Narasimhan spells out new mantra for product cos

Updated: Jan 22 2002, 05:30am hrs
Ashok Narasimhan - the entrepreneur and investor well-known in both the Silicon Valley and Indian technology circles has a new message for the new generation of technology product companies. And the new mantra he is proposing is all about the right ROI-linked (return on investment) positioning, tweaking business models to leverage niche capabilities and creating a two-way play in technology partnerships.

To prove it’s not all talk, Mr Narasimhan says he’s literally put his money where his mouth is. Touted as one the most interesting launches in the technology circle this year, he has teamed up with Unimobile creator Rajesh Reddy to fund and launch - July Systems - which is seeking to create a ‘wireless superstructure’ and do to data what roaming mobile telephony did to voice. Mr Narasimhan will head July as chairman and CEO.

The wireless-superstructure will function as a platform-tying distributed layer (spread across the server, carrier and client) to seamlessly facilitate data transfer across all wireless standards including wireless LAN, GPRS, CDMA, etc.

Besides the technology aspects, what is interesting is the redefined business model that July will follow. ‘‘There are three aspects to the model we have chalked out - ROI-linked productivity enhancement value offering, global seamless corporation and the extended co-operation model,’’ he says.

On the ROI-linked model, July says it’s all about positioning. Earlier wireless companies went wrong with one key positioning - they considered their product as an application and offered it to the enterprises, shares Mr Narasimhan.

But with the slowdown having rationalised the market, enterprises have deftly done away with spending on discretionary segments and directed funds towards core segments (like CRM, SCM implementation which enhances productivity immediately).

‘‘July’s product is therefore positioned as a core offering. We are not seeking to change the applications companies already have in place. What we are saying is that for an incremental cost we will implement our solution that will allow the very same applications like Siebel to also be facilitated for use even when the person is mobile,’’ he added, thereby justifying the product as an ROI-linked productivity enhancement option.

The company also terms itself a globally seamless corporation - which means building on the concept of being a metanational organisation in which key functions are concurrently dispersed globally.

‘‘Companies need to position themselves as global companies and not as a US company looking to India or as a Indian company looking out. In line with our global model our key divisions will be sperad across globally, with our technology hub being Bangalore,’’ Mr Narasimhan adds.

Similarily the concept of an ‘extended corporation model’ is meant for more than just plain subcontracting. While this will see July collaborating with other Indian players in terms of technology development, the focus is more on creating market synergies.

‘‘It’s surprising to note that in India most tech companies don’t know what the other one is doing. Our extended corporation model seeks to address just this area - creating a two-way play in collaborations which also means mutual market access possibilities for both parties,’’ he said.