In the wake of the pandemic, an enterprise’s agility to adjust rapidly to market pressures and changing client needs is now a fundamental business requirement . Today, each organization is hoping to improve its efficiency to survive in the market. One approach to accomplish this objective is by adopting innovations that can assist your employees to collaborate, communicate, and work better.
In this digital era, the data centres are increasing at tremendous speed. The networks in the data centres cannot deal with workflows like a cloud where tenants come and go, the network breaks down, and it costs a lot of money to keep the hardware.
SDN, software-defined networking is the best solution that can cater to the network needs of businesses. An SDN solution makes enterprise networking agile, responsive and effectively support the demands of today’s productivity needs.
Bangalore, India based company Lavelle Networks is one of the top names in the network landscape that is accelerating the digital revolution around the world. Within a span of 5 years, their flagship product line “ScaleAOn” has become the choice of leading Indian enterprises using SDN technologies.
Shyamal Kumar, Karthik Madhava, and Vishal Khare came together to drive this innovative journey, along with a committed team of engineers who wrote the first lines of code and are still building the company.
The company began in 2015, in a café on Lavelle Road, Bangalore, and thus the name Lavelle Networks. With a business presence in India, Singapore, Middle East, and North America, Lavelle Networks have developed quickly to turn into a trusted network partner for clients rushing towards the cloud and advanced digital change. Today, Lavelle Networks is the fastest-growing software-defined networking start-up in Asia, with more than 75 enterprise customers, and over 10,000 places of businesses connected across multiple regions of the world. The company’s vision is to provide the best network experience to its customers across all their cloud applications.
Like every business, Lavelle Networks also faced some challenges while its inception. Without sitting back relaxed thinking about the problems, the team thought of solutions that helped them to be what they are today, the market leader in the network landscape! Building a great team was the first challenge they faced, as that’s the foundation of a company’s success. It took them a couple of years to bring all the right talent, skill, and committed folks into the leadership of the company. The other challenge was to convince customers that they have a long term vision for the market and their future, since they are building core IT infrastructure products, and customers want to believe that the Lavelle team is there for the long haul.
Getting the first 5 customers in 2016 triggered the growth of Lavelle Networks. Every technology business is fuelled by a growing customer base as its fulcrum of success. Shyamal says, “We are always laser-focused on acquiring more and more customers, and increasing product usage every day. Once we had signed up the first five customers and broke into our first revenue quarter, there was no looking back.”
Charting the new paths of success
The biggest change is in sheer product usage and customer adoption. Lavelle networks have grown 300% year on year, in terms of revenue, market share, product instances, and several customers. Team Lavelle says, “Starting from scratch, we broke into a market dominated by large incumbent players, and created a 30% market share in terms of deployed software instances. While there are several business metrics like EBIDTA that have improved, we have always believed that if we focus on several customers and usage per customer – all other metrics and graphs will automatically be alright.”
The biggest reason for Lavelle Network’s success is they believe in making decisions that are good for the long run, rather than the near term. While near-term execution is of paramount importance, they drive all their strategy by making decisions that are in the long-term interest of their valuable customers, team, and investors. This is also the reason the company invests a lot of time and resources in their leadership, sustaining a culture of teamwork, and a transparent decision-making process. Ultimately it is this inner core of your company that drives your success in the market. It’s a little bit like working out in the gym – there are muscles everyone can see and appreciate (like your revenue and profits), but they know well that until the core of our body is strong, all the other success is short lived. It’s the same thing with a company.
The core is your people and the processes around people, if they are not alright; it is hard to be successful.
The company’s rollout of the first 1000+ network on its ScaleAOn platform in 2017 is a key memory that is special. With a team of fewer than 30 people they delivered on a massive project, considering the technology was brand new. This was India’s 2nd largest fashion retail chain at that time.
Putting innovation on the table
Lavelle Networks focuses on networking software delivered from the cloud as-a-service, with a focus on network performance, security, and management. The company’s solutions are different from others in the market because they focus on the performance of the application, rather than on just network metrics. The company develops a verticalized approach to applications like Microsoft Office 365, or SAP, or other major cloud platforms. Customers care only about applications – not about compute, network, or storage directly. So they take the approach that customer’s love – which is how Lavelle’s network platform can make your applications faster and safer.
