Wednesday, December 31, 2008


The Economic Times

President-elect Barack Obama's top asset in pushing his agenda will not be his Cabinet secretaries or aides, but rather his online network.

Obama's political e-mail list tops 13 million names, a digital force that the incoming White House can tap to push for his legislation, tamp down critics or bolster popular support. It's also a way for Obama to reach into every state, every city, and every neighborhood.

A study released today found that a quarter of Obama voters said they would continue to work online to support the new administration. The nonpartisan Pew Internet and American Life Project also found 62 percent of Obama's voters say they would ask others to support Obama's policies.

Welcome to the Democrats' new permanent campaign, one planned online and executed on Main Street.

If it works the way Obama's top lieutenants plan, the White House will marshal hundreds of thousands of phone calls within hours if it looks as if the president-elect were losing a policy battle. With the click of a keyboard, Obama's aides could ask supporters to flood the phone lines of Congress, making it untenable to ignore the clamor.

That, at least, is the idea. Obama's unmatched database gives his incoming administration a clear advantage over its Republican rivals, who have seen decades of datamining overcome in the matter of months. Republican leaders, though, insist they are not deterred. (AP)


Chandra Ranganathan, Chennai
The Economic Times

By most counts, 2008 was a bad year for IT companies, mostly due to the credit-induced economic crisis in the US, their biggest technology market. As we ring in the new year, ET spoke to IT company officials, analysts and industry experts to get a sense of the trends to watch out for next year in IT services, on the demand and the supply side.

1. Geography: India offers a spring of hope

While company officials and analysts say much of the business would continue to happen out of the US, they also see an up swell of demand in Asia Pacific and India. For example, Cognizant, which derives a major portion of its revenue from North America, has been making investments in the last 12 to 18 months specifically in Japan, Australia and India to build its leadership team and sales engines. The company's president and managing director R Chandrasekaran said this would be the additional growth engines in the coming years. At the same time, HCL Technologies, which is seeing more growth happening out of Continental Europe and Scandinavian countries, said it would pitch itself as an integrated service provider (infrastructure and application to gain a pie of the domestic Indian market. Apart from government contracts worth millions of dollars, IT companies also see more action in the retail and FMCG space.

2. Service offerings – IT infrastructure services and BPO

Traditionally, application, development and maintenance services have been the bread and butter of a majority of the software services providers in the country. While this area will continue to grow, the merging growth areas would be IT infrastructure services (IT IS), remote infrastructure management (RIM) and business process outsourcing (BPO). "A large number of infrastructure contracts would be off-shored. Expect more discussions and debates on IT IS, RIM, BPO, virtualisation and unified communications as companies try to work efficiently across locations and lessen travel costs," said Frost & Sullivan ICT practice deputy director Kaustubh Dhavse.

3. Pricing- bang for every buck

While there is consensus that contract prices will be renegotiated, there is no clarity yet on whether there would rack-rate cuts or reduction on a project-by-project basis. Gartner India's principal research analyst Diptarup Chakraborti said, "Rack rates look difficult to sustain at least in the short run and price negotiations even in existing contracts is likely to happen. Both old and new clients pressure is likely. Every client will seek maximum bang for his buck." At the same time, Dipen Shah, vice-president, private client group- research, Kotak Securities said that this would happen more in the case of small-cap companies who would be open to lower price points to save volumes.

4. Vendor consolidation- more offshoring

For months now, Indian IT companies have been saying that the consolidation happening in America's BFSI space, would result in more work transferred here, as banks look to save costs by moving operations low-cost destinations offshore. Some companies have been lucky to be a vendor of the acquirer and the acquired entity, thereby getting more business from the merged entity.

5. Contracts – vendor is king

Typically, an Indian IT company enters into time and material linked contracts, where the billing is done based on the number of people working on a particular project. "In T & M projects, companies build in a lot of buffer, where if 20 people are billed, 15-16 would be working. But, now companies might negotiate with vendors to work on the same projects with lesser people. They will enter into service level agreements to ensure that quality is maintained even with lesser resources," said an analyst who did not wish to be named. Apart from this, fixed price contracts will also pick up. "Scale and capability – you cab lock it in revenue," Dhavse said.

6. Techies will head home

IT employees nurturing hopes of onsite projects in exciting locales have to get used to the idea that more work will happen offshore. This trend will happen because of two reasons- increase in revenues from offshore friendly services and more focus in domestic software projects. While RIM, BPO and testing are offshore- friendly, consulting and ERP implementation are onsite intensive. Indian IT companies will also throw more resources in domestic software projects, as they find the demand inside show promise like never before.

