Sankar Ragavan: A ‘Visionary’ who sees The Bigger Picture
There is a saying which goes, ‘Leadership is the ability to translate imaginations into reality.’ Challenges can be many, but a real leader is adept at managing these difficulties whenever occur. A leader provides insights and support for his team and organization, thereby thriving as a whole. One such leader is Sankar Ragavan, Founder & CEO of MariApps, who is on a mission to provide fully integrated marine solutions on web/mobile platforms, built on innovative technologies and stays ahead with continuous R&D. Sankar, as a leader, sees the bigger picture of everything for his business, and transforms his visions into reality. Sankar’s vision is to deliver quality and affordable end-to-end marine solutions and turn MariApps into a multi-million dollar enterprise.
The Inception Story
With more than 20 years of experience in IT domain, Sankar has served as Corporate Director of IT for BSM and as a Director for Jumeirah International, having worked for various MNCs across the globe; Sankar is well versed with the industry and its characteristics. When Sankar first started as the Director of IT at Bernhard Schulte Ship management- one of the largest 3rd party ship managers in the world- he could not find one system which could solve the company’s problems. Solutions were available in bits and pieces, and since it was a niche industry, there were only few monopolies. Due to the complexness of Marine Industry, till 2014, 90 % of the market share of ERP in marine industry was held by few large vendors.
Today, Marine and Shipping needs to do far more to attract innovation and discover and implement the next disruptive digital technologies. The industry is facing more threats to business-as-usual conditions, from technology changes – mostly from the digital sector – to environmental regulations. So it should embrace different technologies that could disrupt existing business cases, and encourage innovators to develop solutions to the latest issues. The industry is in need of more potential and disruptive technologies like more efficient data analytics, ERP, greater autonomy and robotics, and new methods of information sharing.
Sankar decided to go on his own and initiated to break this monopoly with his team by introducing MariApps to the ship management world. Sankar is has plans to inspire the team which makes their mark noticed in the industry!
MariApps: Providing Integrated Marine Solutions
MariApps Marine Solutions is a Technology Company offering state of the art marine enterprise solutions for Ship managers and Ship Owners. The company brings organization’s key knowledge and expertise that help organizations to excel in today’s competitive and demanding environment. MariApps is focused on offering the best solutions, supported by latest technology platforms to its customers’ at the most competitive pricing.
The company is headquartered in Singapore and has offices in India, Singapore, and Cyprus. MariApps is a Microsoft Gold Certified Development Partner and has been certified by Deloitte with ISAE 3402 – Type 2 certification for standard enterprise development and operating framework readiness to delivery systems. MariApps follows SDLC and Agile methodologies to deliver its projects and has its software development center in Kochi, India with more than 200 staff employees. They develop and encourage an environment of mutual respect within the company and extend it further to their clients. Sankar’s encouragement, commitment, and personal learning of their workforce have built the organization on the strong pillars of integrity, honesty, and passion.
“There is a significant opportunity for ERP providers like us to develop applications for the non IT familiar shipping industry. We continue our journey collaborating with more than 15 top notch companies around the world and aim to reach for more soon,” assures Sankar.
The Greatest Product
The company follows the best project management standards (PMI) to execute projects. It has a dedicated PMO to manage projects for various customers. MariApps’ product, PAL ERP is very exhaustive, covering the length and breadth of operations, and it is a runaway success. They are marching with digital strides, gaining market share steadily year-on-year!
MariApps has developed a flagship marine ERP suite called PAL e3 which is entirely web based and mobile compliant. Today, MariApps ERP is running in more than 800 ships, and they target to go beyond 2000 ships in the next two years.
Also, the company is frequently engaging with various leading external consultants across the world to review and ensure the quality of various softwares that it builds and in this manner delivering high-quality maritime solutions.
Keeping Customers on Top
“We are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience and are adopting the number of things in that area. With thorough research and development, we maintain our cutting edge technology product PAL is proving to be the leading ship management ERP and has gained class approval and brand name in the industry within a short span of time. We understand the fact that till you understand your customers’ needs and go that extra mile to deliver what the customer does not ask you, your venture will sustain in the competitive market,” asserts Sankar.
Sankar as a Leader
“Focus! A leader should concentrate on the growth of his company and his team. Keep your focus on innovating the product/resources and its competencies. Get few critical things done and develop the incredible brand! We at Mariapps, keep our focus on the changing technology and where it takes the company,” says Sankar.
Also, Sankar believes that leader has to keep motivating their team and he should be a part of their team in all the endeavors and keep them always motivated. They all are more than 220 people, based out of different locations across the globe. The development center of MariApps present in Kochi has around 180+ highly skilled professionals with expertise in the industry. The learning the team has gained from their parent company which also comes with a history of more than 100 years in shipping is the key differentiating factor. The company does not work by the clock; they have the employee friendly HR policies like work from home options, work sharing options, etc. Sankar also ensures that their employees’ get regular training in the latest technologies to stay updated and delivers top notch software products.
“Our company is because of its people and the passion they bring to the job. We do not encourage staff to work in one single area. But we allow them to switch areas, technologies and explore more within the company, which allows them to know where they perform better,” says Sankar. He added, “My Key responsibility is to ensure my team delivers to every single customer with the same unmatched quality within the project’s scope and time. Since we are a product based company, our focus on product development is always planned for the next 12 months in advance.”
Igniting the Future in the World
“We want to expand our footprint into new markets like North America, Australia, Africa and China where we do not have customers today. We would like our software to be running on about 2000 ships in the next 2 years. We are working on the next version of PAL, PAL 4 which will have better user experience and more number of modules. We are also working on multiple mobile Apps at the moment for the shipping industry. We are now working to see how other verticals and industries related to shipping and work as support services in this industry can be automated and integrated to the ERP,” assures Sankar.