Understanding Total Cost of Ownership of customers

Duleep is the Co-founder and director of Software Associates, a market leader that has developed a Hospital Management Software product implemented successfully in more than 250 hospitals. Duleep brings over 20 years of expertise in building products and providing solutions in SMB healthcare and logistics verticals for domestic markets. Areas of specialisation include marketing and business consulting. He heads 100 people, products and services company operating out of Kozhikode and caters to clients in Asia, Europe and Americas.

Duleep Sahadevan has been active in social initiatives such as Calicut forum for IT for community building, participated in workshops for entrepreneurs at NASSCOM, IIMK, NITC, Department of Science and Technology etc.

Duleep calls himself an Accidental Entrepreneur. He had aging parents in Kerala and he wanted to be with them. He got his inspiration from Lord Sinclair when he read the article on how “ZX spectrum” was built and felt that this was a good story of gut feel product building but still can have the potential of being a success story. Duleep says that startups need to understand the market problem when they begin developing products. He says that he was lucky to have some visionary clients who helped him design the Hospital Management System product. He began as a consulting firm providing bespoke solutions to his customers in the healthcare space and those projects implementation experiences transformed gradually into a boxed product which is among the largest selling in India in healthcare.

Duleep says that when he began building the product, he not only focused on the functionality depth of the product but also looked at his target market. His target market is the cost conscious small and medium clients who are worried equally about the total cost of ownership (TCO) and hence he built his Initial version on Linux server. This became a big success as the hospitals have best of both the world and that helped him quickly cross the 50 customer mark within two years. His initial clients came through references where he personally went door to door himself using public transport and used his Wipro Acer notebook to show presentations. When he got the initial set of clients, he realized that his product can be sold to a national market and he immediately invested in sales and now also has begun leveraging the power of inside sales and is selling well.

Duleep also ensured that he had enormous depth and breadth in his offerings. He acquired domain knowledge and also hired good people coming in with domain. He was very selective about his clients and refused many clients because he felt that they did not realize the impact that his HMS would offer and treated this only as a tick mark to install in their hospitals. That way he has an enviable set of reference clients.

Duleep says that he has failed a few 1000’s of times in his selling but has learnt so much and enjoys the journey. He says that Failure is an integral part of success and advises founders to learn something from each failure to be able to accelerate success. Duleep says “He who measures the market – has the market”. He is very passionate about meeting customers face to face and has personally done 400,000 kms in the last 7 years to understand the market and the customers.

Software Associates is one of the market leaders in the Hospital Management Systems space in India.

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