Shashikant Hegde: a thorough professional creating history with Projects Today
Companies spend huge amounts of time and money on creative marketing campaigns to attract new customers. All that effort is useless if you do not have good databases which allow you as a business owner to know which customers are your objectives. Customer segmentation is one of the biggest benefits of online databases and allows one to perform direct marketing activities dedicated to a group of potential customers. Online databases have enormous and varied advantages to it which are listed below:
- Ability to store large amounts of information
- Sharing information
- Having quick access to information
- Eliminating duplications
- Increasing productivity
- Reducing storage space
- Information Security
- Easy maintenance
ProjectsToday.com is the largest online databank on new and ongoing projects in India. The website was launched on 8 September 2000 by the auspicious hands of Shri. Vallabhbhai Kathiria, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises. Projects Today has wide range of applications to professionals in industry, finance, consultancy, academia and research. The database is also an indispensable tool for policy planners in Central and State governments to study investment trends on a regular basis. The data base serves the needs of the entire VLC-CAMPP community; Vendors, Lenders, Contractors, Consultants, Architects, Media, Policy makers and Project promoters.
Projects Today aims to provide the required foresight to its clients based on sectoral insights its research team possess. The project related information provides an invaluable marketing resource to assist business development efforts of the organisations that focus on the new projects market. It is widely used by the project fraternity, primarily, as a business opportunity identifier. To complement the detailed project information, Projects Today also carries relevant Project Tenders, Contracts awarded, Project statistics and Investment related policies and guidelines issued by various Central and State government agencies. The site provides news and analysis on various industrial and service sectors as well. Projects Today also releases a Monthly e-Magazine that offers a crisp summary on new projects announced, tenders floated, contracts finalised, macro-economic developments which will have a bearing on project investment and economic and project statistics became available during the month.
Our editorial team had a conversation with Shashikant Hegde, the Director & CEO of Projects Today about his professional journey, challenges faced, ups & downs, personal endeavours and much more. Here are the edited excerpts.
- Take us to the genesis of your personal and professional journey.
My professional journey started in September 1980 when I joined the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy as Research Assistant. I began my career as Corporate Analyst. Soon after, I was one of the researchers involved in computerisation of corporate data. After a couple of years, I took over project monitoring activities and later headed a team of a couple of researchers. Again, we were the first in India to computerise project monitoring activities. Gauging the demand for project information, a separate service was started. Later, we launched “Capex” in electronic format.
In 2000 Madan Bahal, Managing Director of AdfactorsPR, invited me to join one of his web-initiatives, Economic Research India Private Limited as Director and CEO. Within a span of eight months my team set up India’s first online database on projects investment. The aim was to build a comprehensive database on projects investment and capture all facets of projects investment i.e. project announcements, project tendering, tender awards, major milestones of project execution till project completion.
- How did you come up with this business idea/get associated with the company?
In India, economic liberalisation started, albeit at slow pace, in the 1980s. Following this, demand for information on new projects increased. During that period, Domex was the only organisation which used to provide project information on a regular basis. Hence, we saw an opportunity to launch a project information service and offer data on not only new projects but also on ongoing projects. Initially we offered the service in print format and later launched the electronic version. The second half of 1990s saw exponential growth in internet and usage of web as a medium for dissemination of information. This helped organisations in providing information to customers on real-time basis. To encash this opportunity, I joined ERIL and launched www.projectstoday.com in September 2000.
- Kindly provide an insight into your business operations.
As I mentioned earlier, Projects Today provides projects information – from concept to completion. Projects Today is the only Indian database, which along with project information provides vital information on project tenders and contracts awarded for execution of projects. Along with contract awarded information, we also provide information on L1, L2, L3 bidders. This helps us in serving the entire project fraternity — Promoters, Architects, Consultants, Financiers, Contractors and Vendors. We also provide project investment statistics through our Quarterly Survey of Projects Investment. The Survey provides trends in projects investment by sectors, states and ownership.
- Give a brief about the milestones and awards achieved by your company/organization.
Within a few years of the launch of ProjectsToday.com, we became the largest database of upcoming projects in India. As of date, we are monitoring over 70,000 projects entailing a total investment of Rs 130 trillion. Apart from corporates, our database is widely referred by foreign trade associations, government agencies and the media.
In 2017, we launched PMI service to map and track client-specific projects pan-India and cull out real-time information through a defined proprietary process evolved during 18 long years of project monitoring experience. Under our KPO service we assisted IPE Global and PwC in upkeeping the PPP website of the Department of Economic Affairs and currently we are assisting Invest India team in upkeeping their website.
- How does a day in CEO’s life look like?
My day starts with reading major newspapers and browsing through project investment-related news items culled out from around 300 editions of English as well as regional newspapers. This is followed by a series of meetings with Research, Marketing, SEO and IT teams.
- How has being CEO affected your personal life?
Research is a 24×7 job. Developments keep happening around the clock. This leaves very little time for other activities and my family.
- What do you like to do the most when you are not executing your business operation?
Reading, watching tutorials on php and big data management. I also watch movies during weekends.
- One word that describe you the best…
- What are the forthcoming plans of the company?
Expanding the scope of project monitoring from India to neighbouring countries, including MENA region. Offer our recently launched market intelligence service to more corporates, especially foreign companies setting up manufacturing units in India and help state government agencies in monitoring projects coming up in their territories.
- If you had one piece of advice to rising entrepreneurs just starting out, what would it be?
Be passionate about what you do