Scholarly article on topic 'Zyme: Building a speciality IT services firm'

Zyme: Building a speciality IT services firm Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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IIMB Management Review
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Academic research paper on topic "Zyme: Building a speciality IT services firm"

IIMB Management Review (2010) 22, 25-31

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Zyme: Building a speciality IT services firm In conversation with Chandran Sankaran, Founder and CEO, Zyme Solutions

D.V.R. Seshadri*

Marketing, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 560076, India Available online 13 April 2010

Zyme Solutions was founded by Chandran Sankaran in 2004 in Silicon Valley in the US and Bangalore, India, and is the channel data company for the global hightech industry. Zyme helps high-tech manufacturers like Dell, Logitech, Cisco and Seagate to track how much of their product is selling in the indirect distribution and reseller channel, and how they could use this data to make critical business decisions. The company receives sales data feeds from distributors in 140 countries every week, and accumulates and validates information on several hundred thousand solution providers who are selling products on behalf of the manufacturers in those regions.

Context of interview

Information technology (IT) service firms in India have recorded phenomenal growth and profits over the last decade. These firms built their businesses on the 'linearity' model of operation, wherein revenue expansion implied a proportionate increase in headcount. The linear business

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E-mail address: 0970-3896 © 2010 Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. All rights reserved. Peer-review under responsibility of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. doi:10.1016/j.iimb.2010.03.006

model served the companies well in the past helping them expand rapidly. However, continually adding human resources to grow revenue has given rise to the challenge of long-term sustainability of the linear model in terms of organisation size, consequent manageability and rising costs (Exhibit 1). Thus most large Indian IT companies are increasingly beginning to believe that what worked well in the past will not necessarily lead to future success.

The desire for a change of business model is visible among top Indian IT firms. These companies are now actively seeking new profit opportunities that take them away from linearity of their revenues and profits vis-à-vis headcount. Although India is a leading offshore IT destination and the IT services sector is poised to grow rapidly worldwide, rising manpower costs, changing currency rates, employee turnover, and competitive pressures in the Indian offshoring industry are compelling IT services companies to look at ways to alter the linear relationship between manpower and revenue to realise higher margins. Realising that the best way to achieve growth going forward would be through creating innovative 'non-linear' business models, IT service companies are trying to achieve revenue growth by shifting the terms of engagement away from headcount.

Moreover, it is widely agreed by industry experts that the non-linear business model is very relevant for IT service firms to weather the current global recession. For a nonlinear business model, revenues are de-linked from head-count and revenues can therefore grow much faster than the growth of the headcount. Creating innovative pricing models, using productivity tools and automation to reduce dependence on manpower, deployment of intellectual property (IP)-led solutions, offering more software-as-aservice (SaaS) applications, and developing solution accelerators are some of the attempts being made by IT service companies to solve the linearity challenge.

2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 ---Infosys -Wipro .........TCS

Exhibit 1 Linear growth of Bellwether Indian IT services companies. Source: Annual reports of Infosys, Wipro and TCS for the years 2001-2002 through 2007-2008.

One company that has enjoyed spectacular growth over the last couple of years by building its business around a pioneering non-linear business model is Zyme Solutions Inc (Zyme). Founded by Chandran Sankaran in 2004, Zyme is a fully outsourced hosted data intelligence service provider to the high-tech vertical market. The interview with Mr Sankaran seeks to capture the key features of the Zyme business model, how it was conceptualised and its sustainability in the long run. The interview also seeks to understand the challenges being faced by established IT services companies in migrating to a non-linear business model approach.

While Zyme's chief focus was to construct a valuable solution to the problem of poor downstream visibility (of accurate information in the distribution channels) in the high-tech industry, strong emphasis was also laid on fulfilling the customer need with an effective business model. The idea was for the business to be underpinned by a sustainable and highly differentiated economic model. During the formative years of the company, the core team at Zyme realised that the growth of service companies that had adopted a linear business model approach would taper off in due course, and the large size of such organisations would become a managerial challenge in the years ahead. Zyme made a conscious decision not to get into this situation right from its inception.

Adopting a non-linear growth model (Exhibit 2) meant making all the right choices for Zyme from day one. It was

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Exhibit 2 Non-linear growth of Zyme Solutions. Source: Presentation by Zyme Solutions.

the core team's belief that a mid-course correction would be impossible once the business was established. All choices that Zyme would make had to be carefully considered and examined against its core focus of non-linear growth. This clarity about the business model helped get everyone in the organisation aligned around the kind of value Zyme wanted to create for its customers.