We don’t sell on network features, but rather on application experience.
The company has hardware, software, and a mature suite of network services for customers including bandwidth aggregation, cloud-based network monitoring centres, and a network helpdesk.
Lavelle Networks decide the next steps always keeping customers in their mind. For them, growing existing customers is a key priority, and then finding more customers is an equivalent priority. So the team Lavelle stays close to market inflection points like hybrid cloud usage, BYOD, SASE and build that into our agile and evolving roadmap. “We also believe that the challenges faced by our customer’s in-network access are what we should focus on, instead of looking at solutions that we might be excited to build but might not be the pressing problems for our customers.” Shyamal commented.
Mr. Shyamal Kumar – A leader with a revolutionary innovative vision
Since 2000 when he started working, Shyamal has built networking platforms for the internet. He says, “My initial work at a California based start-up got me hooked into this adrenalin-fuelled world of innovation, passion and David-vs-Goliath battles in the market.” Since then he has been part of 5 start-ups, building great networking products for data centres, campus branches, security, cloud, and the worldwide Internet. He had written some of the initial code to create the world’s first interoperable MPLS network between Cisco and Juniper for AT&T. Shyamal has had a fascinating ringside view of the phenomenal growth of the Internet, and the impact it has had on businesses worldwide. Taking new software products to market is something he has done over and over again, and that’s what he is passionate about.
Shyamal says, “Investing in my growth as a leader has been the most rewarding part of this journey. I have felt at each stage, that only by becoming a better leader have I been able to make progress in my entrepreneurial pursuit. On the technology front, I am most proud of building the Juniper MX terabit traffic engine, one of the world’s first wireless broadband systems using WiMAX, and the first-ever virtual network services engine at Inkra Networks.”
The happening work culture at Lavelle
People at Lavelle Networks focus a lot on the day to day values and culture in their workplace. Information in the company is freely provided and available for faster decision making. The company has extremely flexible working hours and a leave policy that takes care of every conceivable personal need that might arise. Lavelle Networks promoted a distributed workforce even before COVID-19, so their complete workflow is cloud-based, and on digital platforms.
Shyamal says, “We strive to ensure that operational execution is fast and precise, and people are not left with no guidance, information, or support. The biggest strength of our team is that everyone can reach out to the leadership at any time, and know that their point of view will be heard. Anyone can influence a strategic decision in our company if they have the right input, irrespective of their position in the team structure.
“As a networking company – we are most inspired by the fast pace of the telecommunication revolution in India. Barely a decade back was we still in 2G networks, with sparse Internet access. The extreme pace at which our mobile networks have grown is something that always inspires us.” He added.
Shyamal’s take on market after COVID-19
The need we anticipated back in 2017 is now a roaring market opportunity, with almost every major enterprise not only migrating to one cloud but at the same time using multiple clouds. In the wake of COVID-19 and business continuity, it has become imperative to use digital platforms that are available from more than one cloud for resilience, availability, and performance. Our work in this area has become even more strategically important to the digital transformation of our customers.
A business is only as successful as the customers it serves. Focusing on what our customers need to be successful is now more important than ever. The next thing is to be as cloud-ready and digital-first as possible, any company that still has manual workflows is going to find it hard to move ahead. Pay extra attention to your people as everyone is going through a survival phase, and be sensitive to the fact the business metrics need to be secondary, and ensuring we make it through this universally trying times is the primary metric.
About Constant vigilance and a rat-race in the market
Constant vigilance is a need. Today we live in a red ocean market in all areas of business solutions. The barrier to creating technology is lowered because of the cloud, internet, and mobile. So one needs to be vigilant of competition, and the disruption someone else is working on. We believe that each of us has the potential to be unique in this world, and our impact is also designed to be unique. Following a path where our potential is creating a maximum impact on other people’s lives in the world is the best way to deal with it. Compete with your potential, not with others. Because you have been gifted by God, which is great for your life story. The more you flow in your gifts, the easier it is to ignore the rat race. For example – I don’t sweat about the valuation of competitors, I only focus on the best company that I can create with the potential of technology leadership that I am blessed with. – signs off Shyamal.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you winMahatma Gandhi