7. Currency headwinds

The year began with rupee at Rs 38-40 to the US dollar and is ending at Ts 48-50 levels, leaving in its wake losses due to hedging and more confusion. While they contend that currency headwinds would continue, no one is willing to take a bet on the direction or pattern. Kotak's Shah said, "It is very difficult to estimate." Companies, on the other hand, did not respond to the question on currency headwinds. But broadly, observers say that the dollar appreciation against the rupee is unlikely to continue for long. "I don't expect a sharp movement in the US dollar for another 6 months. It won't go to a 15-20 percent upside. Rs 42-46 levels should make it profitable for companies," said Dhavse.

8. Headcount addition

There has been a lot of discussion on the non-linearity model, where companies are trying to break the relationship between headcount addition and revenue growth. Companies will push for this in the coming year by using automation tools, increasing the utilisation rate and improving employee productivity. As a result, the campus intake would be flattish. Productivity measures could include an increase in working hours but no company has confirmed this.

9. STPI extension crucial

The IT industry is rooting for an extension of the STPI tax benefit, which is due to expire in April 2009. They say that while companies are moving into IT SEZ s, this process is still at a nascent stage. "To sustain or growth momentum, we need to ensure the STPI tax holiday is extended to help companies to remain price-competitive and attract more captives and third-party service providers to India


MG Arun
The Financial Express

Asked in an interview at the start of this decade whether the economic reforms introduced in 1991 had fundamentally changed corporate culture in India, Ratan N Tata, chairman of the $50-billion Tata Group had said, “I think the environment has become more competitive. That has made Indian industry more concerned with its customers, the quality of its products, and its brand image in the marketplace.”

Nine years on, these attributes hold true for Indian companies that have made a mark on the global scene, except that a new dimension had been etched on—size and scale—exemplified by Tata’s own steel firm, which snapped up the UK’s Corus Plc for a whopping $12 billion or Hindalco from the Aditya Birla Group, which bought Canada’s Novelis for $6 billion. At a time when Indian IT companies like Infosys, TCS and Wipro were raking in orders from the best multinational corporations with their quick delivery times and cutting edge services, the Indian automotive sector saw the entry and success of a host of foreign players, including Hyundai, Honda, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and others, peppered with the aggressive growth of home-bred giants including Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and the hitherto unbeatable Maruti Suzuki.

Corporates were also getting into the world of make-believe, and the media and entertainment sector saw fresh funds, a great deal of transparency, off-the-beaten-track themes, a fresh set of professionals who experimented with ideas on screen, the launch of channel after channel as more and more Indians became couch potatoes, then the DTH, IPTV... you name it. India was also becoming one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world, driven by a wireless revolution kicked off by the undivided Reliance earlier this decade.

What followed saw the democratisation of the communication device, and top executives to fisherfolk and vegetable vendors became connected at the press of a button. Corporates like Bharti, Aditya Birla, Essar and BPL rushed in to catch this opportunity, and despite falling average revenue per user (ARPUs), the rush to amass subscribers continues unabated.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Financial Chronicle

Shortly after taking the helm of Hewlett-Packard in early 2005, Mark Hurd realized that despite being one of the world’s leading technology suppliers, HP had an embarrassing and crippling technology problem. There was no easy way for executives to get a picture of what was happening in the entire company.

Each unit of the computer giant based in Palo Alto, California, had its own systems for tracking information in crucial areas like inventory, component costs and marketing expenditures. No central system pulled all the data together into what Hurd liked to call ‘‘a single version of the truth.’’ Hurd developed his passion for that quest during a previous job running the Teradata division of NCR. Teradata pioneered a technology called data warehousing, which allows managers to get a coherent picture of a company’s inventory, production, marketing and sales.

NCR spun off the unit in October 2007. With all of that information at their fingertips, employees can sift through and see once-hidden trends. Such technology helps companies like Wal-Mart Stores determine which shirt colors are preferred by people in Cincinnati, tells Best Buy what offers it should dangle in front of online shoppers in mid-March and suggests to Wynn Resorts which frequent gamblers should be coddled. To Hurd, who rode his success at Teradata into the chief executive’s spot at NCR, data warehousing is a vital tool for making a business much more efficient. He had a few options for fixing HP’s information problem: Buy Teradata’s products acquire Teradata outright or have HP build data warehousing technology.


Gireesh Chandra Prasad & Soma Banerjee, New Delhi
The Economic Times

Fancy owning cars painted with particles that will cool your vehicle drawing solar power and still not leave a trace of carbon in the air? Or buildings that remain cool while consuming far less energy than they do now?

