PROGRAMMED to grow

With more than a mil­lion users and pres­ence in more than 140 coun­tries, un­listed ac­count­ing soft­ware be­he­moth Tally So­lu­tions counts among the world’s most used busi­ness soft­wares. Start­ing from scratch, the brand has seen in­cred­i­ble growth un­der fa­ther-s

Marwar - - Profile - Text Joseph Rozario Top: GST Ready Tally.ERP9-Re­lease 6 Gold Multi User Edi­tion Fac­ing page: Bharat Goenka

COM­PUT­ERS WERE ONCE THOUGHT OF AS THE magic de­vice of to­mor­row that would make both brain and brawn re­dun­dant at the work­place, given their so-called abil­ity to per­form tasks at light­ning speeds, at the mere press of a few but­tons. The vast ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­lace had no clear un­der­stand­ing of ei­ther com­put­ers or com­put­ing, ex­cept for a few, for whom the key to open­ing this magic world was learn­ing com­puter pro­gram­ming lan­guages like BA­SIC, COBOL and FORTRAN. Among them was Bharat Goenka—a stu­dent of Math­e­mat­ics in Ban­ga­lore (now Ben­galuru), who had en­rolled for a course in FORTRAN that was be­ing of­fered in col­lege.

A yen for pro­gram­ming

The Goenkas are orig­i­nally from Churu, Ra­jasthan, who, like count­less other Mar­waris, had moved to Cal­cutta (now Kolkata), lured by its busi­ness prospects. In Cal­cutta, the Goenkas took to man­u­fac­tur­ing bob­bins for the tex­tile in­dus­try, and this re­mained the fam­ily busi­ness for many years. In 1969, Bharat Goenka’s fa­ther, Shyam Sun­der Goenka, shifted to Ban­ga­lore, ex­tend­ing the fam­ily’s bob­bin man­u­fac­tur­ing to the up­com­ing me­trop­o­lis. It is here where the fam­ily’s foray into the world of com­put­ers was to un­sus­pect­ingly be­gin with his son Bharat’s interest in FORTRAN.

Bharat Goenka’s interest in com­put­ers in­ci­den­tally had been sparked by a hand-held CASIO PB 100 pro­gram­mable cal­cu­la­tor that his fa­ther had gifted him. In those days, he would also be join­ing his fa­ther in the fac­tory af­ter classes, as is the usual Mar­wari prac­tice, the ob­jec­tive be­ing to grad­u­ally as­sim­i­late the nu­ances of the fam­ily

busi­ness. With his in­nate pas­sion for solv­ing prob­lems and his newly ac­quired interest for pro­gram­ming, the young man, how­ever, started try­ing his hand at writ­ing pro­grammes for the fam­ily busi­ness, and this proved to be an eye-opener for his unini­ti­ated fa­ther. “It made him re­alise what these things were ca­pa­ble of,” rem­i­nisces Bharat Goenka. “So he said to me, ‘If you are so in­ter­ested in it, why don’t you be­come se­ri­ous about it.’ And that’s how our first com­puter got pur­chased and our jour­ney be­gan.”

A new av­enue

“My a man­ual fac­tory,” done demon­strate His soft­ware fa­ther, first ac­cord­ingly, ac­count­ing says as­sign­ment which how­ever, the Bharat soft­ware could he prob­lems did Goenka. pro­ceeded was solve not to to his de­velop un­der­stand the for Hav­ing fa­ther. to our the used, to make demo, and the said as life com­puter 'Are of the you pro­gram­mer codes writ­ing were soft­ware be­ing eas­ier, “My fa­ther or the was life a of busi­ness­man the user eas­ier?' who needed a soft­ware to make his day-to-day op­er­a­tions easy and did not be­lieve in the con­cept of learn­ing codes,” ex­plains Bharat Goenka. “But that line be­came and con­tin­ues to be one of the most im­por­tant guide­lines for our com­pany, as it gave us in­sight into how our cus­tomers were likely to be and what we were go­ing to deal with in the future. He made it very clear that the soft­ware we made should make the life of the user eas­ier and not com­pli­cate it fur­ther.”

