Connectiva – No News is Not Good Enough

I have not written much about Connectiva’s seeming collapse because… well, what can I write? The Indian revenue assurance vendor has gone radio silent for an awfully long time. Their few remaining customers keep being told to wait for imminent good news that never seems to arrive. That leaves no official update to share. The unofficial Connectiva employees’ blog provides a limited opportunity to relay the latest rumour, but even this site is only updated sporadically. And the little information in mainstream circulation has proven to be unreliable. Take this from Light Reading India:

Revenue assurance and analytics systems specialist Connectiva Systems is on the brink of being acquired by IT services firm Mara Ison Technologies, Light Reading India has confirmed.

According to a senior executive at Dubai-based Mara Ison, which currently does most of its business in Africa, the deal is set to close in about a week or so.

That was published on May 30th. A week turns into a month, and months turn into… well, even the most patient of customers will eventually snap.

As for Mara-Ison, or any other potential purchasers of Connectiva’s dried-out husk, you have to wonder why they would want it. Goodwill must be nil, most of the people will have gone, the brand is now less than worthless and nobody will come out of this mess with a net positive reputation. Unless Connectiva has some other, unorthodox assets, the only thing it has to sell is its code. But lots of companies have code. Anybody investing in Connectiva’s code has to ask themselves why they will make more money from that code than Connectiva did.

It is never nice to kick a business when it is down, but Connectiva deserves it. And my best guess is they have no money to sue me, even if they wanted to. They raked in money from investors, but blew it. They talked the same talk as their rivals, but arrived late to the party and failed to compete on any factor except price. When things got difficult, instead of taking the painful path of cutting costs and preserving what they could, the management team drove the business straight off a financial cliff, leaving staff unpaid and customers bemused. But to appreciate the real joke, contemplate what Connectiva’s business was supposed to be selling. They said their products can be used to increase profitability. According to their website, the last event Connectiva attended was called ‘information on demand’. Last year their chief marketeer contributed to a Total Telecom article on the subject of risk management, and loftily explained the need

…to focus on those risks that will have the most impact…

Err… so that would include the risk of running out of cash, would it? But I saved the best for last. In August 2011, Connectiva boss Avi Basu wrote an article called How to Launch a Business in Challenging Economic Times. He identifies three steps in running a successful enterprise, which I will now satirize.

  1. Find your core. Assemble a core team of people who will drive the success of your business. Then stop paying them and refuse to tell them what is happening. Also learn to redirect energies from old to new strategies. That would be like taking the strategy of running a cohesive team and swapping it for a strategy of every man for himself.
  2. Make customers your champions. Honestly, you could not make this stuff up. Connectiva’s strategy was based on the idea that ‘happy customers are the best ambassadors’. True. He forgot to mention that angry customers will bury you.
  3. Understand your growth partners. This means find the right investors. Presumably this is supposed to mean more than finding investors who are glad to put their money in, and expect nothing back.

I sometimes bash vendors because, well, they run businesses that tell other businesses how to do better. Fine. A lot of telcos could and should do better. If vendors know how to run businesses better, then they should share their wisdom. But first, they need to take their own advice.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.

