Wipro, Infosys Show Way To Co-opetition

Mumbai, June 10: | Updated: Jun 11 2002, 05:30am hrs
It is not everyday that you find competitors providing solutions to the same client. But thats exactly what happened on Monday.

Wipro Infotech will act as prime systems integrator for the Union Bank of Indias Rs 150-crore IT-rollout with Infosys providing the core-banking solution Finacle and Internet banking solution BankAway.

THATS IT!: Wipro Infotech chairman Azim Premji (left) shakes hands with Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy at the rollout of Union Bank of Indias IT initiative in Mumbai on Monday.
(FE photo by Pradeep Kocharekar)
As Wipro chairman, Azim Premji, and Infosys chairman, NR Narayana Murthy, locked hands in a warm handshake, the attendant battery of photographers got probably the best photo-opportunity of the day. The duo even stepped out of the Oberoi Rooftop in Mumbai for a brief while to satisfy the appetite of flashbulb-poppers.

Infosys Finacle platform for banks is well known. But seldom has it been along with the Wipro Infotech part of the story. Infosys could have done it as well. Wipro Infotech

We are fierce competitors, but this is also the age of specialisation. They are good at hardware, we at software. Co-opetition is the way out. And this is a fine example of a collaborative effort, explained Mr Murthy, who then went on to narrate this incident. I was once sitting with a Wipro desktop, Wipros lights on the ceiling and somebody asked me about it, and I said if Wipro made good quality tiles, I will have that as well, so that wherever I look, front, up or down, it will be Wipro, said Mr Murthy to muffled laughter all around.

As per the deal with Union Bank, Wipro Infotech will put it all together: solutions provided by Infosys, FSS Chennai for the ATM Switch and BK Solutions, again of Chennai, for telebanking systems. Simply put, the expertise of Wipro Infotech satisfied Union Bank and, therefore, the project has been awarded to the company with the functional solution Finacle being sourced from Infosys.

When I was in France, some of the big IT companies did come together to work on a project with the customs and airlines, pointed out Mr Murthy.

And not to let this opportunity to display all-round bonhomie pass up, Mr Premji, said, We are solutions providers. If you want hardware from IBM, we will give you that. If you want it from Sun Microsystems, we will give you that as well. We are agnostic to individual components of end-solutions.

Mr Murthy appeared quite keen that the partnership endures, We have been working together in projects and talking to banks for a couple of years now, and would like to do so for another 200 years.

The last word on what is just the beginning of more togetherness from these players came from Union Bank chairman and managing director, V Leeladhar, We have adopted a consortium approach. Rather than talk to many on the project during its implementation, it is far easier with one.

And if todays event is anything to go by, it is goodbye to one-upmanship as far as banking technology vendors go!