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CIO Review >> Magazine >> June - 2014 issue

MindCraft: Developing Solutions Ahead of Customers’ Demand


Over the past couple of years, the Indian BFSI sector has displayed a high level of resilience in the face of high domestic inflation, rupee depreciation and fiscal uncertainty. In order to stimulate this, the sector has turned towards adopting more industry specific technologies. This has widened the opportunity for IT service providers to offer their expertise in this domain. While there is an ocean of possibilities, most services companies were outward looking, i.e., they were more engrossed to serve the clients outside India and pulled themselves back from serving small companies. This created a huge deficit of companies serving the Indian BFSI space. To bridge this deficit with technology services meant specifically for the Indian BFSI space, Hemant Nerurkar founded MindCraft Software Pvt. Ltd. in 2002.

This Mumbai based company provides software solutions and services - integration solutions, BI solutions and software infrastructure management services focused on the Banking, Insurance, Mutual Funds, Financial Services and Pharmaceutical sectors. MindCraft has various solution templates for the Banking, Insurance and Mutual Funds industry: PayCraft – The Remittance Hub, which caters to cross border remittance related issues; Life Insurance Dashboards, which deliver seamless analysis, MIS/reporting to every insurance business domain in an organized, efficient and secure way; and Enterprise-wide Risk Management BI Solution to reduce operational & investment losses.

Currently, banks are in the midst of a technology refresh and landscape optimization. Most banks are looking to adopt the service-oriented architecture and are moving from file based data exchange (EDI) to Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) that MindCraft specializes in.

Scoring Over Competition

MindCraft's technology & domain expertise and the focus on Indian customers helped the company nurture tremendously in a short span of time, helping it grow four-fold within the last three years. "Challenges keep changing. Initially it was our small size and the reluctant of the Indian companies to adapt to latest technology. Today, it is the speed at which these companies are adopting technology and the huge transaction volumes in India. Cost pressures have always been an issue which will continue but, customers have changed over the period. They are willing to pay well when we can demonstrate the value of our solutions," explains Hemant Nerurkar, Managing Director, MindCraft.

The recent economic slowdown has left several companies financially drained. Today, customers need tailor-made solutions but are not willing to pay for ground up development. MindCraft has developed solution templates which reduce the development cost by around 40 percent and also provide the flexibility that customers seek. "IT is not 'One Size Fits All'. Just like other verticals, IT needs to be sector specific. Customers like the fact that we understand their business very well. All our people are familiar with the basic concepts of their industry vertical. We have our team of industry and domain experts who make it easy for the business users to deal with us," adds Hemant.

MindCraft started off as a technology focused company offering services to the Financial Services vertical. It developed core functional skills in financial services especially Banking, Insurance and Mutual Funds. Later, the company added a Business Intelligence practice. Very recently, it developed skills for mobile application development. Hemant explains, "We have been working closely with our customers and have been formulating our strategies based on their game plan. This helps us sell more to the same customers and they are spared the trouble of looking for multiple vendors and managing them".

The niche focus on sector and geography along with a strong technology team helps MindCraft score over its competition, mostly giant companies. Today, the 400+ people strong company along with the vendor partners serves clients ranging from Axis Bank, Birla Sun Life Insurance, BNP Paribas, BSE, Cipla, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management, National Securities Depository Limited, Reliance Life Insurance, Tata AIA Life Insurance, Yes Bank and several others. To most of the customers; they are the smallest company providing such cutting-edge technologies and solutions.

To serve such big players, the team has to be on its toes - relentlessly innovating, implementing and creating solutions. MindCraft not only follows a work hard culture but it encourages a play hard environment as well. On one hand, where the company organizes several office events and parties for people to mingle and have fun, on the other hand, it expects a high level of integrity and commitment from them. MindCraft provides various training programs and workshops for people development. It conducts management workshops for improving people management and project management skills.

Eventually, over the years MindCraft has extended its services to U.S. and Singapore based customers as well. The company also intends to move more towards providing end-to-end solutions to its customers based on its templates. Hemant concludes, "The vision is to be the best service provider for the financial services industry. For that, we need to be a part of the industry (rather than the IT industry). We will understand their issues and develop solutions much before they come looking for them".