n the economic landscape of the 21st century, an organization’s business model is challenged constantly by competitors and events that could give rise to substantial risks. The financial market especially has experienced significant events that have drastically altered corporate GRC principles. Some of these major events include the ‘tech bubble burst’ of the early 2000s, large corporate scandals such as Enron and failure of banks functions that ended up in the 2007–2008 global financial crises. These events had major repercussions across the globe which in turn intensified the need for competent GRC solutions. This propelled the Indian GRC market, which is expected to be worth around $24 billion in the next five years, to put forth effort and eventually ended up in asking, “How to effectively implement and manage policies and support controls to maintain a strong risk posture?” However, the environments organizations manage are often widely distributed and subject to multiple regulatory requirements & internal audit requirements and must adapt to changing business needs. Not everyone can perceive these and provide solutions accordingly to griddle the unexpected risk with a proper governance and compliance system; for that, a proper system and tool should be implemented. This is where Etrends Technologies comes into picture. This Mumbai headquartered organization provides a range of fully customizable solutions for corporate governance.“We always believed in creating some unique products and offering niche services to the community so the name was taken as Etrends, meaning setting new trends in the software industry,” expounds Manesh Karani, Founder, Etrends Technologies.
A Journey to Mitigate Risk
In order to offer a proper GRC tool, one has to not only have a complete understanding of the muddy compliance waters but also must know what a system does, how it's used, what other systems/processes depend on it and what existing compensating controls are in place; when it comes to Etrends Technology it defines the above statements moothly. “None of the top organizations or the business houses that time had any application or automation tool that was managing their risk management or audit management or compliance management. Everything was done over an excel sheet,” Manesh recollects.
Founded in 2008, the organization had a humble beginning as a web development firm. Being a custom web development firm, Etrends came across one of the client’s audit and risk management need, which triggered them to think about the future that lies in the GRC management sector. According to Manesh, the firm successfully developed a risk and audit management software in the year 2008 for a client and realized the unseen depth of GRC sector later in the year 2009. “The journey of Etrends has been very interesting from the date of inception as a Partnership firm way back in 2003. We started as a website development company and helped many small and big companies in creating their websites,” he says.
Things changed in the year 2006, when the firm got an opportunity to work with Ernst and Young to develop a web application for Project Management, for one of their client. This gave team Etrends a new beginning to look at a niche market of web applications instead of developing regular websites. “We started developing projects for web applications from big corporates to automate their processes since very few players were there in web application development,” add Manesh.
It’s been said that ‘make hay while the sun shine’; back in the year 2009, the market was recovering from the recession impact and this is when Etrends made the hay. The Indian market was trembling and companies that relayed on giant software firms were fetching for affordable GRC solutions. “During this time we got an opportunity to come into the market, we were confident about the quality of the product that we were delivering and the type of knowledge which we had. We successfully implemented few projects for big listed companies, giving assurance to them that even a small sized company also can deliver the products which flourished organizations offer,” adds Manesh. Since then the firm completely focused on GRC tools and today Etrends is one of the leading companies in the GRC space.
LASER - A Tool That Defines Perfection
Over the past decade, the business world has been bombarded with the latest and greatest buzzwords, all designed to usher in a variety of tools and differentiate them from legacy technologies. However, selecting the appropriate GRC tool for a specific environment is a daunting task, it's not something that an organization can hand off to their IT department and hope for the best.
One of the biggest retail chains in India, with more than 400 stores and 4-5 brands across the country was looking to automate the Internal Audit process which was done manually. Every month the pain of compiling the data across 400+ stores, preparing reports and getting the gaps and tracking the issues was a major pain for them. The management was not able to get any status promptly, also the productivity of the audit team was utilized less than 50 percent in core audit activities and rest of the time was spent in collating, creating reports. This is when they approached Etrends Technologies; the firm helped them to simplify and automate the complete process and that too in a record time of two months. This was done by the implementation of LARS (Laser Audit Reporting System), a solution that can provide real-time completion status of ongoing audits at all locations.
LARS is one of the four competent solutions offered by Etrends under the brand name LASER. Under the brand “LASER” the company renders a range of applications which cater to the requirements of an organization specifically for Risk, Legal Compliance, Internal Audit Reporting and Internal Financial Control Management Systems. LASER not only helps organizations to measure the rate of risks but also navigate them to reach at the apt solution to mitigate it too. Today, Etrends takes pride in the successful implementation of the LASER products across companies of varying sizes and complexity in various business and technology domains across the nation and offers fantastic four corporate governance tools under LASER.
