Suchit has bootstrapped a very interesting e-commerce platform company using services that today caters to the B2B e-commerce needs of backwater industrial customers. It’s a fascinating window in to a world we don’t hear much about.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with introducing our audience to Unilog. What do you do? What trends do you align with?
Suchit Bachalli: I’ll start by talking a little bit about the Unilog journey and how we’ve come to be where we are. I think it sets the stage for where we think we’re going. Unilog is a 16-year-old company. For the first 13 years of our life, we were a knowledge process outsourcing outfit out of Bangalore. For the longest time, we did a lot of work with online retailers and wholesale distribution companies. The work that we did was essentially around product content. This is different from what the Cognizants of the world do. We don’t do any BPO. Product content is really the data service that we provide that allows images, descriptions, product attributions to be displayed either in paper catalog or on the website.
If you went to Staples.com and you clicked on an HP printer, it would show you six images, five PDF files, and two big description blocks of text. All that content comes from us. That’s why we have the name Unilog Content Solutions. We really focus on the cataloging business. That’s been our legacy. What it gave us was this ringside view into some of the most advanced e-commerce ecosystems. We worked with Amazon Supply even before it was Amazon Supply. It was called Smallparts.com then.
When you look at the ecosystems that these guys are building, there are several pieces of software and technology that they’re using. We were a cog in the wheel. We were providing them product content in an Excel spreadsheet. They would take that content, load it into a piece of software called Product Information Management (PIM). Now the term is Master Data Management (MDM) and there are a collection of software companies in that space. That product content in PIM and MDM would then get syndicated to the web storefront and the e-commerce platform. Hybris, ATG, and WebSphere were the leading e-commerce platforms. Then they have search software that would run the search box on the website. Google Commerce search and Endeca were some of the leading search providers. Then you had Content Management System (CMS). There were hundreds of companies in that space such as Sitecore, Joomla, and WordPress. Then you had companies like ours and like Acuity or Accenture that were also providing consulting services, which was the implementation of all of these disparate pieces of software.