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'An entrepreneur knows how to get started'

December 01, 2006 18:23 IST readers had the privilege of chatting with Revathi Kasturi, managing director, Novell West Asia. She is responsible for building the Novell business in the ASEAN & Indian region.

Prior to joining Novell, Kasturi was the founder and president of Tarang Software Technologies, a global IT services company focussed on ELearning and Payment Systems. She also worked with Wipro Technologies as chief executive -- finance solutions division.

Kasturi has over 25 years of experience in the IT Industry. She received her Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in 1980.

Revathi was chosen the Woman of the Year by Business Today in 2001.

Here is transcript of the scintillating chat:

Rupan asked, Ms kasturi ! Do u think itz only the IIT ans who r transforming this country? and if so ..why?
Revathi Kasturi answers, Hi Rupan, Not at all, we are not so presumptious...there are plenty of talented and committed people doing thie bit...IITians are one such community

Ragini asked, Why do most IIT-ians tend to go off abroad and never return? Is India all that bad?
Revathi Kasturi answers, Ragini, This has changed a lot...India is on a high growth trajectory...and if u go to the campus and talk to the final year students majority will stay back..

prathamesh asked, Hello, Ms Kasturi. What is the significance of this pan-iit conference? why is it held every year? does it serve a purpose or is it purely for publicty?
Revathi Kasturi answers, IITians are spread all over the world. Meeting annually with a defined agenda is for getting to connect with friends, with like minded professionals, and having fun. This year the meeting agenda includes much more...a survey was done amongst IITians ..where they were asked to respons to the question..What does Nation building mean to you? ..The responses to the questions were revealing. Many felt nation building meant-1. leveraging technology to address country's problems (48.7%) 2. Creating professionalism in business and govt. (40%) 3. Global branding of India(30%) 4. Breeding enterprenership (30%). So we felt in the meeting this year we will try and inspire IITians to get involved and participate in whatever way they can in nation building.

saurabh asked, Hi Do u think that the B schools at various IITs will be at par with IIMs
Revathi Kasturi answers, Saurabh, our B schools are creating waves all over the world. Perhaps they haven't received so much international recogniztion as the IIT brand....but I am sure with the excellent standard they have set-up that will happen.

Manu asked, What keeps India from becoming a product giant like it is in services?
Revathi Kasturi answers, Manu, we have some great success stories in the product space too.... witness the prowess of iFlex now part of Oracle worldwide. In the retail banking segment,both iFlex and Infosys's Finacle are in the top products for consideration. So it is changing...I think there are many gems specially in the small SMB segment. Many companies are working on creating global products. I am optimistic :)

Pindi asked, Can India really become a KPO powerhouse?
Revathi Kasturi answers, Hi Pindi, In the panIIT 2006,we have a session on how to build India into a Knowledge economy.....identifying the areas where IIT students could contribute...creating environments for learning, teaching and research including digital resources....national broadband to exploit potential of ICT...I think you will enjoy the session and welcome your ideas

sumitaanand asked, hello mam.sumita anand here.did u remember as i was there in Tarang in the sales dept.congrats for the association with stil with tarang as u were the founder member?
Revathi Kasturi answers, Hi Sumita, Tarang continues to do well. I keep in touch with the folks It is now a mature organization and as the "mother", I decided that both of us needed space :)

hello asked, revati can you pls highlight 10 easy steps to get into IIT? I am looking for my sons education in IIT and your suggestion is valuable
Revathi Kasturi answers, Getting into IIT is very competitive now. If your son is really geared up then it is going to need atleast 2 years (11th & 12th standard) of hard work to prepare himself

akk asked, despite all the hulla bulla of IIT's why india fails absymally in research and developmenr
Revathi Kasturi answers, We have had some spectacular success in R&D which I would like to highlight. Our space program has been outstanding. Our nuclear energy initiatives has been very strong. Lets not make sweeping statements. There are many areas where our R&D institutions can learn a lot from their counter part overseas. Part of the networking sessions will enable folks engaged in R&D here to pick-up the best practices from their colleagues abroad. I am sure you will enjoy the interactions

deluxe asked, What is your plan for the poorest of the poor in rural India especially North India, how you & Novell can contribute in bringing some change in their lives ?
Revathi Kasturi answers, During panIIT 2006 as part of inspiring and evolving IITians in nation building, we have a session on poverty alleviation where we would like a free flow of ideas on social development, equity and empowerment. We also have a session on sustainable development where we will be engaging in discussions around water recycling, energy initiatives for rural development, eco sanitation etc., we have also showcased projects of NGOs, institutions who are already doing something in this area. I would strongly encourage you to participate in these sessions. I plan to do so too. Novell, is a MNC which has a lot of initiatives on corporate social responsibility. You can visit our website for more information.