Another solution under this brand name is LERMS® (LASER Enterprise Risk Management System). “LERMS is a web-based solution that delivers a central risk management system for identifying risks, evaluating the likelihood and impact, relating them to mitigating controls and tracking their resolution,” explains Manesh.
LERMS establish a transparent and uniform process at all levels of organization for risk management and bring risk managers, risk owners and management together. According to him the tool is a web application that gives organizations a holistic view of the complete risk across, at any given point of time.
Customization is the Key
Etrends is highly adept at understanding the client’s needs, proposing corporate governance solutions,implementing plans & controls and automating GRC processes
Even though, the Indian GRC market is influenced by international players, the firm is a phase changer in the sector, with well tailored tools and quality that rubs shoulders with the international standards along with cost minimization. “Our products are Indian products with International standards, which can be compared with any of the leading foreign products available in the country. It helps clients completely automate the function and monitor the performance of compliance at real time, giving the management an assurance across the organization,” Manesh explains.
Etrends is highly adept at understanding the client’s needs, proposing solutions, implementing plans& controls and automating process.Having built a strong foothold in the Indian market over the last 11 years, the firm has established a solid brand value for its products. “Customization is one of our key strengths. These products being developed by ourselves, in house and any sort of customization which is required by clients which is commonly applicable to all clients, we can easily do for them and that is what our USP,” he adds proudly.
The easy to use and easy implementation of all the products and the affordable price is the key to Etrends’s success achieved till now. Also, the excellent after sales support provided to all satisfied customers speaks a lot about the company, which is helping them in getting repeat business from all the clients. Today, major business groups in India rely on Etrends to mitigate their risk and enjoy a smooth sailing. Tata Motors, Titan Company, Tata Housing, Bangalore International Airport, Godrej Group, Kirloskar Group, Shoppers Stop, HCL Technologies, Landmark Group, Essel Group, JSW Group, Air Niugini Airlines (PNG) and Alcon Engg (Nigeria) are a few of the names that grace Etrends’ prestigious clients.
The company is well positioned in the market and is gearing up to meet the demands of the GRC industry in the future. According to Manesh, the firm will be seen venturing into markets across the globe. “We have successfully setup in Nigeria and are looking out for Implementation/Sales partners in the Middle East, Africa, UK and Singapore,” he adds. However, the firm will continue to work towards being a market leader in the Indian GRC sector by providing thousands of organizations simple and economical solutions; thus contributing to the Indian growth and thereby creating value for all stake holders. “We will be doing this by innovating, marketing through associates, offering world class support and partnering with domain experts,” says Manesh, as he signs off.
PANEL: The Team that Drives Etrends
Founder and Chairman
Manesh holds an Engineering Degree from Mumbai University, having 17 years of experience in software industry as. In 2009, he converted the company into product based company and developed the LASER brand for GRC solutions. He looks after the Business Development and Legal aspect of the company.
Anupama holds an MBA Degree in finance. India. She has been associated with the company from date of incorporation. She looks after the HR, Accounts and Training in the company
Sandeep holds a degree in Medical Electronics from Bombay University and an MBA from Leicester University, UK. He will be seen accelerating the growth and expansion of the company in terms of finding suitable partners across the globe.
Prateek has been with Etrends from the inception of the company. He holds a graduate degree in commerce from Mumbai University, India. He joined the management team in 2002. From then onwards, presently he heads the technical division for product development.
Clients Speak Section
“I have selected Laser Audit Reporting System (LARS) for automation and documentation of Internal Audit processes. I find it simple to use for Audit team members and easy to update the data, programs and generate reports. In my personal view, the product offers value for money proposition and strong post sales support.”
Nagesh Pinge, Chief Internal Auditor, Tata Motors Ltd.
“LARS has helped improve audit department productivity by reducing cycle time and thus enabling focus on what matters most. Importantly, if used well it also doubles up as an effective Knowledge Management platform for the internal audit department, especially beneficial when used in multi SBU or multi business environment.
This is now the second company in which I have been instrumental in implementing LARS & I would recommend it as a efficient, adaptable and user friendly platform for managing internal audits. “
T. Vinod Kumar, Chief Financial Officer, Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd.
“I still remember how the team was impacted by the overtimes and work pressure that was visible on the faces of my team as we drew closer to quarterly audit committee meetings. We have worked together in making the product to suit exactly to our requirement.
Now, LARS has dramatically reduced the manual work associated with Audit plans, data collection at the field, documenting observations and creating various Reports. The implementation has certainly made our team’s Job simpler. “
R G Karkera, Divisional Manager – Finance, TITAN Company Ltd.