Pocket HRMS, a leading Indian company, carries almost twenty years of customer service legacy that has served small teams, mid-sized businesses, and large enterprises across India. We serve customers ranging from 25 employees to 50,000 employees and have a diverse clientele across the Services, Distribution, Banking, and NBFC, Retail, Wholesale, and Distribution sectors.
From their humble beginnings as a Desktop-based Payroll solution to the current modern cloud-based end-to-end Human Capital Management solution, they have rapidly evolved with time. Currently, Pocket HRMS is present across leading metro cities of Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Gurugram, Pune, Chennai, and many emerging cities of India.
An IITian with over 22 years of experience, Kumar is a pioneer in utilizing AI and machine learning in the HR domain. He specializes in corporate strategy and business intelligence.
In a conversation with Mr. Kumar Siddhartha, the Managing Director at Pocket HRMS, let’s discover more about the company and its journey since its establishment.
1. What were the initial challenges you faced?
Unlike today, it was a challenge to convince businesses to move from a traditional single purchase model to a subscription-based model and host their data on the cloud. We had to find the right solution, the right hosting partner, the right training, and encourage customers to harness the power, flexibility, and availability of a cloud platform. Even though economies suggested otherwise, we leaped faith and invested heavily in deploying the world-renowned Microsoft Azure platform along with other Microsoft solutions to bring next-gen technologies to HR (Human Resource) teams of various companies.
Ultimately, we were one of the pioneers in bringing a true cloud and subscription-based HRMS solution much ahead of our peers.
2. Which was that point that triggered the growth of the company?
I would not call it a trigger, per se, but a well-planned and executed strategy that involved continuous business process improvement for faster adoption of HR tools and software. A key event that accelerated this was the complete lockdown imposed in 2020. It reinforced the need for a centralized and accessible business solution for the entire economy. Companies were forced to quickly digitize in weeks compared to the normal timeframe of quarters and years.
Almost overnight, businesses were faced with a new problem of working in the new normal, and Pocket HRMS proved to be the perfect digital solution.
In the first few weeks itself, we were among the first to introduce a lot of tools, modules, and functionalities that helped companies adapt their traditional workplaces to the work-from-home model.
3. What is the reason behind your company’s long-standing success?
Consistency, a Customer-first approach, and fast adoption of global technology are our pillars of success. Additionally, our ideology of asking ourselves “Can we do it better?” has helped us faithfully serve our clients for the last 20 years.
Let’s take the example of the introduction of smHRty, an AI chatbot for employee self-service in 2016 when Chatbots were a relatively new concept and completely untested frontier in the HR domain. We envisioned smHRty as an HR technology tool for SME customers that lack the resources of a large-scale enterprise. Finally, our customer-focused product approach, consulting, and support teams contributed immensely to our success.
As a result, some of our customers have been using our solution for close to 20 years now and have grown with us, partnered with us, and extended their trust and belief in our solutions.
4. What are the products/services the company focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
At Pocket HRMS, our focus has always been on the improvement of HR and how we can help our HR business partners make their workplace more productive and efficient.
Pocket HRMS is a core product that automates HR functions, and we continue to expand our portfolio with related features including Expense Management, Projects and Timesheets, travel management, training management, and more. Our differentiation factor is the highly scalable, flexible, and customizable tools and modules that we provide to our customers.
This combination sets us apart in the market where it is rare to find adaptable solutions. From simple requirements of simple mobile-based attendance to later requiring a full-fledged HR management system, our customers can choose to subscribe only for relevant services, save costs, and stay organized.
5. How do you decide to take the company a step further in terms of your products/services?
Team Pocket HRMS believes in continuous learning and innovation in the development and adoption of technologies.
We keep introducing new modules in our solution to bring HR teams closer to their employees by leveraging digital tools. Be it an event-based employee satisfaction survey, or tools for DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) management for SME and large companies, or even digitalizing of vaccination records, we are always innovating to bring global technology to Indian businesses.
6. Is there any new addition to the list of products/services? Anything exciting you would like to share?
Recently, we have added two comprehensive features to Pocket HRMS.
First is an AI-based Attendance Management that harnesses the power of Artificial Intelligence to dynamically adapt for individual employees. Some of its features are geolocation mapping, geofencing, and a selfie-based attendance that utilizes Facial Recognition for marking attendance.
Second is the unique Vaccination Records Management that allows HR professionals to easily collect vaccination-related employee information for ensuring workplace safety.
The initial response to these new additions has been overwhelmingly positive and we are excited to add more features to Pocket HRMS shortly.
7. How has the technology transformed traditional way of business?
Traditionally, there was a huge gap between conducting business and providing service. The effective use of technology has helped reduce this gap, significantly. In the HR domain, technology has been the driving force for transforming the traditionally paper-based and human error-prone activities into a one-stop efficient automated HRMS.
Moreover, the use of a cloud-based service model has enabled providing optimal support to clients continuously at any place, anytime, and on any platform.
8. What do you think are the responsibilities of an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is an all-encompassing role that works from the bottom to the top of the corporate work pyramid. Some of their most crucial responsibilities would be:
Vision & Strategy to be the best: I always say that it is good to have a goal, but it is best to have a blueprint. As an entrepreneur, it is vital to have a roadmap that leads to your vision of being the best in the business.
Rapid Acceleration for Growth: Staying ahead of the competitive curve is important for continuous rapid growth for an entrepreneur. This can be accomplished by knowing the market trends, identifying opportunities, and nurturing them into growth for the business.
Forging Partnerships: When like-minded people come together, they can achieve anything. Thus, I believe that identifying potential partnership initiatives not only helps you achieve more together but also enables you to raise funds, tap into new markets, think out-of-the-box, and open doors to new possibilities.