12 Comments on "Connectiva – No News is Not Good Enough"

  1. Throughout 2011, the Maverick COO was holding sessions in the R&D centre in India with projections till 2015, and there was a grand party and free flowing booze in office premises during office hours on the occasion of 10 year anniversary; notwithstanding the fact that payrolls had been delayed for 4 times in Q1-Q2, 2011. The Jack-in-the-box, inspite of all his attempts could not contain the situation, and Pop-went-the-Weasel.
    When the cookie finally crumbled, it was all left to the seemingly-eccentric Chief Scientist to hold the reins of the concern, as there was no-one credible on the Board of Directors (the other heavyweight director having resigned earlier). Recent consensus is that the Chief Scientist is actually the Wrecker-In-chief. This subterfuge and chicanry was planned out in painstaking detail right down to the last letter solely by him. While it is ludicrous that such large scale fraud could ever have been perpetrated without his prescience, he faked ignorance and tried to rally support around himself, to which the remaining employees(actually being the fools they were made out to be) gladly complied. He requested people to work without pay so that their dues could be paid off. He orchestrated a master plan of laying off (read ‘asked to resign’, layoff would require payment of severance amount) people by simultaneously declaring a week off to facilitate shifting to a more economical facility and shutting down the e-mail server to spread pandemonium and dis-information. Not only was the payroll on a bi-weekly basis, people who have got better opportunities elsewhere were being emotionally manipulated in working for them after office hours ‘for the sake of their compatriots and fallen brothers and sisters’. Coming from a morally-bankrupt heathen to a financially bankrupt brethren, this seemed to be a tall ask.

    In the midst of it all, another concern comes in, buys ONLY the assets of the company in question and makes sure the Chiefs and their minions go laughing all the way to the bank. Now, it is only a legal entity with liabilities of payrolls of so many jilted employees and vendors (yes, they owe Logistics and IT vendors an inordinately huge sum as well).

    While it is evident that there have been fund embezzlement of elephantine proportions, it was never clear why the higher management did not file any FIR with the police. This points to the fact that all of them, barring none, were busy having a share of the pie (or whatever was left of it). Most of these people involved were the founding fathers. However, avarice had blinded them and clouded their judgement so much that they ended up ravaging their child, so to speak.

    Nothing would please the wronged more than to see the powers-that-be in the concern under question behind bars, having their assets frozen and professionally discredited/blacklisted; maybe apart from having their entire dues being paid. And possibly, nothing would be more apt for the Wrecker-in-Chief than to pen “Corporate Fraud for Dummies”, which would be the single greatest achievement in his life; ofcourse second to having carried out one of the most successful misappropriation of funds in corporate history.

  2. Avatar Capriace.Jone | 7 Jul 2012 at 10:02 am |

    Dear HANA…………..Muah if you are a gal………………..Kudos if you’re a dude :)
    Loved the synopsis!!!!

  3. Avatar The Barrister | 7 Jul 2012 at 11:38 am |

    I guess the oracle whoever it is was right about, the chief scientist seems to be the key culprit. Its time up that the damage control is done before he flees from the mess he has himself created. Urging all of you who read(s) this to gaurd the chief….

    “What happened to Connectiva is purely due to sheer greed, an extreme case of case of misappropriation of funds. Connectiva as an organization was & is always non-transparent whenever the question of providing information on the books of accounts. By and large none of us including some of the former employees are aware of what exactly is happening behind the curtains at Connectiva.

    Lately, we have heard that Chief Scientist of Connectiva is masterminding a game plan in ensuring that the dues are not paid out. The belief otherwise was that the chief scientist was hoodwinked into this whole fiasco. However it now understood that there is enough & more reason to believe that the chief scientist is playing dirty in protecting his welfare, even @ the cost of pushing others into the coffin.

    The question that worries everyone in this business is whether Connectiva is throwing dust in the eyes of its customers/employees?

    The former employees are worried that they may never get their money. Some of the former employees even suggests that the matter is taken to the schools of the children of some of the key stake holders @ Connectiva(The chief scientist, The Account Director, The Head of Finance) and make an announcement of their parent’s intentions in deceiving the employees and that if this is done with the employees, it might also happen that they don’t pay up the school fees and obtain free education.

    While, this might not be the best approach, the erstwhile employees aren’t hesitating in walking this path to highlight to the RA & FMS fraternity and the society as such on the intentions of such self proclaimed “RESPECTED LEADERS”.

    Maybe considering a fraud management system to identify or alert us well ahead of time on behaviours such as NITPS (no intention to pay salaries) by the management might prove good.