Af­ter this, months of rig­or­ous de­vel­op­ment fol­lowed and sev­eral demos later, the Goenkas in­tro­duced their soft­ware, Peu­tron­ics Fi­nan­cial As­sis­tant (PFA) to the mar­ket. Three decades later, in what started as a firm called Peu­tron­ics (in 1986) that pro­duced ac­count­ing soft­ware for small and medium sized busi­nesses, has be­come Tally So­lu­tions Pvt Ltd (af­ter a name change in the early nineties) and has grown into a fully-fledged busi­ness soft­ware for all types and of sizes of busi­nesses, with over one mil­lion users in more than 140 coun­tries.

Build­ing a brand

Among the com­pany’s very first clients—as re­vealed by Bharat Goenka’s son, Te­jas Goenka, dur­ing a sub­se­quent in­ter­ac­tion—was a tax con­sul­tant. Hav­ing reaped enor­mous ben­e­fits from the Goenkas’ newly de­vel­oped soft­ware, the tax con­sul­tant is said to have re­turned three months later to thank the Goenkas for mak­ing it pos­si­ble for his firm to grow sev­eral fold. It’s heart­en­ing for the Goenkas that there have been many such sto­ries of how Tally has changed busi­nesses and busi­ness own­ers’ lives since.

The Goenkas had not pro­vided a host of fea­tures in their soft­ware. What they had in­stead of­fered was a rel­a­tively sim­ple soft­ware that worked at light­ning speed, pro­duced ac­cu­rate re­ports, al­lowed flex­i­bil­ity in data en­try, and these fea­tures con­tinue to be syn­ony­mous with their soft­ware decades later. That apart, it is adapt­able and can be used for any busi­ness, ir­re­spec­tive of the in­dus­try or style of op­er­a­tion.

He was also one of the best sales per­sons I knew. Such was his de­vo­tion to work that he used to make sales calls him­self and was the driv­ing force for Tally in the ini­tial years. In fact, he laid the foun­da­tion of Tally's part­ner net­work which the com­pany is well- known for to­day.

De­spite be­ing a good, user-friendly prod­uct, the Goenkas had to strug­gle to cre­ate a mar­ket for it, how­ever, con­sid­er­ing that few peo­ple were com­puter lit­er­ate in those days and fewer still owned desk­tops. Here, Bharat Goenka’s fa­ther Shyam Sun­der went on to play an in­valu­able role. “My fa­ther was a vi­sion­ary leader, an op­ti­mist, a very up­right per­son and a risk-taker,” says Bharat Goenka. “He was also one of the best sales per­sons I knew. Such was his de­vo­tion to work that he used to make sales calls him­self was the driv­ing force for Tally in the ini­tial years. In fact, he laid the foun­da­tion of Tally’s part­ner net­work which the com­pany is well-known for to­day.”

By part­ner net­work, Bharat Goenka is re­fer­ring to Tally’s 28,000-strong net­work of deal­ers and re­tail­ers, whom the Goenkas have al­ways re­ferred to and treated as ‘part­ners’, through they have no real part­ner­ship with them.

Keep­ing abreast of time

Down the years, the Tally soft­ware, how­ever, has un­der­gone a se­ries of up­grades from the very first Tally prod­uct (Tally 3.0) that was launched as a book­keep­ing sys­tem in 1990. The more sig­nif­i­cant among them in­clude Tally 4.5, which was re­leased in 1994, as a fi­nan­cial ac­count­ing sys­tem that sup­ported MSDOS; Tally 5.0, which was in­tro­duced in 1996, as an up­grade to the ear­lier ver­sion and worked with the Win­dows op­er­at­ing sys­tem; Tally 7.2, which was launched in 2005 to cor­re­spond with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of VAT in the country; Tally 8.1, which was re­leased in 2006 as a multi-lan­guage soft­ware; and Tally. ERP 9, the lat­est, which was launched in 2009 as a sim­ple yet so­phis­ti­cated busi­ness man­age­ment soft­ware prod­uct, but with path-break­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and

To­day, 80 per cent of all busi­ness soft­ware users in In­dia use Tally, and look­ing back, Tally's pi­o­neer­ing ef­forts to fa­cil­i­tate the change from man­ual ac­count­ing books to com­puter ac­count­ing can­not be overem­pha­sised.

fea­tures such as re­mote ac­cess, au­dit and com­pli­ance ser­vices, ‘In­te­grated Sup­port Cen­tre’ and ‘Se­cu­rity Man­age­ment’. In the past year, how­ever, there have been sev­eral ‘Re­leases’ of Tally.ERP 9 soft­ware, and the cur­rent ver­sion, Tally.ERP 9 - Re­lease 6, han­dles all ac­count­ing, fil­ing and GST com­pli­ance re­quire­ments of busi­nesses.

