Polaris To Develop BFSI Solutions For Domestic Market

Chennai | Updated: Mar 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
Polaris Software Lab, which has till now been focusing on the overseas market, is looking at developing BFSI (business, financial services and insurance) related products for the Indian market.

Polaris chairman and chief executive officer Arun Jain said, Given that the Indian banking and financial services industry has specific requirements in terms of costs, we are planning to develop India-specific financial technology products. Currently, only 13 per cent of Polaris revenues are attributed to India, with the software services major catering to its overseas clients - Citigroup being its primary customer, Mr Jain said while speaking at the annual Tech Quest symposium organised by the company.

Polaris, which supplies banking software products exclusively for Citibanks operations globally, is looking at India with renewed interest. India, with only 8 million credit cards, is a huge market waiting to be tapped. With less than one per cent of the population sporting credit cards as opposed to four credit cards per person in the US, the potential is immense. As Indian banks provide credit cards to their customers, with increased emphasis on technology, we see a huge potential waiting to be unleashed, Mr Jain said.

Globally, the BFSI industry is pegged at $200-300 billion, with Indias share a miniscule $20 million. Only ten per cent of this $20 million market has been tapped, with five to six players servicing this sector. Polaris, thus sees much opportunity to penetrate this market, Mr Jain said. At the same time, the software services major is not going to lose its focus on the overseas market, he added.

The merger of Orbitech with Polaris will help us to realise this as Orbitech brings to the table its vast experience and BFSI-specific knowledge, Mr Jain said.

In the next 6-12 months, we plan to launch the ASP (application service provider) based model of products as opposed to the currently more popular outsourcing-based model.

Earlier, the market was not ready for the ASP model because of the cost factor, but we believe that with shorter time to market and higher levels of competency building, customers would be ready to accept the ASP model now, he said.

Polaris is also moving on the ATM software space, as it develops ATM software for Citibank. Said Mr MR Ravichandran, senior vice-president, delivery organisation, Polaris is looking at switchless ATMs where scalability will be easier thus bringing transaction costs down. In a 12-18 month timeframe, we would move to switchless ATMs for Citibank, and Polaris is working on developing software for the same.

(Travel for the story was sponsored by Polaris)