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From TCS to BBS
Couple of days back, one of the news headline was "TCS now races ahead of Reliance in profits too." For the quarter ended December 2015, TCS edged Reliance out of the top slot with a net profit of Rs. 5328 crores.
It didn't happen overnight.

Couple of years ago, TCS overtook RIL in terms of market cap to be counted as the most valuable listed company.

Two years ago, Forbes had reported "India's TCS Becomes The World's Second Most valuable IT Services Firm".

But, between all this few things were missed or overlooked by TCS.

In January 2013, F C Kohli expressed his views on Indian language computing in "The Economic Times". He said, "When we started, the Indian software industry was primarily focused on exports and 40 years later, it still continues to be so. The domestic market accounts for only 15% of the software industry's $100 billion annual turnover. The country has too few computers. This is because there are no computers in Indian languages. China has computers in mandarin, but India, for historical reasons, has stuck with English. The computer is but a tool and Indians should be able to use this tool in their own language. You express your ideas best that way. Innovative thinking comes in your own language. After all these years of speaking in English, I still dream in my own language."

"Some people tell me everyone will eventually learn English, we should just wait. That will take 100 years. We need to solve this problem now and TCS is working on it, with our educational institutions and the Government. In 12 months, the Indian language computer should be out and it will drive domestic software development in the future."

Since then, we have not heard anything on Indian language computing from TCS.

And as they say someone's loss is someone else's gain. Bharat Bhasha Sanganan (BBS) a small firm based out of Sion in Mumbai has taken an unbeatable lead in Hindi computing. BBS recently launched its highly acclaimed first managed open source software (MOSS) product. It is called BBS Hindi Office.

BBS Hindi Office, is a professional, complete and made for India office productivity suite, on the lines of Microsoft Office. BBS Hindi Office consists of a word processor, called Letters (similar to Word), a spreadsheet, Max (Excel), a presentation tool, Show (PowerPoint), a database, Records (Access), a drawing tool, Draw (Paint), and Maths a basic Equation Editor.

The striking feature of this office package is the academic rigour in word selection and design of the Hindi User Interface. Here the English terms in the Menu are not simply written in Hindi script (which is the normal practise) but their correct Hindi equivalents have been researched and adopted from standard science dictionaries in Hindi including those produced by the Government of India.

In other places, new words have been coined and in few places (almost negligible) English words have been retained. BBS Office comes at a far lower price than the regular software available in the market and has lot more features; which will enable India to achieve what F C Kohli wanted and more.

The world of business is replete with instances of large firms losing out to the small and nimble footed firms, like IBM and Microsoft in the 1980s. Instead of explaining in my own words, I take the liberty of quoting extensively from one of India's most storied industrialists, Sunil Mittal. "India's corporate history has several examples of the new kids taking over the block… What makes these new kids succeed where established players fail - or in many cases, wake up to the potential when the train has left the station?" Sunil Mittal wrote in The Hindustan Times.

Then giving his own example "…Bharti Airtel is today India's largest telecom company. Yet, it did not go on to win the airport deal in Delhi…Bharti went into the opportunity of developing the airport ahead of others. The company started work on the airports even before the government woke up to this possibility. Large established players are required to think ahead of time and shape the economic agenda of a nation. We tied up with the best operator in the world, Changi. All stakeholders, including the government, gave this potent combination a thumbs-up to win the Delhi airport."

"A lot of work went into the process of bidding, the business plan, the endless meetings of experts, consultants and managers. They call it the management process. I call it the 'useless dance'. While the big boys like us were busy going through the motions, the smart set of entrepreneurs - the rookies - determined to win, relied on simple assumptions, mapped out the moves of the big players, stayed focused on winning and surged ahead. For Bharti it was a big and important project, yet not a project which would make or break it. Therein lies the guru mantra and the difference between winning and losing."

"The nation needs to celebrate the victory of GVK and GMR… The rise of the rookies will inspire thousands more. Today the economy is bringing forth a hundred new faces. In a few years, GVK and GMR will run dozens of airports and will be household names and in the round beyond, they will also sit and wonder how they lost to the new kids on the block."

Only time will tell, if we will see a BBS along with TCS, till then good luck to BBS.

Sandeep Singh, is founder and tweets from #swastiknetin

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