Hon­our and glory

To­day 80 per cent of all busi­ness soft­ware users in In­dia use Tally, and look­ing back, Tally’s pi­o­neer­ing ef­forts to fa­cil­i­tate the change from man­ual ac­count­ing books to com­puter ac­count­ing can­not be overem­pha­sised. In view of its ef­forts to fa­cil­i­tate the de­vel­op­ment of SME’s in the country, Bharat Goenka was hon­oured with the first ever ‘Life­time Achieve­ment Award’ by NASSCOM in 2011 and ‘The fa­ther of the In­dian soft­ware prod­uct in­dus­try’ ti­tle. Fur­ther, he was given the ‘M Visves­varaya Me­mo­rial Award, 2017” by FKCCI for his con­tri­bu­tions to the soft­ware prod­ucts in­dus­try and for em­pow­er­ing SMEs.

Future plans

Hav­ing achieved so much, where does Bharat Goenka plan to take Tally in the future? In re­sponse, Goenka says, “As a tech­nol­ogy com­pany, we de­cided very early that we want to go down in his­tory not merely as pi­o­neers but those who con­stantly pur­sued ex­cel­lence through in­no­va­tion.” To sub­stan­ti­ate this re­solve to in­no­vate, Goenka out­lines sev­eral ini­tia­tives such as the re­cent set­ting up of the Tally Re­search Lab, an in­no­va­tive in-house thought tank; the im­mi­nent launch of Tally.ERP 9 Re­lease 7, which will help busi­nesses con­nect with the GST net­work to help file re­turns from within the soft­ware; en­abling busi­nesses in­te­grate their banks with real time trans­ac­tion flows, elim­i­nat­ing the need for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion (this is en­vis­aged to sup­port the gov­ern­ment’s ini­tia­tives to pro­mote dig­i­tal money flow); and oth­ers. “Even­tu­ally we want to be able to of­fer a com­plete con­nected so­lu­tion, wherein a busi­ness owner can con­nect to all that he re­quires from within his soft­ware–bank, sup­pli­ers, re­tail­ers, whole­salers, mak­ing pay­ments, or­der­ing stock, pay­ing taxes, etc,” says Goenka.

Gen next

In ad­di­tion to his per­sonal ef­forts, Bharat Goenka now has the help of his son Te­jas Goenka, who has stepped into the fam­ily busi­ness af­ter com­plet­ing his me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing from the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia in 2011. As the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the com­pany, Te­jas’ ef­forts re­main fo­cused on Tally’s sell­ing and ser­vices part­ner net­work. To this end, in re­cent months, he has cham­pi­oned a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and growth-based model for Tally’s chan­nel en­gage­ment. And as re­gards his broader agenda, he views the world and es­pe­cially emerg­ing mar­kets as his play­ing field and looks to im­pact­ing mil­lions of en­trepreneurs and the lives of in­di­vid­u­als across the globe, while, of course, real­is­ing Tally’s cher­ished dreams, one of which is to be­come a bil­lion dol­lar com­pany some­time soon.

Bharat Goenka (sit­ting, left) with wife Sheela Goenka (stand­ing, left), son Te­jas and daugh­ter Nupur

Clock­wise from left: Bharat

Goenka re­ceiv­ing the M Visves­varaya Me­mo­rial Award, 2017 by FKCCI for his con­tri­bu­tions to the soft­ware prod­ucts in­dus­try and for em­pow­er­ing SMEs; Bharat Goenka's fa­ther Shyam Sun­der Goenka; Te­jas Goenka

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