How Can Start-ups Add Value to IT Services Companies

Krishnakumar Natarajan, Executive Chairman at Mindtree, spoke to the Entrepreneur India about the nuances of collaboration between start-ups and IT services companies.

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By Sneha Banerjee


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Can IT services companies and new age start-ups form a good and profitable cocktail? IT services companies need to innovate and start-ups have an opportunity to capture the situation.

Krishnakumar Natarajan, Executive Chairman at Mindtree spoke to the Entrepreneur India about the nuances of collaboration between start-ups and IT services companies.

What Do IT Firms Seek In Start-ups?

"There could be two to three issues to be considered here. All our customers are looking forward to see the kind of innovation we are bringing into their businesses. On many occasions we lack the capability to inspire innovation. But, always the key requirement is to provide new ideas to our customers," Natarajan said.

He said often customers ask how can firms use their existing infrastructure and bring about quantum improvement. "How can we use the knowledge we have about customer infrastructure and bring in the start-up solution to work together? This means we have to work as a system integrator and deliver the outcome for the customer," the executive chairman said.

Highlighting the third aspect, he said, "Many a times customers ask us to co-innovate or co-create and we start looking for ideas. At times, the core idea comes from the way a start-up builds itself. It really helps us meet the customers' expectations."

Natarajan has over 30 years of experience in the IT industry and was also appointed as the Chairman of National Association of Software and Services Companies(NASSCOM) in 2013-2014.

Natarajan was one of the key speakers at SaaS Talks organized by Kalaari Capital.

He shared the following tips for start-ups to work with IT services companies:

  • Try to zero in on the specific customers
  • Be specific on the value proposition you are offering to the customer. Start-ups fail here because they try to offer everything. Be crisp and to the point.
  • Once you see an opportunity, engage at the earliest in the pre-sales cycles
  • Incentivize your sales team to work with them
  • Enterprise sales has no science to it. You need to be patient. Even though sales size is small, you need to think of the long-term relationship
Sneha Banerjee

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

She used to write for Entrepreneur India from Bangalore and other cities in South India. 

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