The Zyme business model comprises four interlocking aspects, which when taken together, result in an innovative non-linear business model. The very first, and by far the most important aspect is building a standard service footprint. A deliberate choice was made from the very beginning that the services Zyme would offer to each subsequent customer would have to closely resemble the services the company provided prior customers. This choice has facilitated customers to come on to a common platform, thereby standardising Zyme's service footprint. It has also resulted in remarkable scale economies for the company. The second unique aspect of the business model is the complete decoupling of the service value proposition from head-count. Offering identical packaged sets of capabilities to multiple clients has enabled the company to decouple revenue from costs. Consequently, the company has realised a steady rise in revenue (since the channel intelligence software platform reached critical mass in early 2007) with the headcount remaining almost the same.

The third critical aspect of being able to build a nonlinear model is having a pricing structure not linked to effort. Price at Zyme is value-linked and volume-linked, and not directly linked to staffing. Customers are charged on the basis of the total volume and type of data being processed, as well as the value delivered to the customer. Building core competencies and assets has been the fourth key aspect of the Zyme business model. Assembling the necessary skills and technology needed to take channel intelligence problems off customers' minds, building robust software technology that efficiently supports the process of data analysis, and adopting rigorous operational processes have helped Zyme deliver value. As simple as the Zyme model may seem, its strength lies in the intricate interde-pendencies of its four elements. A broad change to any one element influences the other elements and the model as a whole. Zyme has devised its model in a manner that the elements connect to each other in coherent and complementary ways.

While on the surface it appears that the Zyme model cannot scale and will soon hit limits of growth, the company thinks otherwise. Having a highly focused model may deprive the company of opportunities for business growth, but at the same time it enables Zyme to truly differentiate itself from other services players. Zyme's identity, in the long term, would remain extraordinarily clear. Given its constrained business model, it may take Zyme a longer time to grow its business. But, as its roots run deep, it would take a lot for competition to cut into the company's markets.

Emulating the Zyme model although possible, would be a daunting task for traditional India-based services players. Making the shift from a linear, people-driven business to a non-linear services business requires sustained, visionary leadership from the top, and an organisational and cultural overhaul. Relentless vigilance is necessary to sustain the

non-linear model. In order to avert dilution of its service focus, the company would have to forego many tempting opportunities that could help meet tactical revenue targets. Such service focus requires ushering an organisational mindset that is able to say 'No' to projects that do not fall well within the scope of the services platform. Treading the non-linear path calls for creating distinctive pricing and selling models, changing all business processes intricately tied to the existing services model, creating deep domain knowledge, packaging services around the customer problem, putting in place robust software technology that efficiently meets customer requirements, and finally solving the problem end-to-end for the customer. Replicating all of this in a big way by cost arbitrage business model companies would be extremely challenging, although they could consider rolling out the non-linear model in a small way to a new set of clients.

The linear business model of global wage arbitrage has attracted many players over the last two decades. While most players have emerged successful, their business models demand constant hiring and training of ever-larger workforces to grow the revenue line. Finding the right quality of people, training and retaining them, and ensuring that all of them understand the company's goals and method of working have seemingly become an enormous challenge. Furthermore, the susceptibility of these linear models to macroeconomic phenomena, increasing commoditisation, and price pressures are affecting profit margins of services companies, compelling them to reconsider their business models. By contrast, Zyme has achieved superior performance because its non-linear business model sets it apart. Chandran Sankaran, Founder and CEO of Zyme Solutions Inc further reinforces this point:

'I'm convinced that our focused approach will create tremendous value for us and for our clients. We are in the early days of our lifecycle as a business, and we are not about to declare victory anytime soon. But when we see our colleagues in the traditional Indian ITES firms struggle with some of the challenges of linear, staff-driven business models, we are reminded that we have made some good choices that will serve us well.'

The interview with Mr Chandran Sankaran seeks to delve deeper into the conceptualisation and founding of Zyme, to unravel the powerful business model embedded in the company, and to also understand what the challenges are for traditional large Indian IT software services companies to transition to non-linear business models.

