If I ask you which software comes in your mind, when we talk about taxation and other finance-related tasks, of course, Tally will be there. It has set its own benchmark which can be seen when different institutes are offering courses to teach pupils- how to operate Tally software, amazing isn’t? But reaching this level wouldn’t be easy for the company, this Indian based Tally Solutions Pvt. Ltd. headquartered in Bangalore inception in 1986 has seen so many up and downs but because of quality and solutions for different finance-related problems, their status quo is the same as it was before, well stabled.
The company in the enterprise resource planning domain providing seamless accounting, inventory and tax compliance solution to SME and large enterprise companies. With the trust of nearly 2 million businesses worldwide, it caters to more than 6 million users across industries in over 100 countries.
One of the popular product of their Tally ERP 9 enables business owners to make confident business decisions enhancing business efficiency and productivity.
To know about this popular brand, recently we came across Mr Harsha Kodnad, Director of Technology, Tally Solutions to have an interaction, where we asked him a couple of questions to know more about the company’s strategy, ideas and plans. Let’s see what we got to know…
Mr Harsha Kodnad, Director of Technology, Tally Solutions associated with Tally since 2000. Over the years, he has contributed towards designing, architecting, developing and delivering multiple products and releases at Tally. He is one of the key participants in the evolution of TDL a.k.a. Tally Definition Language and the Tally.
Developer 9 product, which has created a strong solution ecosystem for Tally, is his brainchild. Harsha is a passionate music lover and singer as well. Whenever free, he spends his time cycling and reading.
1. How is your journey being the technologies director of Tally Solutions, which is a leader in ERP solutions?
It has a been an excellent journey with Tally and the journey continues as Technology Director now. I have started my career with Tally as a software engineer and grown along with this company. There have been success and failures and every failure have taught a lot of lessons to me. It has been a journey with lots of challenges.
As a technology leader, one always will have to battle between the ‘paradox’ of long-term tech advantage that we need to build v/s meeting the market changes and sustaining with the customers’ expectations for the short term. Too much long term would impede short-term, and too much focus on short term destroys the future of the organization. Our product, Tally, being used by millions of businesses worldwide, it is important to continuously balance this.
Our company’s purpose, values defined, and audacious goals set out, have always been the motivator for me in difficult times. Growing with the company for close to 2 decades, these have ingrained in me and have become my personal dreams and goals as well.
2. How Tally stands or is leading the market when there are numerous competitors in the market of ERP solutions like SAP?
It is the long-term technology advantage that we are continuously ahead and the ability to design delightful experience in our products are our differentiators. This has led us to stand out against the market for close to 3+ decades. Our products have always been designed from thinking the ‘customer experience first’ which acts as a constraint for our further product design and architecture to delivery.
The Tally’s benchmark ‘experiences’ (or non-functional requirements) such as Speed, Flexibility, Reliability and Simplicity have been uncompromisable to us when it comes to product delivery. We on one side, have been building software that are simple to buy, download, install, start and use, while on the other hand, building or enhancing the required technology ourselves as an enabler for these experiences.
3. How challenging was it to make Tally Solutions compatible with the latest indirect taxation system in India, i.e. GST? How challenging it is to make the system comply with the latest changes in the GST system every now and then? How do you manage it?
While on the one side, it was trivial as our technology stack built over the years in a ‘Layered architecture’ style and having our own programming language TDL (Tally Definition Language) over it makes adding taxation laws and associated experience which allowed us to get the Tally.ERP9 release to the market days before GST was officially launched.
On the other side, the real challenge was providing a connected experience for customers to allow uploading of invoices to GST system, with GST being the first ‘API based system’ for taxation. This required us to go back to the whiteboard in order to design and identify the right artefacts that will allow us to provide the Tally’s benchmark NFRs in the connected world. In order to stand true to our commitment of these experiences, we have been making new innovative experiences and technology shifts to raise the bar of customer expectations when it comes to connected business systems.
Some unique experiences and tech shifts that we are working are:
Assisting GST taxpayers to upload their invoices and returns online as well as get close to real-time reconciliation of data across GST systems and customer books. Providing an online upload, reconciliation which provides the promise of security and privacy of the customer’s data that travels on the cloud. Delivering customer reliable and delightful online experience providing responsiveness, exception handling and business continuity.
These have required us to step back and rework on some of our technology stack including building our cloud stack
4. Are you planning to explore and penetrate into other software and enterprise solutions in India and abroad, besides ERP solutions?
We are looking to continuously enrich the experience of Small and Medium Businesses. We are looking to expand Tally to work in a more integrated way in the connected world. A connected world that consists of the centralised government system, bank and payment system, market places, their supplier & customers and the accounting professionals that they work with. This will change the way people currently operate their Accounting, Inventory and Compliance. While this being a generic frame that any small and medium business requires, we are also to address the fast pace environment of a Retailer.
5. How do you manage to do your work, or get the work done, in this prestigious position in an esteemed company like Tally Solutions, when you are dealing with people of different wavelengths?
About getting work done, it is not difficult to get work done. It is difficult to get the right work done at the right quality within the right timelines. That puts a lot of challenge on leaders. My simple formula for this is – To get enough depth of knowledge on the ‘subject in question’ (be it technology, functional domain or anything), myself first. This allows me to get work done with ‘high quality’ by challenging average output. Also, when you have the confidence of doing yourself, you can push for it, as well as help people in doing it, leading by example.
When it comes to managing my work, basically it is about finding ‘quality time’ where I have no distractions and can have deep focus. I have been managing this with some early morning or late evening slots, including sitting on a weekend where I can find this quality time. I am not a social animal 😊. i.e. not being active on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. which again have removed my distractions and be more effective during these quality times.
6. Last question. Do you have any advice for the start-ups?
Here are my personal views on this.
Start-ups are initiated with great ideas and the dream of growing large. They face a lot of uncertainty in the initial days until they cross a hump. This uncertainty needs to be dealt in short-term, while not compromising on the long-term objectives that allow achieving the dream of growing large. Todays’ high rate of failures and minor rates of successes are I believe due to the way they have handled this initial uncertainty.
To be more particular, in the push to go to market faster, losing long-term view of the things such as long-term tech advantage, strong business model, scaling with an increasing number of customers (i.e. selling to support) are compromised. This leads to having the core tech, customers becoming liability than asset or advantage. So, it is a patience and tenacity game unless the initial hump is crossed.