Achievements of the Year 2008

Technology

Technology:

  • Introduced Online Bug Tracking System
  • ASP Server and VPS Server acquired and setup
  • Cross-Domain LMS compatibility developed
  • Payment Merchandizing Gateway (Paypal) developed

Custom Courseware

Custom Courseware development:

  • Produced a course in 24 languages in 25 days for METTLER TOLEDO
  • Launched CommLab University with 4 Sales Courses and 9 Business Writing courses

Training

Training:

  • Chief Operating Officer, Ayesha Habeeb Omer participated in Advanced Leadership Course in Anthony Robbins’ “Leadership Academy”, USA
  • Formal Training and HRD department started headed by a full time manager.
  • Online training for CommLab employees launched with “New Employee Experience”, “Lectora Online Training” and “CommLab Production Process” courses

Management

Management:

  • Expanded the office layout to accommodate 20 more workstations
  • Participated in IT Recruitment Fare at Nizam’s College, Hyderabad
  • CommLab’s Online HR Portal launched
  • “CommLab” registered under Trademark and Copyrights, Government of India. Dun & Bradstreet rated CommLab again this year with a “2B” rating. CommLab premises are now a ‘custom-bonded” warehouse.

Management

Marketing:

  • CommLab’s first press release in Indian media and the Internet.
  • CommLab is now registered as potential vendor/ supplier for over 200 Fortune 500 companies
  • CommLab represented in ASTD Expo and Conference, San Diego by senior managers’ courseware and technology.
  • CommLab blog launched
  • CommLab registered in Yahoo directory
  • Entered Product training segment and Authoring Tools based projects
  • YouTubes videos of CommLab launched

New Customers:

  • Unilever, UK, Sun Corp, Australia, Boost Elearning, USA, VMWare, Canada, IntelliTrain, Australia, IPSTeam, USA, American Axel, USA, Ceridian, Canada and METTLER TOLEDO-UK

Management

Human Performance Enhancements

  • Morning Motivational Activities for state change started
  • CommLab Anthem, “We are the Champion” started
  • Custom-designed Posters on Emotional Intelligence (EQ) put up in the Office and Dining area.
  • Celebrations of weekly effort introduced on weekends
  • Half Yearly Meeting converted into Half Yearly Celebrations comprising purely fun instead of formal presentations and appraisals, in an outward-bound training facility in the outskirts of Hyderabad.
  • A more personal way of celebrating birthdays devised and launched.

Specter of Worldwide Recession and CommLab India

The media is full of news about downsizing and layoffs across the world, especially in USA, Europe and recently in Japan. It is disconcerting, to say the least. Losing one’s job is something which nightmares are made of. From a company’s point of view also it a question of survival.

What about a small Indian company, like CommLab, most of whose customers are in these countries? How do we plan to cope or coping, for that matter?

For us, downsizing is never an option because we consider sacking our employees to cut down costs akin to a family asking some of its members to leave home because there isn’t much on the table! We are conservative and cautious when we take in a person or create a position. Once a person is taken in, he is with us in good times and bad times.

How do we then meet our expenses if the business starts drying up? Well, I remember a scion of a huge conglomerate saying that if we don’t have enough money, we don’t cook costly dishes but subsist on staples. We can have everything we need, if we accept that there are always alternatives. The resistance is therefore more mental and psychological. A manager always traveling first class finds it very difficult to travel second class; but he can, till the company tides over. When the company doesn’t raise the bogey of retrenchment or cuts in salaries, usually the employees show their appreciation by working harder and spending lesser of company’s resources. We can survive longer, if we decide to.

Recession is the best time for a company to get new business because your customers are also looking for ways and means of reducing their expenses. We offer our services at much lesser price than usual because we know that our customers will appreciate it and make good in the days to come. Will you not, if you are in their place?

This is also the best time to do some serious housekeeping – evaluating existing systems and procedures, training employees and a host of other “maintenance” activities which are “important but not urgent”. This is the best time to “sharpen our axes” and be ready for the slump to come to an end.

Business cycles are natural and inevitable. If we accept this fact, our brains can come up with numerous creative ways to survive and subsist during tough times. So recession is good news at CommLab.

Celebrating Christmas at CommLab India

At CommLab India, we celebrate all festivals be it Deepawali, Holi, Ramazan or Christmas. Now its time to celebrate Christmas!

We made cakes in our cafeteria, decorated our Christmas trees and had a great Christmas Lunch on 24th December.

We wish all our Clients, Employees and all our Friends a Merry Christmas!

Enjoy the photos and have a happy, loving and peaceful Christmas!

CommLab India – Using eLearning Solutions Extensively for its Employees for Better ROI

As you are aware CommLab India has been providing eLearning and Custom Courseware solutions to a wide variety of organizations worldwide?