kvprashant asked, hi revati, i hade worked with few iitians, and found most of them with lot of attitude and superiority complex, dont u think education should make one humble rather then proudy ? whts ur take on this ?
Revathi Kasturi answers, Prashant, you are right. The first thing that IIT did to me was to humble me. When you find that you are competing with brilliant folks, you get cut to size. The most learned and respected intellectuals in our country and whose names will stand the test of time are those who are humble.

chaty asked, What are your views entrepreneurship in India? How will Pan-IIT help in entrepreneurship development?
Revathi Kasturi answers, An entrepreneur would love to know how to get started understand from the"gurus" the secret of scaling up, how to have a global footprint whilst keeping roots in India....all this and more is what we plan to discuss in one of our sessions. We also propose to showcase some successful start-ups in this area.

sunya asked, why are iitians succeful in everything they do is it a different ingredient they have or because of the networking etc it is easy for them
Revathi Kasturi answers, I will answer this generically because I see lot of questions with a similar thread. To be successful, you must have the right skills and attitude... I am sure IITians must be having their own share of non-success and failures but it is important to be cowed down by failures but look at it as an opportunity to learn... I guess the rigour of academics at IIT where you are at times pushed to the limits...many times you feel like giving up... but you are friends and the whole ecosystem gives you that energy to move ahead so all of these prepares the IITians for the rigours of the life ahead....

chaty asked, what are your views on the Indian IT industry? where do you see it 5 years from now?
Revathi Kasturi answers, IT industry continues to grow very well. Every year new companies are setup. Employment opportunities are increasing...Indian companies are winning large global IT outsourcing deals. It think we will continue to see strong momentum in the industry both in the IT and ITES.

deepanshu asked, hi revathi, I am an IITian myslef, from IIT Delhi... I was just wondering what kind of associations do IITians have in the US, specially in the Silicon Valley are??
Revathi Kasturi answers, Hi, IIT has associations in many cities in India as well as abroad. In India, Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune are very active chapters where the alumni meet regularly and draw up their program. I believe there are chapters working in EU, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore and US. In the US, there are chapters in many cities including California, Washington etc., my suggestion visit the website.

saju asked, Why not even a single IITian is able to create a company like TCS, Infosys or Wipro or Reliance? WHy college dropout always make a bigger and lasting organisation?
Revathi Kasturi answers, Hi Saju, Did you not know that Infosys CEO & MD Nandan Nilekani is from IIT, Bombay. I was so happy to see that just yesterday he received the FORBES Businessman of the year award.

Globalvillage asked, IITians limits themsevles towards IT sector. Do anybody take interest in Oil exploration industry which has more demand for highly technical sound engineers. Appreciate your reply
Revathi Kasturi answers, Many IITians have distinguished themselves in fields including IT,financial services, consumer products, consulting et all. R. Gopalkrishnan (Tata Sons), Vindi Banga (Unilever), Rajat Gupta (McKinsey), Jairam Ramesh (MoS Commerce)

Vaibhav Chauhan asked, ours is a group of IIT alumnii ... according to you how much exp is required before starting our own software business.... i.e. software company ??
Revathi Kasturi answers, IIT Bombay has a incubation centre where they are some start-ups which are being incubated. They are run by students who have just passed out. On the other hand there are some start-ups with lot of experience for eg. 15-20 years. Obviously, you should know about what you are creating and if you dont have the skill or the experience you must know how to make a team which can bring in that expertise and experience.

jai asked, What is in the mind of PanIIT for manufacturing excellence in Electronics and related field ?
Revathi Kasturi answers, Jai, One of the sessions we will have in the panIIT 2006 is "Use of technology for nation building" "technologies for energy" "biotechnology" and "learning technology". We will have a panel leading this discussion. There is nothing very specific on electronics manufacturing. But there are some generic issues which will be discussed.

jacksparrow asked, Why do you think Novell tied up with MS? What is your reaction? Have you ever met Steve Balmer?
Revathi Kasturi answers, This is exciting news for customers because they want interoperability. But this is not the subject for this chat session. Welcome to novell website for more details

Revathi Kasturi says, Thank you all very much for your questions. I enjoyed the chat. Do register for the panIIT 2006 event. I am sure you will enjoy every bit of it. Reach out to local chapter in your city and see how you can participate in an on going basis. I am sorry I could not answer all your questions. Thank you very much once again. Bye.

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