Nixfon CEO believes in exploring new paths and destinations


  • Business
  • Monday, 09 Mar 2009

G. Gunasekaran believes in charting his own destiny.

“We cannot unthinkingly follow the paths mapped out by others, but make your own path and leave a trail,” said the chief executive officer of Nixfon (M) Sdn Bhd.

Gunasekaran said one should be brave enough to explore new pathways and destinations.

“To do this, we must have more faith in ourselves and be more hardy and determined,” he told StarBiz in an interview.

Gunasekaran, 35, said Nixfon was not his first business venture. His previous ventures include a software solutions company and he also dabbled in sales and marketing.

“Globally, software companies have a ‘death’ rate of 90%. Although my previous business started very well, it did not work out,” he said, adding that he analysed his failure and realised the mistakes made.

“Failure is an important journey of life. It was quite an experience. I was driving a Porsche and the next thing I knew, I had to sell it,” he said.

In late 2003, he teamed up with Manu Menon, 35 to set up Nixfon, a software company specialsing in performance dashboards and human capital management solutions.

Gunasekaran, who holds a bachelor’s degree in mechatronic engineering and MBA from University of South Australia, took a loan from his mother to start Nixfon.

The duo rented a three-room house – each occupied a room while the third was converted into a work room. They worked in this house for a few months before moving out and renting a proper office.

“I learned how to count RM1 before counting RM100 and beyond,” Gunasekaran said, adding that they had repaid his mother and were currently in a net cash position.

“We set up and ran a business ourselves, doing everything necessary and we learned a lot in the process,’’ he said.

Describing himself as a strict disciplinarian and a man of principles, Gunasekaran believes that only through hard work and single-mindedness can one succeed.

Nixfon started out as a customised software solutions provider and moved into the human resource industry.

“Talent management is becoming increasingly important in Malaysia. Many skilled workers are moving to other countries for higher salaries or if they feel undervalued working in local companies,” said Manu, Nixfon business development director.

The company recently partnered StepStone International of Germany and Corda Technologies from the United States. StepStone is a market leader in total talent management whose solutions are used by 50% of the Fortune 500 companies such as Siemens, McDonald’s and Toyota. MALAYAN BANKING BHD is one of its more notable local clients. Corda Technologies is a specialist in business performance dashboards.

The Petaling Jaya-based Nixfon is now a distributor for both companies’ software in Malaysia.

“StepStone can measure the performance of an employee based on education level, internal project experience, experience, training and other factors,” said Manu.

He said the software also had tools that could monitor the job market, to see how much other workers in similar fields were being paid.

“It can determine if the employee is getting paid below the market rate and calculate the likelihood of the employee leaving for another job,” said Manu.

This would enable the client company to have a proper retention-risk portfolio. “The system will show if the employee deserves a promotion and if he does, it finds out what other skills and experience he needs to get that promotion,” he said.

Manu said the Corda’s “CentreView” dashboard solutions would be used to enhance the company’s existing applications and smart decision-making.

“An advantage of using Corda’s products and solutions is that they can connect to virtually any data source and viewed on any computer or device that has a Web browser, including mobile devices,” Manu said.

“The demand for such data visualisation solutions is growing at a tremendous rate and Nixfon is poised to capture a significant share of the Asian market.”

To a question, Gunasekaran said due to the current economic situation, Nixfon would adopt a more conservative approach this year. He, however, expected revenue to double this year.

“We have been doubling our revenue year-on-year. We will also grow our business organically and take one step at a time,” he said, adding that the group planned in the second half year of this year to set up offices Indonesia and Singapore where it already had customers.

Manu said there was big potential and market for Nixfon to explore and it had no plan to terminate any of its employees but was instead seeking suitable candidates for its expansion.

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