Indian industry seeks cutting edge IT solutions from vendors

August 17th, 2008 - 11:54 am ICT by IANS  

By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) As businesses in India log higher growth figures, companies are falling back on independent service vendors to deliver more specialized IT solutions that can slash costs to a minimum and provide quick benefits of scale, especially in the bullish mid-market segment which is steering the industry’s growth story. These solutions take care of the company’s need for information technology (IT) networking, tallest software, day-to-day administrative services and outsourcing needs.

“After a long period of under-investing in their information technology infrastructure and keeping most things like security and costs in-house in a do-it-yourself culture, Indian companies have suddenly realised the need to leverage the Web as a channel to expand their businesses rapidly,” said Sumeet Sabharwal, managing director of Navisite India, a global organization which provides IT hosting, outsourcing and professional services to medium to large organizations.

This has led to the evolution of new infrastructure management models that encompass a growing number of managed devices in complex environments spread across multiple locations.

“As a result, the ability to remotely manage equipment is becoming a top priority,” Sabharwal told IANS.

His company, which has 900 businesses on its clients’ roster, is promoting two new cutting-edge IT solutions in the mid-level industrial segment - the Remote Infrastructure Management Services (RIMS), and the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.

According to industry experts, SaaS and RIM are the hottest industrial solutions in the IT market today.

“We leverage independent industry standards like SaaS 70 Type II (a certified SaaS model) and BS 7799 to drive a common framework-based implementation of these policies and back the efforts through third party certification against these standards,” Sabharwal said.

SaaS is a model where an application is hosted as a service provided to customers over the Internet. It eliminates the need to install and run the application on the customers’ own computer and reduces his burden of software maintenance.

Customers, on their part, relinquish control over software versions or changing requirements. Using this technology can reduce the upfront expense of software purchases.

Remote Infrastructure Management Services, often billed as the key to business growth, is a dedicated helpdesk service wherein specialists diagnose IT problems in real time with the user with remote modern management techniques. Customers walk the paces of basic trouble-shooting with remote guidance from the IT helpdesk. It also provides remote state-of-the-art technology solutions, saving time and money.

Remote infrastructure management, says a Nasscom and Mckinsey study, is expected to become a $15-billion dollar industry in the next five years.

A study by Springboard Research, a leading player in the IT sector, says the Indian SaaS market is expected grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 77 percent over 2006-2010 to reach $165 million at the end of the four-year term.

In an attempt to ensure efficient application delivery models, businesses are undergoing a transformation from traditional tools to cloud computing and SaaS models, the study said.

“Companies need tools to meet the demands of the businesses and customers. Time-to-develop solutions are also decreasing today and customers are expecting higher functionality at lower TCO (total cost of ownership). None of these targets can be effective without efficient infrastructure,” said Ramesh Shastri, managing director of US-based SpikeSource (India), an open source technology firm.

According to Atul Kumar, vice-president (SaaS Operations) of Serena Software, the IT department does not need to maintain systems such as marketing, sales and human resource with the application of SaaS technology. It frees valuable resources for mission critical applications and projects, he said.

SaaS vendors, Independent Software Vendors (solutions providers), telecom and hosting providers are coming together to create a powerful SaaS ecosystem that will accelerate adoption of technology in Asia, the Springboard study said.

Explaining the rationale behind the growing need for specialized IT solutions in Indian industry, Sabharwal said in most companies, IT infrastructure cannot keep pace with the demands; thereby driving them to look for an outsourced infrastructure model.

The models, the technocrat said, are becoming increasingly on-demand which implies that businesses pay for what they need and have an assurance that they can scale up quickly as their needs grow.

“The phenomenon has gained ground over the last five years. Large outsourcing deals like the one between Bharti Tele Ventures and IBM have acted as a catalyst for other companies contemplating the same move,” he said.

The rapid growth of the Indian economy has also acted to make outsourcing more acceptable.

And solutions are becoming more sophisticated with the entry of large global players like IBM making bigger investments in India and traditional offshore IT players like Tata Infotech, Wipro and HCL turning their attention to the Indian markets.

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