Saturday, June 7, 2014

Goodbye - Over and out (for now)


With a mixed feelings of sadness, happiness and apprehension, I am announcing my “resignation” from the post of CEO of Innowix, Inc. I am taking on a full-time employment opportunity as an Enterprise Architect/Technologist with a global quick service food company right in Ann Arbor, Michigan area. The company will continue to offer services it has been providing so far but I will have much less of an involvement going forward.

I want to provide a perspective into how things panned out Innowix.


I started Innowix in October 2007 with a vision of creating an innovative, honest, and pragmatic IT consulting company to help our clients leverage technology in the most effective fashion to solve their business problems. I am happy to say that it carried out this vision.

Clients and Projects Executed

Along the way, we helped many clients in Healthcare, Automotive and Government segments.
We executed projects ranging from a single to a few consultant on a time and material basis and a few on a fixed-price basis for our clients. Needless to say, I have learned a few lessons. Some projects were smooth and some were a bit painful.

These projects were for small and large enterprises ranging from HP, Henry Ford Health Systems, GM, Commonwealth of Kentucky, MathTech (for various State Governments) and Xerox. I am also very happy with the fact that ALL the clients can serve as references. 

I am very thankful to all my clients, partners and people who helped me in many ways along the way. I very much appreciate your help, inputs and guidance.  

Intellectual Properties Created and Used

I was successful in creating and using useful approaches for IT strategies, processes and architecture at various levels. I intend to publish some of these to public domain under Creative Commons license.

So, why the change in direction?

Well, lately all my engagements required extensive travel. That meant much less time towards family and on personal health and few fun projects with the kids I have grown to enjoy - Robotics, Science Olympiad and other similar pursuits with the kids. This was the primary drive to make this change.

Missed Opportunities and Lessons Learned

Start with one or more partners

Looking back, I believe a start up such as Innowix would have been better served with couple of additional like-minded partners. I had put together a financial model towards that but I probably should have started the company along with these partners instead of expecting to add some later. I came very close to adding couple of great individuals as partners but it didn't materialize. You need a set of close partners who you can bounce off ideas and who can keep each other on track.

Find time/resources to build products (or now services)

Another missed opportunity is in the development of product(s). I had (I still do!) a few ideas but putting them into execution required a lot of resources which I was very short on.

Maintain positive cash flow and be profitable

I am very proud to say that Innowix was profitable from Year 1 and continued to hold a positive cash flow for the most part (except one year end where one of the client was changing their financial system and payments took more than 3 months to materialize! That put us in a tight spot for a few months but we eventually caught up). BTW – maintaining a positive cash flow is much more difficult than it sounds on paper. This was one advice I received in the very beginning from a friend who strongly recommended that always manage your cash flow and I cannot emphasize this enough to any new entrepreneurs.  

What’s Next?

As mentioned before, Innowix as a legal entity will continue to exist but may go in a “dormant” state. I am going to stop blogging here (not that I was blogging a whole lot!) and move to a new destination to express my personal views on the IT industry and other things of interests. I will continue hosting Puzzle Parties.

May be in future, I will re-start/re-launch this type of operations, hopefully with few partners. But till that time, see you around on the Internet! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Publishing your Office 365 Calendar (free/busy times) with your clients for scheduling meetings

Trying to schedule a meeting with a client is always a challenge as they cannot see your availability and you cannot see theirs as we are on separate calendar/mail systems. I recently moved to Office 365 and clients that I work with have their own internal Exchange 20xx implementation (or some other system).

Now, with Office 365, there’s a way to publish your availability (free/busy) information with the world (see this: - Look for “Setup the Publishing option). I imagine it is available with Exchange 2010/2013.

However, for a user in your client organization to review this calendar through a browser and then trying to figure out available time slot still doesn't provide the best user experience.

A better way would be for them to simply open this calendar in their Outlook as if it is yet another calendar.
To enable an external user (outside your organization) to open your calendar, the Office 365 calendar URL needs to be in the form of webcal ending in “.ics”. This is simple to achieve.

All you have to do is take the Office 265 calendar URL which is shared to the public, change the https:// to webcal:// and change the “.htm” at the end to “.ics”.

Give this URL to your clients. Let them go to Outlook Calendar and click on the “Open an Internet Calendar”. There they can paste this URL and Outlook will open this calendar. 

Now, you can view my availability easily (and schedule meetings - sigh)!