Utilizing 25 years of experience in setting up her dream project, Archana Kumar proved that she is a risk taker who cannot settle for anything less than what she deserves. Her company, namely ‘Image InfoSystems’, is a recognized name in the market of software products since 2004. In a freewheeling conversation, the entrepreneur talks about her journey from rigs to rags, her secret behind a balanced life and a lot more. Here are few excerpts from the conversation:
Despite the obstacles and hardships, you covered a long journey. What were the major challenges that you faced while setting up such a huge enterprise?
Archana: I remember that business session where three of us (we three friends) met and shared our thoughts. It initiated as a journey of three friends with one common dream. Though challenges were stacked on our way but we decided to move on, not having the faintest idea of how far it will go.
The first challenge was to raise enough capital for our startup business. Despite having empty pockets, we had immense courage to mold our dreams into a reality. Ignoring other opportunities to stay focused on a small startup is like leaving diamonds for a rock. I believe that faith can move mountains and one fine morning, we met a person who, impressed by our high spirits, was ready to finance our company.
Another challenge was to get a perfect army for the accomplishment of this mission. To find one’s niche in the banking world is a hard nut to crack. We were lucky enough to find people having an ace in the hole. Initially, we managed to work in a room. Lack of infrastructural requirements was also a complication for us. Slowly, from three we grew to ten and somehow managed to get a good place and right equipment to work with.
My colleagues used to stay back for weeks. I believe sacrificing family for work is not everyone’s cup of tea. Image InfoSystems is an outcome of culmination of a thought process that evolved through sheer dedication and hard work.
I am responsible for company’s sales development as well as developing global revenue strategies.
What does the company specializes in?
Archana: In 2004, we started our enterprise, Image InfoSystems, an innovation driven software product company specializing in the area of digitization and automation of transaction-based products and solutions for Interbank Payment Settlement, Clearing House Automation, Cheque Truncation, UV Analysis, Automated Signature Verification, Automated Clearing House (ACH), Automated Customer Notification, Image Character Recognition, Mobile Capture and Tax filing and compliance.
Image InfoSystems has been recently selected as a GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) by Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) to facilitate filing of returns under the new tax regime.
How do you manage to create a balance between family and business?
Archana: I, as a woman had personal challenges too. Post my marriage, working and managing my family was a vital task for me. I had all the responsibilities that were equally prioritized on the list; my married life, my child, my career, maintaining a work – life balance. But sometimes things don’t happen the way you plan them.
I was in a daze for a long time before I fully accepted that I have cancer. With a great support from my family, my husband and my colleagues, I gained some strength and resilience I needed to beat the odds.
I visited my work place often during my cancer treatment because the zeal within me to work was the same as earlier. Post defeating cancer, I am a woman with immense confidence and new goals. This episode in my life has also motivated my colleagues to accomplish more and keep a positive approach towards upcoming challenges.
What were those tough decisions you made to take the company to new heights?
Archana: I am the MD and sole signatory of the company throughout. Other directors of the company have placed complete faith in my administrative skills and finance managing capabilities as the company went through its trials of survival.
Announcement of ECCS (Express Cheque Clearing System) for automation of non-MICR clearing houses across the country was one of our first milestone projects in 2011. For the initial development of this project in 2008, I used to make daily visits to Hapur from Delhi. The journey has not been simple, it has been a tough fight and we had the courage, patience and talent to turn our dreams into reality.
Would you like to talk about your personal achievements and accolades?
Archana: After a heavy rain, a colorful rainbow occupies the sky. There are quite a few milestone achievements which I would love to mention.
First of all, the sense of accomplishment was overwhelming when Reserve Bank of India issued a circular mandating Express Cheque Clearing System (ECCS), an application developed by Image InfoSystems, for automation of non MICR clearing houses across the country. ECCS roll out was a turning point for Image InfoSystems. I have slogged for it almost five years.
It was a great achievement for Image InfoSystems team when cheque truncation rolled out for the first time in India at National Capital Region (NCR) in the midst of 2007 and 2008. This start up business with small efforts in imaging technology like document scanning, signature migration and cheque processing for the banking fraternity has not only captured prestigious banks in India but also in abroad.
A flag of achievement was hosted again in 2017 when Image InfoSystems was selected as a GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) by Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) to facilitate filing of returns under the new tax regime.
This Image Info family is my achievement. The faith I see in my people’s eye and the trust that they have in us, is my real achievement and reward as an entrepreneur.
How do you utilize your time when not working?
Archana: Cooking and Driving are stress busters for me.
What is your future plan for business growth?
Archana: We are trying our luck with all the efforts in other geographies.