Tech shots for a global flavour

Updated: Dec 31 2007, 06:06am hrs
From just an exporter of IT, India is also becoming a significant consumer of IT. This trend can be attributed to overall economic growth and prosperity of businesses and increased pressure to enhance productivity at low costs. The exponential growth witnessed by the midsized companies has been another factor that has contributed to significant increase in domestic IT consumption in India. Large enterprises, which had put their underlying IT infrastructures in place in the 1990s, are now evaluating new areas such as customer relationship management, human capital management, grid computing, service orientated architecture and identity management. There is also a rising interest in software as a service. This exemplifies the evolution of IT and its use to build businesses the world over, including in India.

Its no secret that the business and technological issues confronting midsize companies are even more challenging than enterprises, because many of them face the same level of complexity but have to work with limited resources and tighter budgets. The emphasis on adopting technologies based on open industry standards is already visible among mid-sized companies. They are recognising that their high growth rates demand a flexible, adaptable IT infrastructure, that closed and proprietary systems cannot provide. They are also recognising that they need to adopt modern technologies such as service-oriented architecture (SOA), which are critical to enabling them to respond quickly to new business opportunities, customer demands and changes in operating conditions. We see this trend picking up more in 2008.

Indian organisations are competing in a global marketplace that requires them to be extremely agile and responsive, especially in managing distributed customer information. Banking, insurance, manufacturing, consumer products, telecommunications, media, utilities companies in India are now going in for combined front-office and back-office systems that cater to their industry needs. The focus is on optimising strategies, people, processes and technology around customers. This is the key to delivering strong customer loyalty and retention, resulting in increased growth and shareholder value and this is where, we believe, CRM will play a critical role. Take the example of Tata Motors. It has put in place one of the largest centralised dealer management systems in the world over a period of four years. Using Siebel CRM, the company manages a widespread network of over 15,000-dealer outlets spread across India.

With increasing technology innovations and with the rising pressure of adhering to the various compliance norms, both at a global and at a local level, the area of IT security is becoming a priority for companies. In the past, IT security was designed mainly to keep people out, but today more and more internal applications need to be shared with outsiders such as partners, customers and field staff in remote locations.

In essence, organisations need to open their virtual doors to the world while ensuring that only the trusted walk through them, which is why the scope and importance of security technologies in general, and identity management in particular, has changed. As more and more Indian companies participate as suppliers, contractors or customers in the global commercial system, understanding of and adherence to global compliance norms has become a norm. As a result of this, issues related to compliance, transparency, breach of information security are taking centre stage. The cost and time advantage through an identity management system implementation will help address such issues and some of the more mature organisations in India are already looking at such systems. This is especially relevant to the IT and ITeS outsourcing industry in India.

Technology innovations such as grid computing, business intelligence, and tools such as HCM solutions had started to gain visibility and traction in 2007. In 2008, not only will we see an increased adoption by large organisations we will also see midsize companies demanding it. And we will see an increased acceptance of the software as a service or the pay per use model in the delivery of some business applications.

Today, irrespective of where a company is based, if it does business on a global scalewhich a lot of Indian companies now dothey need to understand the best practices and measures for productivity enhancement, lowering costs and compliance adopted by companies across various geographies. It is increasingly becoming essential for them to be able to smoothly and responsibly conduct business with counterparts worldwide. Whether they are component suppliers to the automobile giants, outsourced partners for retail chains or emerging manufacturers setting up projects overseas, the need to succeed on a global scale and compliance are part of their DNA. And they recognise that software provides them with the tools to achieve that.

The writer is MD, Oracle India