Lee & Nee is an IT-enabled service company based in Kolkata, India. With over 33 years of experience, they have excelled in providing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, digital marketing services, website and mobile application development. BE’s Saptarshi Deb spoke to Mahesh Gupta, CEO, Lee & Nee on their journey from being a start-up to a company that has established its global presence.
Q. Your company probably predates the term start-up but it surely started as a start-up. How has been your three-decade long journey?
A. The company was started in 1989 by my father who was a finance professional. It was indeed a big leap to start an IT company by people who were from a finance background. The key operators of the company did not have an engineering background but passion and tax benefits by the government for technology helped them to successfully run the company. The initial years were definitely tough but we have managed to sustain and grow the business in a consistent manner over time. The key to keep moving forward in IT is continuous innovation. We went through multiple phases and kept on innovating with multiple dimensions of technologies over time. We were the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Orissa, did medical transcription for US clients, developed the first website in eastern India. We also went to set up an international call centre, partnered with SAP for ERP solutions, and also started catering to global clients with digital marketing and mobile apps solutions. In the recent past, we have also developed our own ERP software products named Biz ERP and Campus Konnect for SMEs and the education sector respectively.
Q. How do you see the IT sector evolve in the next few years? Is your company well-placed to embrace the changes?
A. There is tremendous growth upcoming in the IT sector worldwide. There is huge scope in IT. With the evolution of new technologies like Blockchain, AI, Machine Language and WEB 3.0 the IT space is becoming super dynamic. This will continue to grow in the future. IT has always been a game changer and with the changing demands of the world and the times that we are in, especially after Covid, there is going to be ground-breaking evolution and adaptation of IT and automation. We at Lee n Nee have always believed in innovation and preparing the groundwork for the upcoming changes so that we can be one of the foremost players in the IT sector. We have a constant endeavour for powering up our infrastructure and manpower to embrace and meet the fast-growing demands of the market.
Q. Please take through your ERP solutions. How have you responded to the Covid-19 pandemic?
A. We have developed our own ERP softwares namely BizERP and Campus Konnect. BizERP is a cloud-based ERP software that has been essentially made for manufacturers and SMEs. The goal is to provide integrated intelligent solutions in a budgeted format for SMEs. It’s a complete automation integrated system that lets businesses be managed efficiently and optimize the cost.
Campus Konnect is also a cloud-based solution and has been designed for the educational sector. It can be used by schools, colleges and universities. With the help of this software an institution can turn their operations completely digital. This means less paperwork and errors and also central storage of data. As both the softwares are cloud-based, it can be accessed from anywhere. It is extremely helpful as it enables employees to access and co-ordinate with multiple locations and update data real time.
When Covid hit, it took the world by surprise. We were no exception. However, with our automation and digital solutions, it was easy for us to adapt to the remote situation. Technology has been a great saviour during the Covid-19 pandemic as most of our clients were able to manage their operations working remotely.
Q. Do you have any penetration in the healthcare segment?
A. We do have slight penetration in the healthcare segment. We have customised ERPs for diagnostic centres and medical clinics, which are being used very successfully by our clients at the moment. It has changed their way of operations and has benefitted them and their patients as well. We aspire to build more IT solutions for the healthcare segment.
Q. What are your future prospects? Any specific sector that you want to explore?
A. The global market for digital marketing is picking up. We are making the most of this market and adding new partners aggressively. We are exploring newer countries and adding partners from all over the world.
In respect to our ERP solutions and SAP implementations, we are focusing and moving ahead with manufacturing units. Our focus is helping manufacturing units in multiple industries like jute, chemical, steel, EPC and others for automation with ERP and cloud solutions. We are looking forward to working on automation with IoT & AI. We have started ground level work on this and are planning to explore this area in the near future.
Q. Any words of advice for young entrepreneurs looking to make their mark in the Indian start-up ecosystem?
A. I have a few tips for them. Firstly, it is absolutely ok to think big. When you start thinking big, people might say that you are mad. This means that you are on the right track. Secondly, understand the challenge and derive a concrete solution around that. For start-ups, the product should be such that its absence makes a difference. You must be open and responsive to customer feedback. Lastly, treat your investor’s money more cautiously than your money.