Mitul Bid, Co-Founder & CEO of Coditas tells us how they promote clean coding and change the perception of Indian coders globally.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mitul Bid: We are all fine and doing well.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Coditas.
Mitul Bid: Born and brought up in Kenya, I came to India to pursue my B.tech in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay.
Through my initial experience, I got hands-on with clean coding and gained insights into the requirements of the industry. Writing clean code is something I’ve always been passionate about. In my opinion, good code not only improves software, impacting billions of users but also enhances the work satisfaction level of coders by tenfold.
While at my full-time job, I simultaneously engaged in part-time business ventures. Ups and downs combined, they helped me gain more perspective into entrepreneurship. The overall journey brought me to a realization that I had to follow my passion, which is clean coding, and the business of services in the software sector was The One for me. But I needed a push. So I assessed my situation before resigning from my full-time job:
a. I knew very well how this business worked and that the potential chances of success were very high;
b. I knew that even if what I‘d start doesn’t work, I’ll get another job;
c. I had enough savings to be without a stable job for at least 2-3 years.
That’s how Coditas came into existence in 2014 and has been delivering quality solutions to clients across the world ever since.
My primary aim in starting Coditas was to promote clean coding and change the perception of Indian coders globally — that an organizational drive for quality is as important as the capability of an individual coder. Our mission continues to be so.
How does Coditas innovate?
Mitul Bid: Our primary drive for innovation is by enhancing the quality of code that we write. We have set various processes to ensure that:
· Using tools for code analysis – By analyzing the source code, we can detect vulnerabilities and functional errors in deployed or soon-to-be deployed software.
· Conducting peer reviews – Team members working closely with the individual will review his/her work.
· Senior reviews – Certain internal standards are set which need to be fulfilled irrespective of the client or user requirements.
We choose not to be a typical software service company. We refrain from using the word “employee” but refer to everyone within the organization as a “teammate” or “team member.” It may appear a small, inconsequential difference. Still, it impacts your subconscious thought process and brings a positive vibe to the organization’s culture. We also do not keep the formal degree as a compulsory criterion for hiring. If a person possesses the appropriate skills and experience, they are always considered for an open position. As a result, we have found some excellent team members who do not possess a degree but perform as exceptionally as someone with a formal degree.
When the pandemic hit India, we announced compulsory work from home for the entire team even before the lockdown started. Assets and infrastructure were delivered to everyone’s homes whenever required. We switched to virtual tools like Slack, Zoom, and Meet to keep the team in sync. The HR Team kept everyone engaged with virtual activities and team-building exercises so that people could overcome the pangs of working remotely.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Mitul Bid: Initially, as the entire world spiraled into uncertainty, many clients postponed, paused, or missed payments. But overall, the net impact of COVID-19 on Coditas was positive. Technically, we are already a remote team for all our clients in the USA. So, operations kept going. Even clients who did not prefer remote vendors were driven to engage with remote teams for business.
We have also witnessed a consequential boost in digitization since the pandemic began. People and organizations have embraced the usage of software for smooth business operations. Hence, the software industry received a significant boost. As a software service provider, it proved to be a boon for Coditas, earning us a year-on-year growth of 50% in terms of revenue.
The most significant support has come from our clients who call us partners. Communication was transparent between both parties. We intimated them of our issues, and they did so for theirs. We knew what to expect when and worked together on figuring out updated payment schedules and budgets. Our vendors (whom we call partners as well) chipped in by discounting rent, disconnecting lease lines despite the lock-in contracts, extending payment terms, etc.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Mitul Bid: No, we didn’t have to make any difficult choices. I personally have strong philosophies around savings. Hence Coditas has good savings. I call it a cash cushion. Also, we don’t have any liabilities. It helped us power through. We have had zero layoffs, zero pay cuts, zero salary delays, and resumed our salary appraisals from October 2020. On the other hand, we honored all offers and hired more than 170 folks since the beginning of the pandemic.
Building strong relationships and doing the math right (having a backup plan) really go a long way in trying times.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Mitul Bid: We are fortunate to have a healthy client ecosystem. They were transparent about their expectations, and we were frank about our challenges. They all accommodated the team’s problems due to remote working (power failures, internet issues, etc.). We offered discounts to help them stay afloat. The team, too, stepped up to ensure zero net productivity loss despite the difficulties they faced on multiple fronts. It has lead to the development of a very symbiotic relationship.
We have always been using tools like Gmail and Slack for active communication with our clients and Jira, Confluence, Trello for project management.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Mitul Bid: No, we did not benefit from any government grants.
Your final thoughts?
Mitul Bid: The pandemic had an adverse negative impact around the globe but showed us the positive side of things too. For Coditas, it strengthened our relationship with our clients and vendors. It made us realize they are more than partners. It also proved that the team is imbibed with every trait Coditas stands by – quality, efficiency, and integrity. Without the team’s cooperation, we wouldn’t have come so far ahead in our journey of delivering quality solutions to digital problems. COVID-19 has brought out the best in all of us, and we are very grateful to be working in such a remarkable ecosystem.