21 September 2019

Interaction- Kalyan Vaidyanathan, Co-Founder & CEO, Nadhi Information Technologies

nPulseTM has a proven record of delivering quantifiable benefits to clients

 

Nadhi Information Technologies Pvt Ltd., a company incubated from the IIT Madras Research Park, is a Chennai based enterprise software and solutions company developing analytics based, mobile enabled, collaborative decision support solutions for capital projects. KALYAN VAIDYANATHAN, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, NADHI INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES PVT. LTD spoke to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES on his company’s unique software solutions.

 

 

 

Briefly give us an overview of the Construction & Project Management Software industry, the latest technology trends, and the business drivers?

 

The main drivers of innovation in the construction project management software industry are the need for management (whether at the senior management/CXO level or at a more “tactical” project manager level)

  • to be in control of the project rather than the project be in control of them
  • to have real time access to project KPIs and success metrics such as schedule, cost, quality, safety, sustainability etc.
  • to have enough insights through analytics into past performance and the likelihood of future milestones being met;
  • to have a sense of awareness over all facets of the projects from engineering to procurement to construction, especially with a view to helping them decide how best they can help (decision support) their organisations and teams in delivering the project successfully;
  •  and to have seamless collaboration and communication across stakeholders, needless to say with as much mobility as can be achieved

 

 

We find that senior management personnel particularly are keen to explore and evaluate solutions which strengthen them in the above ways,and are increasingly motivated to make their organisations also get attuned towards them.

 

As far as technology trends go, needless to say all the latest “buzzwords” have entered this space as well. Mobility is a non-negotiable now, all the large companies are looking to digitize their various business processes, interest in analytics is picking up though probably not the extent that other industries have adopted it, and finally we are seeing a surge in things such as IoT enabled project management, 3D visualisation, machine learning etc. The old days of standalone desktop-based systems and spreadsheets are definitely over, and there is eagerness to explore new frontiers. More recently clients are getting comfortable with cloud deployments of solutions for project controls, something that did not exist a couple of years back.

 

 

 

What are the USP’s of your productsvis-à-vis competition

 

nPulseTM is unique in that rather than treat the project as a number of “silos” of information, it looks at the project as a whole and is geared towards maximising efficiency of the whole delivery process. While it has very deep capabilities in each of the functional areas it addresses, the true strength comes out in the cross-linking and interdependencies across different areas. For example, with nPulse, a team member may update an agenda item related to say design that is assigned to her from her mobile phone while watching TV at home, and in real time that update will reflect in the project’s overall schedule and the appropriate responsible people will be notified. The solution allows decision makers to move from a reactive mode of project monitoring to a proactive mode of project controls based on lead indicators into project performance.

 

 

 

Which are the important projects with which your software has been associated with and name your major clients?

 

We have worked on a number of projects and clients over the past few years in India and UAE. On the owner/operator side we are working with organisations such as Lodha Builders, Tata Realty, Godrej Construction, RMZ Ltd. etc.

 

On the contractor/EPC side we are engaged with Larsen & Toubro, Afcons, Godrej & Boyce and Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Limited to name some. L&T has launched a huge digitization initiative and we are one of their digitization suppliers. nPulse today is live in two of their business units and is being rolled out across all their projects pan India, Middle East and soon in Africa and South East Asia.

 

One specific project that we are proud to be associated with is the Khalapur campus construction ultra megaproject for Godrej Construction. With the use of nPulse and lean construction techniques, GC was able to deliver the project in 30 per cent less time than what was expected through conventional methodologies and technologies. GC is one client for whom nPulse is a mission critical application that is used across the entire organisation.

 

 

Tell us of the role played by your software in bringing time cost and time overruns in projects with examples from some projects?

 

nPulseTM has a proven record of delivering quantifiable benefits to clients across different projects and functions. In one project where the productivity gains from the system were measured, using nPulseTM resulted in doubling of the rate at which project issues were getting closed and an 80 per cent reduction in the average time taken to close issues. At another project, per the client’s project manager, “…The solution subtly enables a look-ahead based planning and provides look-ahead metrics. Compared to our previous experience managing projects, we are able to see clear ROI with this solution…Overall data entry duplication has been reduced by at least 25 per cent and the overall productivity of the construction management team has improved by 15 per cent to 20 per cent .”

 

All these translate directly into time savings on the overall project timeline and therefore cost savings as well. One of our client sponsors recently remarked that their entire projects business has moved from measuring lag indicators to lead indicators and they are now able to confidently deliver projects within time and budget while continuously improving to reduce the same without loss of quality.

 

 

 

What are the business opportunities being sought by your company in construction/ infrastructure and real estate space and the strategies to market your products?

 

As a fast-growing tech company (winner of Deloitte’s Fast 50 India and Fast 300 Asia awards in 2016 and 2017), we are always on the lookout to expand our footprint as well as our client base.

 

To that end, on the one hand, we look to deepen the engagements with our existing clients. Since nPulseTM brings to the table multiple features and benefits, we are able to convince clients who adopted it for a subset of functions to expand the engagement by increasing the number of projects and/or increasing the modules under use. The fact that the technology is not limited to specific functions such as scheduling, document management, handover management, safety and/or quality management etc. but brings all these and much more under one virtual roof helps us gain mindshare.

