.V. Suresh Kumar always dreamt of being an entrepreneur in the IT domain. After a successful stint in the U.S. as a prime IT consultant to many reputed organisations, he felt a burning desire to offer some thing to our country. The idea of bringing a radical change in the prevailing government procurement process in the country inspired him to form a small team of technocrats to develop a web based ASP solution to not only support all aspects procurements but also to usher in much needed high level of transparency, clarity, and efficiency in various purchase functions. Thus was born Antares.
Like all businesses, Antares started life as an idea. The idea was to create an e-governance environment for conducting tender and auction activities using an electronic medium catering to benefit government departments that relied heavily on manual ways of tendering and auctioning. Headquartered in Bangalore, the IT capital of India, Antares took baby steps with a small team delivering winning results to clients, making use of their cutting edge technology know how coupled with rich domain expertise. Their innovative products for government sector found positive response from Government of Karnataka. Having won their confidence, Antares developed the web based product and met huge success. The team has since grown to a 400-strong high caliber work force spread across India and at strategic global locations delivering client-centric solutions.
The Small Steps towards Success
From its humble beginnings as a small software firm, Antares has evolved into a success story, and today boasts of an enviable list of clientele of the highest order and repute through out India. However initially, as perceived, it was not a rosy path ahead. There were days when team Antares lacked skilled personnel which hindered multi-department implementations; also there was inadequate IT and networking infrastructure in government institutions. In addition, Antares faced challenges pertaining to implementation of state-wide system; unclear regulations on e-procurement process and replicating the best practices from foreign countries to the Indian state setup. Enlightening on this, Suresh Kumar explains, “The high attrition rates in the IT segment is a major concern for companies like Antares and employee retention has become a big challenge. But,creating challenging product development environment, providing innovative benefits and performance linked incentives offered to the employees has helped us immensely in our retention efforts. Additionally, we took earnest efforts and started a state-of-the-art development centre in Bangalore with project offices in more than 10 locations. Not only this, we hired staff possessing strong domain experience, skills in analysis, R&D, design, product engineering, expertise in government compliance and quality assurance”.
With such competent team, Antares has carved a niche for itself in providing solutions and support that helps government departments make the transition from traditional to electronic tendering and auctioning. “At Antares, our goal is to aid departments adopt effective ways to conduct procurement activities adhering to government procurement guidelines and compliance rules with support for highest level of security. To accomplish this, we employ resources and use innovation to help business transform and integrate e-enabled capabilities,” he adds.
Evidently, team Antares goes that extra mile to help their clients by listening to their every need, explaining and suitably guiding them on the usage of the products and the services. Adding up to this, Suresh avers, “Any superior or excellent product will not survive in the market and not succeed without customer support.
Users are found to be psychologically bound to the product only if they have some one to depend on. We have understood this very well and made this a backbone of our services.”
Making a Difference
Established in 1997, Antares began its journey as a software product company primarily providing e-governance products in the form of e-tendering and e-auction packaged under the brand name Tender Wizard. This flagship e-procurement software product is a robust, feature-rich end- to-end solution for e-Tendering, E-Procurement and e-Auction. It is an exclusively web- based G2B (Government to Business) product for buying goods and services through quotations (RFQ/RFP), tenders (limited, LCB, NCB, ICB), catalogues, reverse auctions and selling goods through tender-cum-auction.Besides this, Antares helps its clients with services that includee-Auction Wizard, a multi-user web-based auction software system that enables large organizations, energy departments, banks to realize maximum value from their auctions; e-governance solutions, an internet based end-to end G2C web portal for information on services and online services related to urban local bodies; digital signature certificates, an electronic passport that allows a person, computer or organization to exchange information securely over the Internet using the public key infrastructure (PKI). The firm also offers online payment gateway solutions that help customers integrate with prominent payment gateways for facilitating payments in real-time.
Barring myriads of services that
Tender wizard offers, Antares hosts other features in their product list that is designed to nurture the needs
of its clients.
Antares has seen a steady growth ever since with the introduction of diversified products at regular intervals in the areas of material management, inventory management, online contract management, finance and accounting, payroll & HR management, and asset management. The firm has invested significant time in encouraging its think tanks to endeavour to come up with latest technologies that can be included as additional features in Tender Wizard, to make it more flexible, scalable and manageable. Moreover, the firm is also allocating its large budget resources on research and developments to come up with avant-garde technologies and frameworks to stay ahead of the curve.
Barring myriads of services that Tender wizard offers, the firm also hosts other features in their product list that is designed to nurture the needs of its clients. For instance, Antares’s integrated application such as tender search, auction search, bid for live auctions are designed to alert bidders on their devices, that allows auctions from various departments and enables bidders for multiple auctions in a single set up. Their upcoming product Bid Factory is designed to bring all tenders from across the country in a single window to the bidder community, with flexibility to collaboratively work on multiple tender documents simultaneously on multi-user platform within their organization. Further, the company offers its services on pay per usage basis and suggests the government departments to not buy the products out rightly thereby bringing down the additional capital expenditure.
The Journey Continues
Suresh Kumar takes great pride in the fact that Antares is a quality conscious organization that employs resources and use innovation to help business transform and integrate e-enabled capabilities. The firm is currently working towards positioning them selves for the future of integrated government procurement services. “We are working on couple of new products which will be launched within next few months. Our vision is to be a global player in e-governance software and a leading provider of e-procurement products,” he concludes.