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CIO Review >> Magazine >> October - 2013 issue

Novatium: Providing Effortless Computing for the Next Billion


Akin to many new technologies that affirmed to be the next big phenomenon, Cloud computing promised to cause a big impact in the enterprise world. However over time it grew into a complex framework which can be reasoned in part due to the proliferation of end point devices. i.e due to the fact that today, the cloud is not only confined to laptops and desktops but to the likes of Tablets and Smartphones, to name a few. The latest challenge for Enterprises lies in delving deeply into the mobility advantage of the devices along with the legacy of laptops and desktops by leveraging the cloud in the most secure way possible.
The researchers at Chennai based Novatium, under the leadership of CEO, Alok Singh, recognized this and decided to be the change agents by plugging in the loopholes that the industry was reeling from, especially in the mobility aspect of cloud computing. Leveraging over a decade of staunch research, and development in its Navigator product family, the company now possesses a gamut of features that have significantly enriched cloud computing and provided users with a vastly superior computing experience. The "Navigator on Android" application is an example of such cloud enrichment which works by residing as an application and acting as an overlay on the Android Platform. The application has been designed to empower the user to use services such as browsing, storage and many others managed from the cloud, while separating personal and enterprise usage. Being pre-loaded on the handhelds, the suite has been designed even to facilitate offline usage. The platform is just a scratch on the surface of the complete line of products offered by Novatium.
By pursuing design objectives of keeping cloud computing simple, relevant and maintenance free, as explained in the example above, the team has been focusing on strategies that revolve around identifying and rectifying every possible technical and functional bottleneck to the user's satisfaction. Novatium's expertise can be seen in the extent of even plugging in value-added features that only a handful of companies have been able to accomplish so far. This has resulted in a mix of functionality and performance that the company claims sets it apart from traditional computing service providers.

Utilizing the Navigator for Maximum Impact
Perhaps one of the reasons that set Novatium apart from other traditional computing service providers is its robust convergence framework that has enabled computing, communication, entertainment and utilities through a singular simple integrated interface, which is known in the industry circles as the Novatium Navigator suite. The biggest advantage here is that the platform can deliver any application to the user, regardless of the operating system.
"Under our Navigator service, the user's access device as well as data and applications residing on the server are shielded against viruses and other malware by a world-class protection scheme. Navigator’s integral protection scheme safeguards every module running under its control ensuring that the user is oblivious of malware and enjoys the computing experience." Points out Singh on the advantages that the navigator offers. This is how the client looks forward to create an effective and mutually beneficial model where both service providers and customers benefit.
The service was built by the Novatium team to seamlessly bridge the user and web experiences, and to deliver a host of content and features, transparently managing the different components in its operating environment to give the user an unmatched online experience. Unlike other convergence platforms, the Navigator has been built to ensure a wide variety of applications are immediately available to the user – ranging from simple data access and browsing to multimedia information and entertainment content. While the whole industry is today looking for cross platform products, Novatium's device independent client framework can work effectively under Windows, Linux and Android and can run on a PC, laptop, tablet or the latest smart devices, claims the company.
On the server side, Navigator interfaces with a host of specialized software that enables the service provider to provide customized solutions and effectively control every aspect of delivery. Navigator's downstream architecture is designed to enable easy interfacing to virtually any administrative system implemented by the service provider for invoicing, billing, provisioning and other operational requirements. The additional feature of the 'pay as you grow model' only adds to the advantage of the individual.

Delving Deep into the Cloud
From the success of the navigator, the management has realized that Novatium's vision to provide secure and easy to use computing relies on the interplay of computing devices over the Internet. With the internet witnessing tremendous growth over the past decade, the company has strived and played a prominent role in the growth curve, specifically from two view points, best explained by the CTO, Vinod Kumar Gopinath. "Firstly the company has contributed heavily to the concept of cloud based secure and managed devices, which has now been established as the foundation to the growing trend of Bring Your Own Device. On the other hand, Novatium has utilized the technical innovations to extend its solution," He says. "Within the walls of our company, we keep track of the developments in the field of mobile devices and cloud technology. When we perceive that a particular technology is relevant toour solution, we start understanding the technology and start extending our solution to this new arena." adds Gopinath.

