A CIO comes under pressure in a sluggish environment

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Nov 18 2013, 10:28am hrs
A sluggish market means pressure on IT to improve efficiency, to do more and ensure it is a driver for efficiency, says Sunil Manglore, managing director of enterprise software firm, CA Technologies India. Sunils charter includes optimising sales coverage, winning new customers, building the partner ecosystem, and managing the operations. According to him, India is a growing and dynamic IT market. The company has invested significantly in R&D via the India Technology Centre in Hyderabad. It is increasing its coverage of the Indian market, especially across the government/public sector, financial services and telecommunication verticals. In an interview with Sudhir Chowdhary, he discusses the companys strategy in these verticals. Excerpts:

The domestic market has been sluggish so far. How has 2013 been for CA Technologies in India

A sluggish market means pressure from business on IT to being a source of innovation. It means pressure on IT to improve efficiency, to do more and ensure it is a driver for efficiency. That is what a sluggish environment means from the IT perspective. A CIO comes under pressure in a sluggish environment.

Fortunately we have solutions that help address exactly these requirements of a CIO. We have solutions which address the needs of CIO in the environment of this kind. When you talk about profits and efficiency, we have infrastructure management solutions that help automate the entire process of managing the IT infrastructure, managing all other kinds of infrastructure. Our solution gives the CIO a single view of the entire IT infrastructure, performance of the entire infrastructureupwards, downwards and what is likely to beat him in terms of performance because of IT packaging utilisation, what is likely to go down or come crashing down because of very high capacity utilisation. Also, the CIOs and users get to know when their IT is down and we have processes to ensure that the vendors or the internal IT is informed that IT has gone down, take corrective actions and then loop it back to the end user to confirm its up and running. The solutions that we have, help improve the availability of the IT infrastructure, helps the end user experience.

In sluggish times, the tolerance level tends to go down...

Well, users if they are not able to login in first attempt, they will move to some other vendor or to your competitor. Users if they are not getting the desired response or if you are offering an internet based solution or e-commerce or it is the internet banking and the end user comes to you and is not able to carry out the transaction, he will go elsewhere.

From the CIOs point of view he needs to know how your IT infrastructure is performing from an end user perspective. So we have solutions called as application performance monitoring solutions which helps the CIO to get a clear view and understanding of how your IT infrastructure is performing from an end user perspective. An end user does not see or does not care whether the application that is not working or the network that is not working or which part of the IT is not working. Absence of improved efficiency and improved end user experience are reasons for lower tolerance in a sluggish or a slow environment.

Tech majors seem to be smitten by new buzzwords these days: cloud, social, mobility, BYOD. Are Indian IT managers in sync with this reality

Out of a country with say about 850 million mobile phone subscribers, we are not behind in terms of technology adoption today. Because what happens today in US or in other advanced countries in Europe and so on or for that matter, Korea, Japan and other parts of Asia, they are more advanced economies, in terms of technology adoption or utilisation or understanding or awareness in the markets, there is pressure on business to adopt the technology here as well. Last couple of weeks, I was in the US and the way I was using technology as compared to a colleague in the US, the demand is really different in terms of type of device I am using and the way I am using. But in terms of output, I dont find it different in anywaybecause same technology was launched in the US few months back or few months later in India.

So the concept of BYOD is valid in Indian organisation. We think of CIOs of not only multinationals but also of Indian companies. In fact, we do address a lot of Indian companies, given the nature of software and purchasing decisions are all centralised so multinationals tend to position it outside, so we are servicing only those clients here. A lot of new sales happen with the Indian companies so we are in touch with Indian CIOs than the CIOs of multinational companies for new sales.

What are the broad focus of activities for CA Technologies in India How important is the India market for CA in terms of business

India is important from the fact that we have largest set up for R&D outside US. The R&D centre is in Hyderabad. We work on development, internal IT support, customer supportthere is some part of customer operating from India, and we have services delivery capability that we build there for the people who work on projects globally.

Outside of that, India is, you look at any report from any analyst today and all the countries on the X axis and all growth rates on the Y axis. The growth rate of the Indian market, IT on our part of the business, always tends to be way above what the rest of the world is. Our IT market is growing double digits say 30-40 % due to heavy focus on infrastructure management. So, this is the huge market that is growing and getting the attention internally as well.

What are the growth plans for the company in India

We are considerably strong and have grown significantly in the government vertical in the past few years. About 70% of the state datacentres run on our solutions, 70% of statewide data networks run on our solutions, 70% of states which have APDRP projects that been implemented or in the process of being implemented, run on our solutions. Large projects that the government has undertaken for IT run either entirely on CA or we have a significant presence there. Traditionally, we are strong in the government sector.

Over the last one and a half years, we have started focusing on the banking vertical. That is the vertical we have seen a lot of traction in, driven primarily by regulations. Increased security regulations are expected from the banks and other financial services so we have solutions that address two factor authentication (2FA). There is a solution for two factor authentication that enhances the security.

We have also had some good wins and are expecting some good wins in the telecom vertical. We are talking to all the large telecom firms for some solutions or the other.

Do you think enterprises in India have shown an encouraging response towards the adoption of cloud

Cloud is definitely a high growth market in India. Cloud is driven not so much as a technology decision as is driven by business. Earlier it used to be any technology or solution which required IT as a basis, would have an extended cycle of IT evaluation options, technology options talking to multiple vendors, finalising on solutions, implementing over weeks, months, years to be used by business. That used to be in the past.

Today every business head is a decision maker for IT because most applications are available on the cloud as a service, which makes it possible for any business user to take decisions based on his business requirements without really worrying about what the underline IT infrastructure is. It is not so much of a technology decision but as it is driven by business decisions. IT comes in just to ensure that they are taking care, understanding the service provider, the application provider, underline IT infrastructure to make sure it is reliable, scalable and will run for a few years. And it is likely to serve them when it is required in terms of availability and reliability.

What is the CA strategy and innovation around cloud

All solutions we are offering, over a period of time, will be offered on cloud. We also have solutions which help manage, monitor and help in automating the whole process that are involved in setting up a service and delivering a service on cloud infrastructure. Going forward, our offerings services on cloud and helping organisations that set up private cloud or run some applications on hybrid or public cloud, help them manage, monitor, and automate the entire process of setting up infrastructure and run applications with it.