We also practice what we preach, so to speak! We use eLearning very extensively for our employee training. We believe that eLearning is an effective tool that saves time and cost. Best tool to update employees on new technologies and policies.

Most of our technical, product and procedural training happen online. We have a New Employee Experience Course, which is used as induction training for new employees at CommLab India.

Know Your CommLab

Know Your CommLab

We use eLearning for all our technical product training. We train our employees on using Lectora and Flash by creating self-paced Elearning courses.

Our employees are given product/ software training on all the products of MS Office Suite through eLearning mode. Our Instructional designers learn how to create storyboards in Word and PowerPoint and Excel through this medium.

Employees are trained and tested using our Learning management System, which we have customized using open source SCORM/ AICC LMS, Moodle. We have a dedicated Training Manager who monitors and administers learning to all our employees.

We believe that eLearning is very effective even for small companies like ours and also for our clients who are Fortune and Global Fortune Companies that in different industry segments.

eLearning is a very effective tool to manage your scarce resources – people, time and cost. Use it extensively for all your training needs.

Begin the day with Energy and Fun!

At CommLab we all are eager to come to office because the first thing we do is play. All of us including the CEO assemble on the terrace of our office at 9.00 sharp and have a small fun activity for 20 minutes. All these activities are conducted by our employees. This activity unites us all and we are full of energy to start our day. By the end of the activity we all charged to start the day in a positive, energetic manner. It helps us clear the cobwebs of the earlier night and reach an empowered state.

Watch us in action!

Once we finish this game, we all sing a powerful incantation and affirmation in a song form – “We are the Champions”.

We Are the Champions” is a power ballad written by Freddie Mercury, recorded and performed by Queen for their 1977 album News of the World. One of their most famous and popular songs, it has since become an anthem for sporting victories and has been often used or referenced in popular culture.

More on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Are_the_Champions

Listen to the song “We Are the Champions

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


(Download)

CommLab India – We Are the Champions!

CommLab India’s Creative Ways to Take Advantage of USA Recession

We at CommLab believe that whatever we focus, we achieve. If we focus on negatives of recession we tend to go down. If we focus on what is great about this situation, we tend to get empowering strategies to improve company’s performance.

As CommLab India is a 100% Export Unit and 90% of our business comes from US, it was a concern that US is getting hit by recession. The usual feelings and thoughts of a lot of Indian companies are to reduce costs by laying off people, cutting down perks, reducing travelling and slashing training budgets. We took a very drastically different approach – we decided on very different results:

  • Focus on getting business from Global fortune companies located in Australia, UK, Canada and Saudi Arabia. From the time we heard of the impending economic meltdown, we started focusing on markets outside US. In less than three months time, we have acquired clients in all these countries – Oil majors in Saudi, a very large Insurance Company in Australia, consumer goods giant in UK and Networking and IT Company in Canada.
  • Increase our products and services range to attract price-sensitive US clients. We decided to add a Corporate University with the price of a catalog company but features of custom courseware. It offers a huge cost advantage as the client has to pay only per user. We are also marketing our competence in producing huge number of courses using authoring tools like Captivate, Articulate and Lectora.
  • Focusing on achieving 3 times more turnover as compared to last year! We believe that in recession, all the US clients would like to reduce their cost but still need the essential product and sales training in order to beat the recession and competition. We have decided to campaign for very cost effective and quick turnaround product training solutions to these companies.
  • Focusing on streamlining processes to generate greater ROI per employee. Even though we are not an ISO certified company, all our processes are documented. All employees at CommLab go through an Elearning course on the processes and need to pass the course in order to be eligible to work at CommLab. These processes help us in meeting quality and deadlines. This eliminates lot of wastage of manpower and other resources.
  • Gave 6 monthly hikes to boost employee morale and enthusiasm to achieve greater performance. We believe that in order to get something we need to first give it. To meet the target of increasing the turnover by 4 times this year, we decided to give increments and salary hikes to all our employees so that we in turn achieve our targets.

Because we Dream, We Do!

Ayesha Habeeb Omer, Ph.D
Chief Operating Officer

Mumbai Terror – Concern and Love From Across the World

We in Hyderabad are far away from the maddening hatred and violence in Mumbai. (We had our share too, not very long ago). We were relieved for ourselves, worried for our loved ones in Mumbai, all at the same time.

But as they say, life goes on. We were busy executing projects and trying to meet deadlines when we suddenly started getting mails from our customers from all over the world – USA, UK, Australia – inquiring about our well being. People with whom we have, at best, only a working relationship, are worried, concerned about us! They offered us their support and prayers!

We at CommLab are deeply touched. We were once again reminded that the greatest force in this universe is love. It, and only it, has the power to convert an enemy into a friend. No force can do what love can do.

Thank you, dear customers, for your care and concern in the hour of our grief.

