A fine balance between legacy software & modern needs is what accounting software major Tally is banking on for growth
By Srinath Srinivasan
Business management software provider Tally Solutions has gone through a number of iterations since the time of DOS operating system to the present day trend of cloud computing. It has also faced competition from large American players and many small domestic and international players. Unlike the cloud-first products, Tally promises modern technology while still retaining aspects of the legacy software that it started with. In a recent offering, this homegrown firm has ensured that its clients can access its reports anywhere, anytime and on any device of its choice. At the same time, the user can continue to run the application locally on a device, unlike several cloud-first and cloud-only products.
“I think there are a lot more features and technologies to carefully explore before going completely to cloud and subsequently implementing other modern technologies like AI/ML to the fullest. The core of our products have always operated on- premise, offline and we do not want to change that,” says Tejas Goenka, MD, Tally Solutions. “There is a strong roadmap ahead for the coming quarters which will have newer technologies gradually getting implemented without making too many changes to the well-accustomed products,” he adds.
Goenka says Tally follows this process is because of the outcomes from engagement with customers on almost daily basis. “We are also a very tightly made proprietary software. Our database, our memory managers are made by our own engineers. We do not use operating system protocols for some of the functions of our products. We use our own,” he explains.
“This is a direct outcome based on our customers’ experience. When we think about the future, we have to think hard to find out what could be the next big experience shifter, without which they will never be able to imagine their (work)life. When many engineers come together, this is both the challenge and a factor that drives new features and solutions,” he adds.
Goenka points out how Tally’s first version convinced accountants not to go back to their old ways due to the simplicity and actual value it unlocked. Engineers at Tally try to balance this, the strength of the legacy software with the rich features offered by modern technologies. The continuing legacy of the product is also a testimony to the Indian software engineering prowess.
According to him, the company enjoys 70-80% of market share in India. He believes in catering to the majority of this customer base instead of the few who would expect all modern technologies at their fingertips.
Goenka and his team are now expanding Tally’s suite of products. The company has come a long way from simple book keeping software. Today, Tally has solutions for retail enterprises and for those who want a server. “We are also gradually moving towards front office in creating solutions,” he says. “It requires reliability as well as the ability to work offline. There are customers in places such as Kashmir and remote parts of Rajasthan who may not be connected all the time to internet. We are building for all these people for all the situations,” he adds.
A lot of these new products and technologies are data intensive. “Our current focus is to collect volumes of this data and unlock insights and value,” he says. However, Goenka says that there are also ways to interpret and correlate this data in a way that it makes sense to a layperson who would use the product eventually.
“If tomorrow I am able to model an algorithm that would help kirana stores to identify the same item in both branded and unbranded packagings in their inventory, I can tap into the effectiveness of smart computing using the collected data. While that’s where we are going, today we already do predictive work which will suggest to our customers on what could go wrong from the data they already have,” he says.
Today Tally has nearly two million businesses and over seven million users in over 100 countries including Middle East, Africa (Kenya), South Asia (Bangladesh) and South East Asia (Indonesia). It also has a highly profitable partner network with more than 28,000 partners associated with the company directly. These partners help take customer service hyperlocal whenever it is needed through the year.
“As we expand, we continue to focus on community of SME owners, developers, accountants & tax consultants and ecosystem players—startups, banks and so on,” Goenka says, adding, “Tally will also be working on software that will connect various businesses and unlock the value within in doing so.” Along with this, the homegrown company will also continue to explore cybersecurity surrounding its products, having added encryption levels, a version of which is already rolled out in its existing products.