Interview with Manish Bhalla, Founder and CEO - FATbit Technologies

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Manish Bhalla  linkedin

Founder and CEO, FATbit Technologies

Give us a quick overview on FATbit. When and how did you begin this journey and what were your motives to be successful in app development?

FATbit Technologies places itself in the IT industry as a company committed to deliver high-performance growth solutions to start-ups, SMBs as well as large enterprises. Founded in 2004, the company today is known for serving its clients with a smile, withholding our values of integrity, customer service, quality, and affordability. 

The motive was always to build trust, transparency, and strength in both our solutions as well as client relationships.

Way back in 2002, when I just started using the internet, I realized how it revolutionized people interaction, transactions, education, and entertainment. I did not waste any time equipping myself with the basics of programming and development - founding FATbit focused at eCommerce solutions primarily.

Our offerings since inception revolved around providing eCommerce solutions with a wide range of digital services such as website design, web and mobile app development, and digital marketing.

Our services gave shape to feature-rich e-commerce solutions like Yo!Kart, Growcer, Yo!Rent and Yo!Yumm, where the aim is to decrease time to market (TTM), creating an important competitive advantage. Yo!Kart has won awards, earned much praise and is very popular among the clients and the industry.

Over the years and having grown along with the industry, we understand what our clients would need most. Adding to our list of valued solutions, along with competitive analysis, unique value proposition analysis, business model analysis, and go-to-market strategy analysis is mobile application development and steering businesses through the rough patch created by the pandemic with new models.

Our solution prices’ have always been driven to motivate and support start-ups and we are leading the way to support upcoming businesses with our eCommerce and marketplace offerings.

What is your role in the management and development of FATbit?

As the CEO and Founder of FATbit Technologies, planning for the marketing strategies, company pipeline, and value-added solutions are my prominent roles. Client satisfaction remains my top priority along with driving innovation and creativity.

I try to build agility within the teams for continuous improvement.

My focus is that the employees as well as the clients should always want to come back to FATbit technologies.

Talking about the development, I feel each member of FATbit is instrumental for its achievements. Selecting and on-boarding quality members played a key role in wherever FATbit is today.

We try and work in sync with the client’s thoughts and deliver quality solutions. The trust built contributes most to a company’s development.

Tell us about your biggest achievement in the industry 

We entered into this industry during the DotCom bubble burst period, the situation in IT was gloomy but still, there were opportunities for Indian IT professionals/entrepreneurs to work with offshore companies and the young tribe of startups across the world as their technology partner/solution provider.

We have managed to grow this company from a small office in a basement (approx 400 sq ft) with a team size of 8 guys in 2006 to a strong team of 150+ professionals in 2020 which stands on a strong foundation cemented with our intrinsic values like trust and transparency, being customer-oriented, and incorporating agility, and innovation.

We have always been focusing on small and mid-size businesses to build IT solutions for them which are cost-effective and scalable to give them a good head start. Our clients come from more than 100+ countries across the globe and we have served thousands of clients swiftly filling the language and culture gaps.

Today, FATbit has established itself as a leading trusted solution provider for eCommerce applications. I take pride in saying that we are being seen as a strong future contender for a respectable position among globally known players like Shopify, CScart, and others of the likes.

Our team strives to constantly innovate and progress towards building user-friendly yet affordable solutions. The appreciation and recognition from startups, entrepreneurs and enterprises across the world keeps us motivated.

Coming up with attractive options for our clients gives us the desired adrenaline rush for achieving more and more. We are coming up with some absolutely free eCommerce solutions, a LiveChat Support Application, and a Project Management Application.

I am expecting these to be our biggest achievements so far in the industry.

Our future plans are towards building more solutions that are FREE, to help & support as many businesses as possible.

We also believe our best is yet to come and keep improving our previous best.

How do you schedule the development phases of the apps to promise the timeline to your clients?

