S. Govindkrishna is a B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras. He passed out in 1985. He worked for 3 years in Power Plant Construction with the Tata’s and for 4 years in Refinery Maintenance with Reliance. During this period he was bitten by the computer bug. He bought a Sinclair Spectrum and in his spare time he taught himself Z80 assembler. He used to write (not very good) games that only he played. He moved on to 8085 assembler and created a unique secure screen saver in DOS.
In 1992 GK decided that the world needed an integrated business application. He set out to create an ERP. This was well before the days of the ERP boom. Unfortunately, this was also well before the days of VC’s. He ran out of funds and decided to move on.
This effort proved useful later in his career, while implementing ERP Software.
His colleague once commented – “How can a person who has not even seen the screen, discuss it as if he has designed it?”
GK then started reselling Tally to make money and used this money to create a Document Manager named Papyrus.
This also started his long association with Tally.
Papyrus was a product well ahead of its time. A knowledge management product before the days of email and windows
Papyrus was launched in 1995 and had around 50 happy customers.
The success of Windows required a windows version of Papyrus. Design and early prototypes that integrated Papyrus with Microsoft Word came out, but budgetary constraints again meant that GK had to move on.
He started freelancing and created custom software for various MNC’s.
In 1996, GK took up a job in the Indian division of Baan. Here he worked as a project manager and was the only project manager to bring in his projects as per the original schedule.
GK’s creative itch was still with him. He joined hands with his senior from college in 2000 and created 3 products over the next five years that were well received in the market.
GK’s hard earned experience stood him in good stead when designing and creating these products. These products gave such unique capabilities and were so stable that customers continued to use them even three years after the official end of life.
All three products were acquired.
In 2005 GK started working for Tally Solutions Pvt Ltd. Given the responsibility of being Product Owner (Product Owner means Engineering Head and Product Head) for Tally’s Retail Product Shoper was exciting and challenging times.
The product had a strong foothold in the Enterprise Retail Space especially for garments and other Specialty Items. When GK took over the product, customers were unhappy with the product because of bugs, lack of scale, unclear roadmap and were threatening to leave. Working with the same team, coaching and mentoring them in various aspects of software development, in a few months, the product came out of the dark times. All customer issues got resolved and gradually new features were getting added that started exciting customers. A few of the customers who had moved out, came back into the fold. Many critical ideas on how to write robust and agile software were proven.
GK has always been a student of human nature. He closely observes how people react in various situations and is always trying new techniques to engage with people. He always looks for ways to help people in his team. This lead to the unusual shift from engineering to HR. In HR GK created a recruitment system that dramatically improved the quality of talent entering the system. The system used many standard psychological tests, unusual approach to interviews and not only brought in many people, they were an excellent fit with the culture of the organisation.
GK is now using his unique experience in product development, managing engineering teams and heading HR to offer consulting services to software companies to dramatically improve the effectiveness of their development team.