Realizing the True Potential of Employees
Understanding and specializing in newer technologies in the arena would not be possible without the experience of the management at Novatium, who recognize that employees are its biggest asset, and hence lay deep importance on a highly motivated team for a successful growth streak. "Having noticed that employees remain encouraged when there are steady streams of challenges that are able `to be solved with some effort, and look back and enjoy the moments, enables the team to look back at the years and be proud of what they have done and also to look forward to new challenges in the future," adds Gopinath. To sustain this environment, the team has constantly been working hard towards the latest developments in the field of IT and comes up with new possibilities for a better solution. After coaching the teams on the process of designing the solution, the efforts are painstakingly reviewed and the necessary positive feedback is provided to enable a motivated environment for Innovation.
The long process of review stems from the primary responsibility of the navigator solution to take users' computing needs and provide dynamic delivery of data and applications to users through multiple customer end device from different cloud based servers and remotely managing this entire environment. The major differentiating factors of the services offerings of Novatium are end to end management with support across multiple devices, analytics and reporting, domain specific desktop interface; managed set of applications and Internet access, conditional access control, secure storage with cloud based synchronization, domain specific enterprise applications portal and secure mail access.

Driving Innovation with a Unique Work Culture
All the focus on extensive innovation and bringing out market disruptive products such as the Net Nova PC suite can be related to two main entities as pointed out by Singh. "The first point is the need to be curious. The second thing is that any organization doing innovation needs to learn how to handle failures because trying to innovate is a high risk job." Singh also highlights that the work culture is positively vibrant, with driven individuals trying ten different ideas at the same time. While one aspect of sales, operations, deployments is support oriented, the team works extensively as sales and operations are the machinery which are compulsory every day to deliver results. The main point here is to ensure that the monotonous way of working of one team, does not creep into the innovative group as the same can severely hinder innovation. "It is critical to segregate the organization and keep the different cultures going. So you need to have completely different key result areas, different incentive schemes for these two teams and that can pose a challenge to keep the process sustainable," points out Singh.
The success of the company can also be equated to strategic planning and deployment in niche areas that look promising. Taking cue of the acquisitions and investments that have occurred in the Silicon Valley over the past few months, Novatium has begun to look beyond BYOD in the enterprise space.

Sustenance in the Indian Market and Global Growth
Having already put its feet a few steps ahead of BYOD, the company has realized that the Indian market is still emerging with the Information and Communication needs still very basic. "But, as the global scenario of BYOD adaptation, MDM implementation and cloud based services are in an accelerated mode, Indian market will also start adopting," Explains Saugata Chakrabarti, Vice President, Sales and Business Development at Novatium.
The team firmly believes in the potential of the Indian market to learn and understand new technologies. With all the CIOs' in India today being technically well qualified, and having a real quest for knowledge has given an added advantage for the organization's channel partners to gain ease in access to Novatium technologies. To sustain the high level of success, the organization believes it needs to constantly expand continuously and keep innovating according to the needs of the market. For its expansion into education solutions, there is a constant lookout for countries and markets where education through ICT is imperative. With many actors in the education ecosystem not being conversant with ICT and looking at a composite solution encompassing devices, services, applications and management control. Novatium is looking at markets where ICT maturity is low, teachers are circumspect about technology and need a framework that they can themselves administer and learn along with.
At a basic level, it is easy to notice that the requirements of cloud services are common globally and locally, the understanding may however differ. "Novatium has realized that the manifestation of the same is what differs from country to country. What has helped us is that we crystallize the customization of our solutions for a particular customer along with the customer. All implementations have a customization cycle, sometimes complex and sometimes simple," says Ritesh Kant, Vice President - International Business at Novatium.
With an already global presence that spans outside India, in South East Asia, Africa, Europe and other markets, the company looks to expand in enterprise and education spaces, through its partners From the the enterprise solutions standpoint the management wishes to crystallize solutions, sell and implement in various organizations that are early adopters of cloud technologies and expand to countries that share similar characteristics with the India market
Moving forward, taking cue from its track record and industry changing success stories such as The Nova Net PC and the Navigator line of offerings, Novatium looks set to leverage the cloud computing phenomenon and dig deep into the BYOD arena in the form of its new products and services such as the secure enterprise desktop on windows and android platforms, management control as a service on windows and Android, and its education solution framework on laptops and tablets.