and mission of the company.
- Everyone believes in the vision and mission of the company.
- Everyone is focused on the same direction, a direction that the company is heading to as well.
- There are no victimization, politics or corporate issues that people encounter on a day-to-day basis.
- Everyone is willing to share his or her concerns, ambitions, inspirations and aspirations.
- There is a healthy environment for competition within the company.
Maintaining a small company culture is one of our cultural philosophies that can be a tremendous challenge to undertake. But with these benefits, this challenge is well worth it. How easy was it to transition from a 1-10 company to a company with more than 200+ employees? I can’t tell you that the transition has been seamless. There certainly are ups and down but I have never at any point in time felt any difference between the stress of running a company of less than 10 people to the stress of managing a company of more than 200 employees. The number of people may have changed, our global reach may have expanded but the amount of pressure in keeping the company in line with the path that we have originally set it out to hasn’t changed. Easy? Definitely not. But if you ask me if it was worth it? Absolutely! Looking back on your first few years with Webonise, what has been the most significant evolution the company has gone through? The most important evolution that the company has gone through was our stabilization in terms of our delivery protocols. Every passing day we are moving towards becoming more predictable. Process-wise we are not 100% where we want to be but we are heading in the right direction and always work to be better tomorrow than we are today. Any other changes that have had a positive impact to the company? That would be the caliber of businesses that we work with. From a point where we are working with businesses or startups that are still in their incubation stage, unsure of what they want to achieve from their business to the point where we are working with established businesses and startups who know exactly what they want from their business and have a well-defined understanding of their preferences and requirements from the product they want to build with us. Our client base has changed, transforming our business into a trusted partner by businesses that have established themselves in their respective industries. Cool! The growth of Webonise has been remarkable. But what’s next for Webonise Lab? Webonise will continue to stay on top of technology in terms of exploring new trends and technologies. We will also move towards solution-oriented approaches, imparting our learnings to help our clients leverage the technology that we have available today. Webonise will also be building practice around IOT, GIS and Data Visualization. In IoT, Although we wouldn’t get into hardware by any chance, we will surely forge the right partnerships to build commendable and interesting products that has the capability to penetrate beyond desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.