In conversation with Chandran Sankaran Origins of Zyme

DVRS: Could you briefly describe how your experiences before starting Zyme helped you to conceptualise the company?

CS: The experiences that shaped the concept of Zyme were twofold. Having been in the consulting world with McKinsey for several years, I understood the value of the deep domain knowledge that an external party can bring to

a particular business problem. I then moved into the world of enterprise software, working for i2 and Closedloop. There again, I learnt that it is possible to encapsulate deep domain knowledge (whether it is supply chain management, financial forecasting, or anything else) in a software platform and solve problems of multiple companies.

I also realised, after working with i2 and Closedloop, that the traditional model of enterprise software was slowly becoming bankrupt. The idea of first building a software application, and then trying to educate customers on how to use the software to improve their business processes, was not really working. With any enterprise software, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), the ownership of the business processes ultimately remains with the client. The clients buy the software to enable their business processes, but the software is built based on certain assumptions about how the business should work. The clients inevitably must adapt their business processes to the capabilities of the software, as opposed to the other way round. And very few companies successfully deploy enterprise software, getting the right value out of it for the investment risk they take.

On the other hand, I looked at processes that can be outsourced, like the traditional business process outsourcing (BPO) call centre, customer service, helpdesk functions, and so on. These processes followed a different and very interesting business model in that the customer was not required to take any of the business process risks. The vendor took all the risk (such as investing in technology) and delivered an end-to-end business process value. However, domain knowledge was not very deep in this model.

Thus, while on the one hand, I was looking at the value of domain knowledge and the complexity and risks associated with the enterprise software model, I was also enticed by the business model of outsourcing. My idea was to combine the outsourcing business model, speciality domain knowledge, and the software platform to build a business that provided high value to customers and that had an interesting business profile for us as a provider. I wanted to find a problem that had not been addressed earlier in the context of outsourcing, so we could offer a new capability in that field.

DVRS: You had three distinct experiences—in McKinsey, i2, and then Closedloop. Were all these in the similar space of channel intelligence?

CS: None of my previous experiences had anything to do with channel intelligence, but there are some common threads, I suppose. At McKinsey, I worked on a number of strategy problems that helped me develop the ability to rapidly recognise commonalities in business problems. At i2, I ran the high-tech vertical, handling the supply chain problems of end-to-end delivery from the chip manufacturers through to the distributors. Even at that time, I found that information visibility at the front end was conspicuous by its absence, and planning at the back end could not happen without good visibility at the front end. At Closedloop, my work involved financial budgeting and forecasting, mainly with the chief financial officer (CFO) of client organisations in the high-tech vertical. The problems that Zyme addresses are really in the domain of CFOs in the high-tech vertical, touching the front end of the supply chain—so you can see the similarities.

DVRS: Before starting Zyme, you came to India on an exploratory visit to assess what was happening here. Could you describe what you found and how it helped you to structure Zyme?

CS: The idea for this visit really came from my mother, Laxam Sankaran, who had just retired as the president of the Greater Mysore Chamber of Industry (now called BCIC). She thought I should take a first-hand look at the amazing IT phenomenon in India. I arrived without much of an agenda, intending just to visit several BPOs and IT services companies, and learn more about what they were doing.

It was no great surprise to me that the 'India Inc' story was about talent pools and labour cost advantage. However, what did surprise me was how companies had developed strong capabilities and pride around building well-functioning service operations that relentlessly delivered to exacting global clients round the clock. The revelation for me in 2004 was that while Silicon Valley's innovation culture remained unmatched, India's 24x7 service operations culture—blended with strong technical and analytical skills—did not seem to exist in the United States.

It was also clear from my India visit that it was too late for me to enter the high-volume, commodity BPO game. There was plenty of vibrant raw material and service operations capacity for me to tap into, but I would have to find a market problem and a business framework where I could leverage it.

DVRS: How soon did you decide on this particular domain?

CS: Within three months, I had zeroed in on the domain, and our first customer signed on in August 2004.

The Zyme business model

DVRS: You have described the Zyme business model as a services and software combined approach. Could you describe what you mean by that, and contrast it with a pure software business or a pure services business?