The complete development is broken into phases that run one after the other as well as in parallel, supporting agile development. The process begins with strategic planning for design, development, testing, and finally deployment. This flow is created to bring clarity and division of tasks. A well-planned approach favors a time-bound development. Each step is defined with clear objectives: 

Strategizing - Our experts help give your idea a strategic plan. We know what questions to ask, to understand the exact concept of the client’s app through various use-cases. This clarity is enhanced with a competitive analysis to create an edge over the competitor products.

Designing - Now once the strategy is in place, the design component comes into play next. The developers create comprehensive information architecture with a detailed list of features and screens. Over this architecture, the wire-frames are created. The wire-frames portray the functions and data for each screen. This is followed by a complete work-flow that describes the journey of the user across the app.

Development - The development is usually an iterative process. Sprints are created with milestones defined where the developers implement the designs and functions for the app. These are reviewed by the QA (Quality assurance) team with feedback on developer bugs. The cycle repeats with continuous flow among the testers, the client, and the developers.

Testing - All functions developed and included, are thoroughly tested by the QA team. Different tests are run which include functional, usability, performance, regression, and device-specific testing. These tests ensure whether the app is developed as per the predefined ideas, is user-friendly, runs smoothly across different devices and operating systems, and if it is ready for deployment.

Deployment - Now with the testing complete, and features ready, the app is launched onto various play stores of the client’s choice. The development team continues to assess the app for improvements and updates as per users’ needs, to keep the app performing at its best.

This process ensures we launch an app that is not only competitive but robust and equipped to achieve the purpose of its development.

The team coordinates with the client at each stage to meet timelines and deliver well within time to accommodate feedback and changes.

How do you help your clients in choosing the right yet profitable platform for app development?

One thought is very clear and forms the principle of our work, we will grow and succeed only if our clients succeed. Their satisfaction is primary, and all our work is designed around this principle.

When a request arrives, we consider certain parameters like:

Business Model and Business Objectives

Target audience and Consumers/Users of the app (Employees, Customers, Partners etc)

Competitor analysis

Project scope, architecture, and scalability

The budget of the client

Technology Stack

 Dependencies on 3rd party services / APIs, if any

 These help suggest an appropriate platform for their app development.

Which would you suggest for a successful and profitable business progression, Native or hybrid apps? How do you define the factors that influenced you to make this choice?

I would like to state first of all that no one-size-fits-all in the case of app development. Both native, as well as hybrid mobile apps, have their fair share of pros and cons. It depends on the requirements of the client and the purpose that is supposed to be met using the mobile application. 

Although on a general note I would recommend Native apps. Some factors contribute to my choice here. Native apps offer:

Better performance - They are faster and built using a framework native to any platform.

Data protection - Being the primary demand in cases of enterprise applications dealing with sensitive data like the health data, data protection is an easy feature to be built within a native app.

Overall functionality - A native app spares the use of extra plug-ins and tools and offers the capability to connect different databases as well as the device hardware features.

Customer Experience - The native apps enhance the customer experience. The users can access these apps even in offline mode, which is not easily doable for hybrid apps.

Comprehension - Developing Native applications helps developers comprehend better with the product they build since they are well-versed, from the very beginning, on all the features and technologies included.

How do you scheme your pricing model? How do you fix your budget?

Since the beginning, our motive has been to provide quality products & services to our clients at prices that justify their objectives.

There are many factors like client requirements, customization requests and complexity involved which play a role in building the pricing models offered by FATbit.

Basically, the scope of work defined by the client and the level of niche skill sets required helps us decide on the composition of the team. Generally our approach is to create an elastic workforce model with a flexible, stage specific team throughout the project’s lifecycle. This not only contributes to high performance, but the right mix of leaders adds to the impact this deliverable creates in its ecosystem.

Our turnkey solutions are available at a price range of USD 250-5000. If these are to be customized as per the demand of our client, they are quoted on the basis of the man hours required and the timelines to be met.

The practice of following an agile approach contributes to high-quality deliverables within a cost-effective duration.

An important factor that defines the pricing schema for any client engagement is the specialists desired that need to be involved.