Be Prepared: Being prepared might sound like a checklist but it is much more than just that. You need to be prepared to make mistakes, to learn from them, apply what you have learned, and continuously gather knowledge to help build and run a successful business.
I have taken on and pursued these responsibilities at Pocket HRMS and helped push technological boundaries in the industry. Today, it is among the best HRMS software in India and is continuously ranked as one of the Top 10 HRMS options.
9. Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
With over 23 years of professional experience in the industry, I would describe myself as a parallel entrepreneur who loves to build, innovate, and scale-up organizations with the primary objective of solving problems for Small and Medium Enterprises. As a Founder and Director of Greytrix, Inogic, Sage Software, & Pocket HRMS, building world-class organizations in ERP, CRM, HR Tech, & SAAS domain is a continuous lead by the learning process.
At Pocket HRMS, I have led the company at different levels while gaining a deeper understanding of the HR industry. I have helped form core product strategies and laid down multiple successful plans. Further, staying updated with current and upcoming technologies enabled me to identify, explore, and pioneer the utilization of chatbots and AI in the HRMS space. Transitioning from a desktop-based client to a SaaS model is another such experience that taught me to focus on newer technologies and their adoption for the Indian HR industry.
10. What are the key achievements of your entrepreneurial journey?
Oh, this is a tricky one. Looking back, it has been more than 2 decades since this journey began and there have been multiple milestones in application integration space with GUMU™ by Greytrix being awarded multiple times as one of the leading application integration solutions.
Gaining hundreds of customers in ERP & CRM software consulting space as the leading distributor with Sage Software Solutions Pvt Ltd, launching and scaling up Maplytics™ as one of the leaders in SAAS CRM ISV space are some of the other milestones that come to mind.
But the foremost achievement has been how we have managed to retain our oldest clients that have been with us since our inception for our HRMS solution and how we have been able to navigate and innovate in this constantly changing software domain. We were one of the first to shift from the traditional desktop-based HRMS clients to the then-new cloud-based architecture. This was a leap of faith that helped provide 24×7 software availability, lower operation costs, and ultimately strengthened our bond with clients.
When Pocket HRMS was established, there was rarely any option available to help HR teams organize and effectively manage their workforce. Today, we provide core HRMS functions, payroll automation, effective employee management, and so much more to thousands of clients employing more than a million employees. Helping HR teams save countless hours by enabling a more efficient workforce has been the cornerstone of our entrepreneurial journey so far.
Apart from our clients, we have also seen recognition in the form of major awards in the HRMS domain. Most recently, Pocket HRMS was awarded ‘The Best HRMS Software’ in the latest 29th World HRD Congress, 2021. We aspire to keep raising the bar higher each year.
11. How do you look after your employees? What makes your team unique?
We have an open-door culture at Pocket HRMS. This allows for creative ideas to flow freely between teams and prosper. Our team excels at effective communication be it in the form of feedback or sharing new ideas. What makes us unique is the honest efforts that we take to push each other to be better and work together. We conduct regular seminars where employees can share anything new that they have learned or existing skills with their colleagues.
We were among the few that did not cut back on salaries during the pandemic and even gave out bonuses to our employees. We believe the employer-employee relationship is a two-way street and are always looking to provide our employees with the best platform for use of their skills and time.
12. Is there any special experience with your clients you would like to highlight?
Our clients are a major reason for our success. Their continuous support inspires us to be relentless in our pursuit to be the best.
One such experience has been with a client that has been with us for more than a decade. We were positively surprised when the client company’s director personally wrote to us a heartfelt testimonial that highlighted our prompt service, approachability, and continuous addition of more features while staying cost-effective.
Such gestures make us feel proud of what we do and serve as an inspiration to keep striving to do better.
13. According to you, what are the basic factors that businesses in the digital landscape should focus on to get better results?
The digital landscape is best described as a rapidly evolving one. To get good results, one needs to focus on multiple basic factors such as:
Monitoring your growth rate, knowing your market and competitors, learning about technological trends, continuously upgrading, and digitization of processes wherever possible.
14. One person who you admire the most?
I have too many people I admire to name one. Daily, I meet people who teach me something or are passionate about something. I admire and get inspired by them. For example, Bill Gates and Mahatma Gandhi have inspired me in life however even our Pocket HRMS team has inspired me to learn new technologies and keep doing better.
15. Whose business story do you find the most inspiring?
Again, there are many business figures with inspiring business stories. Right from Bill Gates to Sam Walton to our very own Ratan Tata. All of them have been a driving force in my entrepreneurial journey. From their strategies to their out-of-the-box thinking capabilities to their “grounded nature”, their story is living proof that sheer discipline and persistence can turn any failure into success and any small success into a milestone.
16. Which is the most inspiring quote you have read?
One of the most often misquoted ones, but one of the most inspirational quotes ever: “Good is the enemy of great” from Good to Great by Jim Collins
17. Constant vigilance- a need or a strategy? Please share your views.
It is both; I would say it’s a needful strategy. In the digital landscape of dynamic requirements, obsolete technology, and new updates – everything moves quickly. Today, it is of the utmost importance to stay vigilant about new technologies, trends, and changing client requirements. This involves constant monitoring of multiple factors such as the needs of the consumer, new features that can be introduced and getting more efficient. Staying constantly vigilant would enable saving a lot of time, resources, and efforts of your team while contributing to staying ahead of the curve.
18. It’s a rat race out there. How do you cope with that?
Our fundamental values of providing extensive features, the best value for money, and excellent customer service have been instrumental in the extraordinary success of Pocket HRMS among its peers. We have stayed true to our cause, and this has helped us not just cope with the competition but also become a leader in the HRMS space of India.