    What might be a good starting point would be to perhaps provide all the names of the senior personnel to NASCOMM & ensure that they are never ever provided any employment on grounds of highly fraudulent activities towards employees and customers.”

  4. Avatar Sir Radcliff Humphrey | 7 Jul 2012 at 2:10 pm |

    A hero in disguise is all that I can think of when speaking of the Chief Scientist.
    Where is the Head of Finance and how did he vanish out of the blue, did he have a cut in this share?

    The fluffy character who decided to call it quits well ahead of time, is now laughing away to glory and the deeply affected are us employees.

    The Jack of all trades, but master of none was too busy harping about projections on future projects, pipelines etc.Today, the giant is in slumber but not in his homeland, he sought a better country as his will be awakened by the truth that will keep knocking his doors.

    They all looked saddened when the catastrophe took place, deep down them they were all barmy.

    Be it towards their customers, or their employees, Connectiva as an organization never instilled what it proclaimed to be.

    News is out that the X CEO and his bandwagons are running away or in hiding, but we will smoke’em out.

    The Oracle and Hana, please identify yourself and your source of information. Your concrete information might be the only way that can rescue us from this financial crisis.

  5. This is hawala. Avijit Basu and Apratim Basu founded Basu & Basu Co. Appointed Wrecker-In-chief as beloved Maulik, He did a MBA in fraud and cheating the employee. Basu & Basu shows as like as Presidential candidates of USA. Circle dom of cheating bureau was established Jan 2011. Jack fell down and broken all employees’ crown(head).

    We just do crying and shouting. Do we have any evidence? Nope. They clean everything and are preparing their retire life at some island.

    Joy Ho Cheating King and Team.

    Don’t worry friend. God decided and gifted them powerful guard for their rest of life.

    See where they dance next time.

  6. Avatar CTVA Fraud Victim | 2 Aug 2012 at 10:15 am |

    Do you know what is planned for coming week in August?

    People who own salaries of employees, taxes of governments and payment of many vendors have plans to have a GALA FUNCTION to mark the new beginning of the new Organization. And, dedicated effort to continue ripping off past & present employees, customers and vendors continues…

  7. Avatar Tanaka Murayoshi | 7 Aug 2012 at 7:10 am |

    I agree with CTVA fraud victim, they are looting everybody, and now they have a new friend in crime the company which ‘supposedly’ bought Connectiva, this is one of the amazingly cunning fraud committed by all directors and owners of Connectiva, the barrister is also correct in sayings of the chief scientist, it seems they are getting a minister of the bengal state to open another “FRAUD CENTER” this is all masterminded to smuggle away money from this company. Stay tuned for major updates in the next few days.

  8. Dear “CTVA Fraud Victim” and “Tanaka Murayoshi”
    Are you really victimised or pretend to do so? is not doubtful?

    How much the contract value made to you both by Wrecker-In-chief and Basu and Basu Co.

    Any way we will stay tune… see what update you will flash…

  9. It looks good. Why are opening this blog. Just screwed up a man only! Or you are the man behind scene actually doing work on behalf of basu and basu co.

    is it not? then prove it…

    Any way… people understand that on one except me here got cheated by these guy… huge money.. it’s penny to u.

    Enough is enough! no more excuse like to see here.

  10. are u there for what? Are appoint by basu and basu? How much deal have u been with them?

    Next few days what update expect now… ctva would dissolve. i.e?

  11. Avatar Tanaka Murayoshi | 12 Aug 2012 at 5:07 am |

    Hawala, yes I am here, no I was not appointed Basu and Basu, by the way who is the other basu? CTVA will not dissolve, it will go bankrupt :) without paying money to anybody and siphoning of the money via the new buyers.

  12. Hi Tanaka Murayoshi,
    Like your style. You know very much what to do these guys. what % you will get?
    How much they paid you at Dubai. You are master to teach siphoning money. It better leave this place before people discover you.

    Have a drink under umbrella!

Comments are closed.