When we talk about the amazing leaps in technology that the world has seen in recent times, the individuals responsible for that remarkable progress all too often fade into the background. Name and fame do not matter to these underappreciated visionaries; they are content with the knowledge that they have made a difference.
Standing tall in this select crowd is Bipin Shah, the Chairman and CEO of Kovair Software, Inc. Even though Kovair is hardly 12 years old, some of the world’s most respected brands rely on this Silicon Valley Company for products that simplify and streamline their workflow and collaboration processes.
Bipin’s path to his role at Kovair is somewhat out of the ordinary. A trained electrical engineer with an MSEE from the University of Wisconsin, he spent the first 25 years of his career in the chip and semiconductor industry. After three years at the helm of Altera Japan, he gravitated towards venture capitalism.
It was here that Bipin discovered Kovair. Even then, when the company was in its infancy, he recognized that it had massive potential. That potential would only be realized with the right leadership – Bipin took over as CEO.
Today, Kovair is one of the most prestigious names in the ALM/ DevOps and tools integration spheres. When we asked Bipin what the crux of that success is, he touched on two factors.
“Our unique value proposal as a company is, firstly, that we are an omnibus integration technology enterprise service. We have the skill and the experience that allow us to integrate 85 third-party and open-source tools. Kovair’s solutions embody a completely agnostic approach and work with all premium vendors without bias.”
“The second area where we excel is DevOps. DevOps has become the buzzword with organizations across the spectrum, and for good reason. Kovair’s workflow process engine and Omnibus integrations gives our clients the flexibility to adopt DevOps in conjunction with existing tools so there is no redundancy or minimum additional investment.”
Bipin believes that while creating revolutionary solutions is the seed for success, it is by no means the end.
“You have to keep innovating because the industry is dynamic and constantly shifting. We introduced APIs to enhance our integration capabilities and that was very well received. Now, we are about to roll out the next phase of the evolution – DataLake.”
DataLake is Kovair’s expansion of its products and services to incorporate business intelligence. The platform will extract information from all tools in the development lifecycle and decipher both mapped and unmapped data to create incisive data analytics.
The steady pace of progress at Kovair today is a direct result of the lessons Bipin has learned along the way in his journey as an entrepreneur.
“Challenges come thick and fast when you are a new player in any industry,” he says, “There are challenges with inadequate funding, with marketing and sales, and with the competition.”
“We did not anticipate the amount of funding we would require when we were starting. That shortfall morphed into growth challenges that had to be overcome before we could begin to have a real impact in the field.”
With Bipin’s stoic leadership and diverse experience, Kovair did manage to conquer those initial obstacles relatively quickly. He acknowledges that raising funds is never easy but believes that is important because it accelerates success.
When the funding issue had been addressed, the specter of sales and marketing hurdles arose.
“Kovair had to establish itself as a brand and earn a reputation for reliability and excellence. Remember, simply being reliable and creating great products is not enough – you have to proactively showcase those capabilities and accomplishments to the world.”
He continues, “Fortunately, we took the initiative early with digital marketing and our team did phenomenal work to highlight the best of our brand.”
The challenges continue to come but Kovair is ready to face them.
“Competition challenges will always be there. Product innovation, competitive pricing, and the lure of cloud and subscription services – these variables represent different fronts of a battle to remain at the top of our game.”
Bipin notes that success is not all about facts and figures; the human element is just as important.
“I have learned to adapt my management style to the people with whom I work. The key is to balance how aggressively you drive your team with giving them the emotional support that acknowledges their contributions.”
This nuanced approach to team building and empathetic leadership imbue Bipin with a natural ability to attract the best people. It inspires loyalty to both him as a leader and to Kovair as a brand.
Insight and Advice
The issue of leadership led Bipin to reflect on the traits he believes are essential for an individual to succeed in the tech industry.
“Innovation must be at the core of any tech professional’s repertoire of skills,” he says, “It is not enough if you are doing well if your competition is doing better – the relative pace of progress is the real gauge of success. If they are outpacing you, you lose. Simple.”
Bipin’s advice to all professionals is to keep an ear to the ground.
“As we attain seniority in any organization, it is a natural consequence that we delegate more. However, you have to maintain control over the things you delegate. Use statistics and metrics to maintain focus and course-correct.”
There is no doubt that Bipin’s achievements put him at the apex of the tech industry. He is at the stage where the desire for personal successes pales in comparison to the desire to reinforce Kovair’s foundations.
“I want to tap the right person on the shoulder and have them prepare to take the reins. It gives me great pleasure to see that I have such a talented pool of colleagues from which to choose.”