R. K. Prasad
Chief Executive Officer

Terror-stricken Mumbai – A Layman’s Reactions

India has definitely earned the dubious distinction of becoming the favorite of terrorists. It was so painfully shameful to listen to the prime minister reeling out a long list of cities that fell to the evil of terrorism in recent time as though it is an achievement. What are we expecting? Sympathy? Will it bring back the dead? Heal the wounded? I think we should stop blaming “foreign hand” and “countries across the borders”. Let’s face it. Murderers have entered our house and massacred our people. Do we blame those who sent them or exterminate them?

Why are terrorists attracted to India? Well! It is so easy to enter the country, find local sympathizers, murder unarmed men, women and children, and gain worldwide publicity. If caught (rarely), comfortable jail sentences, human rights activists holding all-night candle vigils for their wellbeing till they die of old age or released ceremoniously with all honors in exchange of hostages! If not caught (most of the time), they literally walk away from a job well done. If killed (rarely), they attain “zennath”. It is really a good deal for all concerned except the poor innocent civilians who lost their lives or loved ones. Even the politicians appear to gain for they have much to talk about and very little to do. It is not their loved ones that are killed; they are quite happy to blame everybody and everything except themselves.

And everybody forgets the brave police and military officers who lay down their very lives so that we can breathe easy. They work against insurmountable odds and just bleed and die for us. They too are human; they too have families; they too have hopes of a better future. What they get is blame and more blame from ungrateful people.

If we have to blame anyone for this perversity of existence, it is only us. Yes, we the so called common men and women – for choosing such leaders to lead us; decrepit, tottering, egoistic fools with elastic back bones and untold greed in their eyes and hearts. All they want is to satiate their unquenchable thirst for power and possessions. God, religion, values, love are alien to them. And we deserve them because we chose them.

Today’s situation demands a holistic top level initiative, not knee-jerk reactions. We need central level ministerial department solely responsible for internal security. I don’t think today we have anything like that. We need to learn from countries like Israel, France and South Africa how they deal with such vermin. They have been very successful for decades. We should not shy away from learning from them. We should promulgate laws and institute special courts to try terrorists and their sympathizers. As a policy, we should not negotiate with such creatures but I know it is easier said than done. (I really admire that way Putin responded when Chechen terrorists took over a school with hundreds of kids as hostages. It takes guts to take decisions like that. Do you think the Chechens will ever try to pull off another stunt like that?)

Most important, involve the common man. Educate him. Today he thinks it is none of his business. Tell him it is his business, his life. What is the use of the massive media we have? Is it only to convince us to buy cell phones and cosmetics? Gain the confidence of the man on the street. Nothing misses his eye. You will have all the intelligence you need. Today he doesn’t trust the police. He thinks they harass him (and rightly so). Gain his trust and you will have one billion agents working for you 24×7.

Let’s Arise, Awake, And Stop Not Till We Vanquish

This Evil Called Terrorism. Jai Hind!

Learning, Growing and Contributing at CommLab India

It gives me great pleasure to post my comments on CommBlog.

For those of you who do not know me, I am the one of the founder and now the CEO of CommLab India, a custom elearning company. It has been a roller coaster ride from the time my partner Ayesha and I started the company in 2000, with single computer and a sole employee, Christopher. Both of us left decent jobs to start this company, to create a unique organization where members can learn, explore, grow and make a lot of money, without the usual politics, nepotism and bossism. We also wanted to be our own masters, answerable to no one, except our own consciences.

CommLab India Team

CommLab India Team

Looking back, after 8 years, I think we achieved a fair degree of success. From day one, we decided that CommLab would be a flat organization, with minimum of hierarchy and meritocracy calling the shots. Relatives and friends ipso facto were disqualified from taking employment in the company. We also made an ironclad rule never to borrow or take in investors to whom we need to answer. All these conditions did slow down our growth in a conventional way but they have also given us a rich bounty – a excellent team of self-driven leaders, negligible employee turnover, fabulous growth with zero debts, Fortune 500 clients in 5 countries, foreign tours and the usual goodies of success not only for us but for our employees.

What is so special about CommLab for a prospective employee?

Well! To start with, we take care of the basics. In a city like Hyderabad where software companies default of paying salaries as a rule rather than an exception, CommLab, irrespective of its performance, pays its employees salaries on first of every month, all these 8 years, without fail. Also, every six months, salaries are revised! The company has its own cafeteria, not off-loaded to caterers, but run by company employed cooks, to serve healthful, tasty and sumptuous food, every single day, absolutely free of cost. Our managers have visited USA to represent the company in an international seminar and expo. For a company of our size, this is probably another first where managers were sent instead of the owners rushing off on foreign jaunts.

These are a few interesting things about CommLab! As we always say, “In CommLab, there are only pilots, no passengers!”, where you can chart your own career and life, where dreams come true.

Peace!

R.K.Prasad
Chief Executive Officer