CS: Zyme solves the end-to-end problem of poor channel sales visibility through its software platform's deep data handling capabilities, supplemented by the services of business analysts who handle exceptions to the business process. For example, our software may highlight that a distribution partner sold 1000 units of an expensive product last week, while that partner typically sells only 10 units per week. Before we report the sales data to our client, the manufacturer, our analysts communicate with the distributor to verify whether this is an error or something else. This extra service layer ensures that we do not pass problems back to our clients for them to deal with.

While we think of Zyme as a services company in the way we interact with customers, our software and data platform further ensure that we deliver a standardised set of services to multiple clients at a high level of service productivity. Also, we price our services based on trans-actional volumes in a way that decouples our revenues from our underlying people costs.

Like Zyme, a traditional software business would take the approach that the process is standardised, but unlike

Zyme, it perhaps would treat the responsibility for handling business process exceptions as the customer's problem. A traditional services business, on the other hand, would, like Zyme, take an end-to-end business process approach to the problem. But unlike Zyme, it would not seek to standardise it. So we have blended the standardised platform aspect of a software business with the end-to-end business process value of a services company.

DVRS: So in theory, could an enterprise software company wrap business process services around their products and develop a business model that mimics Zyme?

CS: Absolutely, but this presents several challenges. When a firm begins as a software company, it starts viewing all market opportunities as software opportunities, and it does not build the end-to-end service capabilities that are needed to actually solve the associated business process problems.

Grafting business process services around a software company is a non-trivial task, but it can be done. I know of a couple of enterprise software companies that have, over the last year or two, tried to fold their software platforms into services departments to create end-to-end outsourced services. They are seeing some success and a lot of heartache. Trying to change the mindset within the company—how you deal with the marketplace, how you compensate people, and so on—is tough. It's like hoping to turn the Indian Institute of Management into an Indian Institute of Science just by purchasing some lab equipment and hiring a few science professors.

DVRS: By building Zyme as a specialist platform services company, you are constraining its revenue opportunity relative to that of a traditional, less-specialised IT services firm. Isn't that risky? Isn't Zyme vulnerable to being pushed into a corner by a new general IT services company entrant?

CS: Let's consider a pure-play product company that innovates a product and takes it to market. If the product is successful, the company is successful. If the product is unsuccessful, the company is done for. The company makes a gamble that its target problem and its market space are both large and interesting enough for it to achieve success quickly and gain first-mover advantage.

In that sense, Zyme is like any other product company making a bet. We choose to be constrained in our domain because we think the opportunity is large. We asked ourselves, 'Can we build a half-billion-dollar business solving this one problem?' and we believed the answer was yes. If we had got it wrong, we would have put our company at risk. So we carry the risk of being more of a product company than an open-ended, broad-spectrum software services company, and we are comfortable with that risk profile.

I am not worried that Zyme could be pushed into a corner by the entry of large generalist companies into our domain. In a business like ours, first-mover advantage and specialisation of domain knowledge is very significant. By the time the opportunity is de-risked enough to be attractive for bigger companies, we will be deeply entrenched.

DVRS: What causes you to believe that the market opportunity for Zyme is large? I understand that the industry is large, but what is the benefit that you are driving for customers?

CS: Let me give you an example of the type of value we are able to deliver. About 15 percent of manufacturers' total sales is paid back as performance incentives to channel partners. Considering global high-tech channel sales to be half a trillion dollars, these sorts of back-end performance incentive payments amount to about $75 billion. Empirically, we know that 10-15% of the incentives, i.e., $7.5 to 10 billion, is wrongly paid because the manufacturer cannot verify how much was actually sold by a partner to the marketplace, or how much inventory they have left at any given time. This is a conservative estimate. With Zyme's services and the visibility into channel sales that we give them, one client was able to identify and stop 25% of its incentive payments as incorrect. As Zyme's market adoption increases, we expect to reduce incentive payment leakages by several billion dollars.

DVRS: That's quite significant. Is this incentive payment optimisation the primary driver of the adoption of your solutions?

CS: This is an important driver, but Zyme's services offer several other significant value propositions.

Let's take channel inventory management. Approximately $10 billion gets written off every year as stranded tech product inventory in the channel—i.e., inventory that distributors and retailers never sold before the product became obsolete. If Zyme can bring this number down by just 10 percent by providing smarter visibility, it translates into significant savings for manufacturers. We have plenty of data to support how much we are saving our clients in this area.

