“We will postpone our IPO amid a volatile market”

by Ashwani Mishra    Aug 17, 2011

Pune-based Nihilent Technologies, a global consulting and solutions integration company, is on a steady growth track says LC Singh, CEO of the company.

Nihilent is trying to leverage its presence in the African market and create a leadership position. It also has plans to scale up business operations in India and is looking for acquisitions in strategic markets.

L C Singh[Q] What are the unique drivers that differentiate your business proposition with respect to other players in this space?

[A] We bring a holistic approach to managing change. Our business is focused in conducting a holistic prognosis of all the required changes that are required in an enterprise environment. These changes are across people, process, technology and knowledge. For example, we help companies rewrite or rework their processes to meet business needs. We also advise them to make structural changes, where necessary, to ensure that people with right capabilities fit the right role.

Another key feature is our consulting experience. It comprises a blend of management consulting and business technology experience, which is still fairly unique in the market.

[Q] What is your global footprint? How have you insulated your business from the economic turmoil in the US and Europe?

[A] Our operations span North America, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. We have a strong focus on the African market, which accounts for 75 percent of our revenue pie.

We do not have a significant presence in other markets, except Africa which is still growing at five percent annually. A focus on the African market has helped us insulate our business from the global crisis over the years. There were hiccups because of the financial downturn, but we recovered faster than others. Our revenues were stagnant around 2008-2009, but we are doing pretty well since then.

We have been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 30 percent.

[Q] How do you foster an environment of innovation and growth within the organization?

[A] Innovation is a necessity. It is vital to our business and we will continue to position ourselves differently from others to leverage our consulting and software development potential.

We cannot grow our business and compete with top companies by merely bagging projects and executing them. Through innovation we can create different value propositions for our customers. It will also find unique touch points with potential new clients.

We invest in training, learning and encourage exponential individual growth. Our culture emphasizes on driving innovation and developing programs that will help create long lasting customer loyalty and outperform our competition.

[Q] You launched a Customer Loyalty Evaluation (CLE) tool that claims it will help businesses identify loyalty drivers and build enduring customer loyalty. Can you explain?

[A] Conventional customer loyalty surveys lack clarity. They invariably capture the superficial and on-the-moment mindset of the customer without attempting to uncover facets of the promised experience or an insight into what the customer is really expecting. With these surveys, it is practically impossible to predict the future course of action of the customer.

CLE is based on the analysis of the experience of the customers in comparison with their expectations for a service. Through our new patent, which we believe is the first in the category worldwide, businesses can calculate the Predictive Loyalty Index (PLI) of customers, forecast trends and preferences over a period, track areas of improvements, and identify the opportunities for innovation.

Our idea was to create a solution that was affordable by every company irrespective of the size. This was the outcome of the research and it took us around three years to come up with this solution after going through various solutions offered across the globe.

[Q] Will this solution be available online and by when?

[A] Yes, we are finalizing the website and creating around 27 templates. We will launch it in a couple of months. Each template will cater to a vertical and is a cloud-based system where companies can buy the services online.

Some major banks in South Africa have already started to use this solution. In India, we have done pilots for banking, auto and telecom sector companies.

[Q] What are your plans for an initial public offering (IPO)? Are you also looking at acquisitions?

[A] We were planning to have our IPO next year but amidst fears of recession, we might push it ahead for another 8 to 10 months.
We will look at 2013 for our IPO listing. It is certainly on the cards. We have already started the process of standardizing the accounts, governance and operations on par with listed companies.
We are sitting on some cash that we might use for strategic acquisitions to strengthen our business operations.