 

On the other hand, we are engaged in reaching out to newer organisations primarily via two channels. One is word of mouth and references from existing clients and the other is through participation in industry events and fora where we have a certain credibility as an organisation focused on capital projects with a proven team and track record. This year, we are planning to devote more time and effort to digital marketing and increasing our online presence. Last year we put effort in developing partnerships with channel partners who are willing to sell nPulse and develop a consulting practice around it. We now have multiple such partnerships both in India and the Middle East. We will look to strengthen this channel-based selling model and further encourage means to have more partners join the Nadhi family.

 

 

 

Could you talk of the challenges associated with convincing clients of the efficacy and profitability of software solutions and services offered by firms such as yours?

 

What we are finding nowadays is that it is not too difficult to convince clients about the value proposition of technology like nPulseTM. There aren’t too many people out there who will dispute the need for better technology and solutions in this industry. And with the maturity of the nPulse solution, clients are quick to recognise its value proposition and ease of deployment strengths. That being said, the real challenge is perhaps in convincing them that their organizations can absorb and use the technology meaningfully. We recognise that change management is absolutely critical in ensuring adoption and realising returns on tech investments. Our role is not merely confined to providing the clients access to the technology and training and walking away; we are fully engaged with the client on their adoption journey and make sure that we not only bring the technology, but also put in place a robust process to ensure stickiness and adoption. In this regard, we really leverage the experience of our team in various industries and organisations such as i2 Technologies, SAP, TCS etc.

 

 

Please provide details on your emphasis on research, design and innovation?

 

As mentioned previously, Nadhi is incorporated from the Building Technology and Construction Management division of the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Madras and the IIT Madras Research Park. In one sense, one could say that research and innovation became part of our DNA from the get go. Our deep and continuing relationship with some of the best minds in the field in academia from India and abroad helps us in crafting solutions for the industry that are both relevant in the here and now and at the same time at the cutting edge of the field. As part of our outreach activities, senior faculty and students from these institutions are heavily involved in R&D and in fact have been the brains behind some of our most innovative features. Areas of research collaboration with IITM include IoT, BIM, and analytics. Some of our recent research efforts that were shown to clients in closed door events have evinced a lot of interest and we are soon looking to productize them and release it to the market.

 

 

 

What are the main challenges to your industry and what are your strategies to overcome them and expand market share?

 

From the construction/infrastructure perspective the global “macro” challenges remain the usual – political and economic uncertainty arising from the changes and policies in the US, Europe and closer home in India. There is not too much one can do combat those, other than continue to offer clients value at a reasonable price even during macroeconomic troughs. Once we move beyond that, the challenges become more tractable. Ensuring adoption and assuring customer referencibility by delighting client users is the tried and tested way forward. Nothing succeeds like success and we feel that momentum is really on our side. In order to take our growth to the next level, we are also seriously looking at “inorganic” growth options via debt and/or equity.

 

 

 

Could you talk of any new products you are planning to launch and their advantages?

 

While we have a few enhancements and new features in the pipeline, we would rather surprise the audience during the premiere rather than tell all in the trailer, so to speak! Watch this space!! And look for us at trade shows and industry conferences for a preview.

 

 

 

Future outlook for the industry and from a company perspective

 

This past year was difficult in terms of market conditions, but inspite of that we were able to do well mainly because of the sector agnostic solution that we offer and the geography expansion that we were able to achieve. We have seen robust growth over the last four years and believe there’s no reason why that can’t continue into the foreseeable future. The global market for solutions in this industry is huge and we are certainly gearing up for it.

 

 

Tell us about the solutions and services offered by your firm in the Construction and Project Management space? Briefly talk about your main software solution, its applicability to various areas of construction, infrastructure and real estate, and its advantage to users?

 

We have two areas of focus at Nadhi. On the technology side, we develop and deliver nPulseTM, our mobile platform for data collection, analysis, decision support, and project controls. We also provide Lean Construction consulting services where we help clients improve the efficiency of their processes (whether it be actual construction or even in areas such as design and procurement) through proven, quantitative methods. We come from a strong construction and software background (Nadhi is incubated from the Civil Engineering department at IIT, Madras) and these strengths complement each other when we deliver solutions to our clients.

 

nPulseTM is a mobile collaboration and decision support platform for integrated project controls that has been designed and built from the ground up for the infrastructure, construction and real estate industry. It’s sector agnostic in that it has been applied with equal success to a variety of different projects including residential and commercial real estate, roads, power plant, bridges, marine facilities, power transmission etc. The key benefits it provides clients are:

 

Integration and seamless collaboration across different areas of the project such as schedule management, cost/revenue management, document management, issue management, quality control, snag list management, checklists and claims processes.

 

It automates many processes and workflows, reducing the manual burden on project stuff. Reports and alerts are automatically generated, customisable dashboards and KPIs are delivered right to the client

It makes the data collection at the “last mile” at the sites easier via mobile apps, spreadsheets etc.

 

It bi-directionally integrates with all ERP systems and scheduling systems and increases the value of investments in existing legacy systems while providing a strong platform for digitised project controls.




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