Another avenue for value creation is revenue accounting and audit risk compliance. US public corporations are regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the statutory body that monitors public companies in the United States. The SEC works hard to prevent tech companies from deliberately or inadvertently engaging in 'channel stuffing'—the practice of shipping out more product into the channel than is required and declaring their sales as having improved, thereby influencing their near-term stock price even if the product is not selling downstream. A number of audit controls have been placed on these companies, requiring them to prove that their products are being sold to end customers from the channel before they can recognise the revenue on the products shipped into the channel. Zyme can uniquely deliver this hard evidence to its high-tech clients.

DVRS: Some companies have very good tracking systems to locate where their material is going. If these systems became pervasive in the high-tech industry, wouldn't they make what Zyme is doing obsolete?

CS: In the fast-moving consumer goods markets, the top 20 manufacturers and retailers have very good systems. The quality of these systems is so high and these top 20 firms occupy such a large portion of the total market that Zyme can probably play no meaningful role in that sector. However, in the technology industry and a few other industries, systems and information flow are broken,

and no dominant players are fixing this problem in a material way. This is a fragmented, high-innovation industry, where nothing is stable for very long. As a result, sophisticated channel information structures have not taken root.

The Indian IT services sector

DVRS: There is a lot of soul-searching now in the Indian information technology enabled services (ITES) industry about failed business models and the quest for 'nonlinear' business models. What is this all about, in your view?

CS: The Indian ITES industry took off based on the sudden access that global corporations had to well-organised, technically skilled, low-cost manpower. Big India-based ITES companies built effective recruiting and training systems to deploy large numbers of educated people with technical skills into global services roles. India had a large talent pool, and ITES companies just needed to get these talented workers trained and ready to go. I'm oversimplifying of course, but the ITES industry in India was largely a supply-side commodity industry that understood how to apply processes and structures to manage thousands of people on a range of technical and services-oriented work, as well as how to build a service interface with global clients.

The problem the industry is facing, of course, is that supply is running thin. In a short period of time, the industry has already exhausted the professionally trained, English-language-skilled, job-ready talent pool that is available to deploy into technically deep assignments for multinational corporations. The big IT firms are setting up 'universities' in second- and third-tier towns in order to get the next layer of talent job ready. And all this is happening while wages have spiralled upwards and competitive pricing pressures have squeezed margins even lower.

This phase of the industry is significantly more expensive to set up, and the economics and risks ITES companies are facing are considerable. They are therefore beginning the search for more productive models by which they can grow their revenues without needing to grow their headcount costs at the same time. This is what the industry is calling a 'non-linear services business model'.

DVRS: Does Zyme have a non-linear services business model?

CS: The term 'non-linear services business model' didn't exist when Zyme was created, but I suppose it is exactly what we have. The term refers to a services business in which revenue is successfully de-linked from headcount costs, and where you are able to drive up revenues at a much faster pace than the rate of growth of your head-count costs.

Another way to think about this is as a services business model where you have continuous people productivity driven by an underlying software platform. At Zyme we focus a lot on sharpening our solutions footprint so we are able to bring in greater revenues and scale by using software automation. Rather than adding people, we invest more in scaling up and retaining the people we do have, while continuously deepening our underlying best-in-class

software. With exactly the same number of people, if we are able to sell our services to 10 more companies and preserve the same high value we did for the previous 10, then that's fantastic.

DVRS: The concept of labour productivity that you refer to does not seem to have entered the vocabulary of the IT services sector. Would you agree?

CS: Yes, I do. I think that because talent has been cheap and plentiful, the industry has not developed the muscle groups to deal with the idea of talent being scarce and precious.

If you assume that labour is free, and that deploying more people on a job is a good thing, then the system evolves in an inefficient way. I believe that labour productivity issues exist in the IT services industry today because more people than necessary are assigned to do a job, and there is not enough investment in underlying software platforms and productivity tools. Having fewer but higher-impact people doing the job actually works better most of the time.

I often tell this story at new employee orientations in our India team. I once went to watch a one-day international cricket match at a stadium in Bangalore. From the gate at the entrance of the stadium, you must walk through a long barricaded area in a queue towards the inner stadium gate, inside which is the actual seating area. Seven people check your ticket, from the time you enter the stadium to the time you take your seat. So naturally you wonder, 'Why did seven people have to check my ticket?'. On reflection, you realise that a fundamental assumption exists in the system that the first person is not going to do his job. So a second person must check the work of the first person, and the same logic applies to the third, and so on. The moment you make such an assumption—and the related assumption that inexpensive labour exists in abundance—you enter the mindset of having as many as seven people doing the same job, as though that will get the job done better! In fact, if I were the first person and I saw six more people doing exactly the same job, my incentive to do my job would be zero, thereby increasing the failure rate of the security system.