Custom requests are priced according to the agreement between the client and FATbit. For an SDNEL (Single Domain Non-Exclusive License) development with no exclusivity rights, our hourly development costs are USD 18, whereas for an exclusive right, the hourly development costs go up to USD 25.

During the requirement gathering phase, we break down the deliverables by converting them into sprints or milestones, which includes the features to be delivered in each of these milestones/sprints.

Our payment structure is flexible, and the format most popular among clients is the ‘pay-per-milestone’ (in phases).

Other payment options are also there, such as:

Monthly billing for dedicated team members

Time & Material for maintenance based projects 

How helpful are the mobile apps developed by your team, for enhancing your clients’ business?

Our custom mobile applications add an advanced experience of mobile transformation for the client’s from different segments i.e. Small to Mid-size and to Enterprise level. Our collaborative and fluid-app development processes encourage innovation, free-flow of ideas, and emphasis on user engagement resulting in powerful and intelligent applications. 

Catering to start-ups and entrepreneurs, FATbit serves the e-commerce Industry, grocery and food delivery model with its wide range of ready-made, flexible, easy to use Mobile apps. The solutions have been designed (developed) in a way that's fully customizable as per business needs, serving the global clients in different languages as well as currencies.

While designing Mobile Apps we focus on the User Experience, optimum utilization of the hardware resources, internet connectivity and speed, usage of the apps in offline mode and syncing with the live/master database, designing the UI as per the demographics and browsing habits of the audience, etc. Purpose is always to build mobile apps to achieve business goals.

Mobile applications developed with the idea to supplement business strategies have in every way served to augment the business prospects for our clients.

What according to you are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?

Client satisfaction is a very volatile component in the IT industry. To maintain it, the service or product company must stay true to its values.

Some practices must be engraved within the operations for client satisfaction to remain as a constant.

A few of these values form the heart and soul of FATbit:

Exercise agility - This enables a continuous cycle of improvement. Every stage has scope of discussion and re-modeling, bringing out a sustainable product.

Drive innovation - Creating what already exists in the market leaves no charm. Adding an extra zing to every component is like garnishing for perfection. Practices driving innovation contribute to USPs for the client.

Deliver perfection - Although subjective, but elaborate discussion sessions with the client direct us to build their version of perfection for their product.

Build trust - Promises must match in writing and in deliverables, which is exactly where we focus our efforts. Not only building mutual trust, but maintaining it is what takes real efforts, and that is what we remain oriented to achieve.

Be transparent - Our clients have direct access to all their project documents and progress status on FATbit’s project management software BIZixx. We believe transparency contributes in quality and trust building.

Once all the members of the team work in sync to achieve these, client satisfaction becomes an easy goal.

How do you update your business system to be in pace with the technological advancements?

The idea is to meet the existing goals and objectives. Our policies, practices, guidelines, processes, and procedures are in-sync with the high-level priorities and preferences of the organization.

At FATbit we give importance to the following three P’s: 

People - Surviving in the knowledge economy involves process improvement systems that accelerate cross-unit collaborations. People at FATbit play an important role and each person contributes to improve processes thus driving towards positive organizational change.

Process - Staying flexible and adaptable is important for us to unlock the value for our clients. To ensure the same, our processes are centered on practices and approaches like agile and DevOps.

Projects - Our cross-functional teams understand that consumer behavior is evolving constantly. To meet these requirements, continuous integration and continuous deployment in web and mobile app development have become critical components.

What do you think will be the future of Mobile technology?

Mobile technology has added a whole new frontier for businesses to conquer. I feel it has a long way to go. With sophisticated frameworks and high-end features likely to come in everyday, there will always be new territories to be explored in mobile technology.

According to me, mobile applications will control a lot more than just setting brief targets and reminders. With domains like healthcare turning to mobile-based solutions and artificial intelligence as a part of business intelligence, mobile technology has the potential to take charge of a person’s every move.

From self-driving cars and education to security solutions and banking, and now even healthcare, we just cannot stop expecting for more.

Let us just evolve ourselves while growing and contribute to the industry as much as we can.

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