By the way, when I tell this story, I usually end by stating that if you find someone standing behind you at Zyme doing the same job, please resign. And I mean it.

DVRS: You've said that supply-side thinking and the absence of labour productivity concepts are problems that Indian IT service companies are facing. Contrast this mindset with the perspective of a technology company in Silicon Valley, where Zyme was born.

CS: Companies born in Silicon Valley are technology-innovative product companies. They always start from the demand side. They are willing to put a certain amount of money into the construction of what they believe will sell. This is a higher risk and a more capital-intensive way of entering business. You have to put money into the business for 18 months (or more), build an entire product, and power the business with the belief that when the product lands in the market, it will do well. You need to have consumers who can test that idea. You also count on a labour force shaped by an education system that promotes independence of thought, innovation, problem-solving, and risk taking. And all of this—the capital, the innovation culture,

and the market opportunity in the neighbourhood—exists in Silicon Valley.

If your company's chosen market opportunity requires you to hire five people, great; and if the job can be done with only two people, that's even better. Companies in Silicon Valley are founded with this mindset because hiring people is an expensive affair, and everyone understands that innovation and motivation levels are lower if people feel crowded and that they are not given enough independence to do their jobs.

DVRS: What are the key ingredients that are needed for an Indian ITES company to shift its business model from a linear services mindset to a non-linear one?

CS: I think the shift from a linear to a non-linear business model requires first a fundamental shift of mindset. An ITES company established on a non-linear model always starts by asking the questions, 'What is the market problem? How do I define a solution footprint to deliver to that market problem? What is the smallest team I need to support that solution footprint?'. It is the reverse for a company that is established on a linear business model, which starts with the question, 'I have a large pool of trained people; what are the opportunities into which I can place them?'.

This shift requires deep expertise within the company on market and solution identification, a field sales force that can sell that solution footprint 20 or 30 times without diluting its efforts or the solution footprint, and deep product management and software building capabilities to build a robust and scalable platform on which those services can be delivered.

DVRS: The big ITES companies have talented people at the top, so shouldn't this change be easy for them to achieve?

CS: I think it's always hard to change an organisation that is large and moving along a certain path, especially when the change required is deep.

Indian ITES companies are genetically programmed along a couple of dimensions. They have been fed a steady diet of a certain type of business, and now they need to keep the machine going. Public companies with a lot of investor pressure cannot suddenly announce that they are going to switch to a different revenue model that might be slower and that would take some years to build. In order to shift to a non-linear model, these big organisations must develop new skills, and where necessary, they have to acquire skills and platforms from the outside. They must be willing to survive six quarters of telling the market that they are making a shift from one mindset to another.

They need to conduct forceful experiments with these new business models. I know of ITES companies that have created a 'platform team' run by a manager whose entire job is to find platform businesses. However, such platform teams need to be protected and told that it is okay not to contribute revenues for the next two years. This is challenging because in tough times, experiments that are not generating enough revenue tend to be shut down first, and it takes a great deal of wisdom and courage from the top to stay focussed on these new business models when you are surrounded by tactical pressures.

DVRS: Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

CS: Thank you.

Works consulted

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Magretta, J. (May 2002). Why business models matter. Harvard Business Review.

Prahalad, C. K., & Krishnan, M. S. (2008). The new age of innovation: Driving co-created value through global networks. Harvard Business School Press.

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Seshadri, D. V. R., & Hegde, S. (2009). Bucking the trend—A look at Zyme Solutions' non-linear business model for IT services from India. Case Study. IIM Bangalore.

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Prior to Zyme, Chandran Sankaran was CEO of Closedloop Solutions, an enterprise software company that he founded in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also been the Vice President and head of the high-tech markets business unit of i2, the market leader in supply chain management software. Sankaran has an MS in Computer Science from Yale University, and a BTech in Electrical Engineering from IIT, Madras. At IIT he was the recipient of the Governor's Medal, awarded for all-round achievement to one graduating student each year.