These and several other sustainable energy solutions for a wide variety of everyday needs could become a reality with India and the US deciding to bring together scientists in both the countries with support from corporate groups.

The Ministry of Science and Technology is all set to launch ‘BIJLEE’ or the Berkeley-India Joint Leadership on Energy and the Environment, under which the US government will spare its top scientists and engineers to develop sustainable energy solutions for India, said an Indian government official, who declined to be identified.

Institutions supporting the initiative include the University of California, Berkeley, the Indian Institute of Science and various Indian Institutes of Technology. The Indian government’s research body, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), played a key role in envisaging the project.

All this was also confirmed by Purnendu Chatterjee, chairman of investment company The Chatterjee Group, which is a major corporate supporter of the initiative. US-based Chatterjee is an alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley, and his group is most known in India for its investment in Haldia Petrochemicals.

He is not alone in the BIJLEE initiative. Indian groups such as ITC, Tata Power, Reliance Energy, Infosys and some California-based utilities are also supporting this project, which needs strong participation from industry to help design technologies that are commercially viable.

BIJLEE will attempt to find sophisticated ways to lower energy consumption across a range of industrial processes and could potentially benefit everything under the sun from building houses and cars to consumer electronics, lighting systems and water purifiers.


Jayajit Dash, Kolkata & Bhubaneswar
Business Standard

The Orissa Information Technology (IT) Department will review the progress of the ongoing and the upcoming IT projects of the state in a meeting scheduled for January 6.

“At the meeting, we will review the status of construction work of the existing IT players and also that of projects announced by MindTree and Genpact who have announced their development centres in the state”, Pradipta K Mohapatra, the state IT secretary said.

Mohapatra indicated that the IT players had deferred their construction work as they were awaiting the new building norms of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), adding, “Now that the BDA has come out with its new building norms, the IT players would be keen to kick off their construction work.”

The new building norms of BDA which focuses on vertical growth and allows multi-level parking are expected to benefit the companies in the IT and ITeS (IT enabled services) sectors.

The fresh building norms of BDA have done away with the building restrictions, except in some strategic zones and the new norms have linked the height of buildings to the plot size and width of the road, which the plot abuts. According to the new BDA norms, the maximum height of a building shall not exceed one and a half times the width of the road, which the plot abuts.

Apart from the new building regulations of BDA, the new SEZ (special economic zone) policy being formulated by the Orissa government is also set to benefit the IT companies.

“The Orissa government is in the process of finalising a new SEZ policy which will incorporate the best practices of other investor friendly states in the country like Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The policy will also include IT SEZs and in the IT SEZs, 50 percent of the area will be earmarked for manufacturing and the remaining 50 percent for non-manufacturing purposes”, said Mohapatra.

Asked on the status of the proposed Investment Technology Investment Region (ITIR) in Orissa, he said, “IL&FS Infrastructure Development Corporation is expected to submit its report to the Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation on the proposed ITIR in the state by the second week of next month.”


The Economic Times The Hindu Business Line

Mumbai-based IT firm Rolta has acquired Piocon Technologies, a Chicago-based firm that has customers in the oil and gas sector. The acquisition gives Rolta access to solutions, which address critical operational needs of refineries.

Rolta shares were up 1.4 percent on Monday at Rs 111 on the BSE.

ET had reported that Rolta was close to finalising the deal in its Monday edition. Currently, all of Piocon’s customers are based in the US and Rolta plans to expand this to the Middle East and India, CMD KK Singh said. Piocon’s website lists oil major Chevron as one of its customers. Chevron has a stake in Reliance Petroleum.

Rolta also intends to cross-sell these services to its existing customers for engineering design, which are mostly in oil and gas, petrochemical and energy sectors. “This (Piocon’s) solution is eminently suited to be extended beyond refinery operations to up-stream and down-stream operations in oil and gas, and to other industry segments like petrochemicals, mining, power, and especially highly regulated sectors like pharmaceuticals and nuclear power,” said Rolta


Ranjit Shinde
The Economic Times

Rolta’s acquisition of US-based Piocon Technologies couldn’t have come at a better time than this. The acquisition would strengthen Rolta’s engineering design business at a time when new capital expenditure is hard to come from refineries given slowing demand for petroleum products and global credit crunch. At the same time, at over $10 million, the deal is too tiny to significantly pull down Rolta’s financial performance for the next few quarters until it fully integrates Piocon’s operations with itself.

As a part of its engineering design operations, Rolta caters to petroleum refining and power sector. Of this, the refining segment contributes over 18 percent to annual revenue of over $260 million (Rs 1,250 crore in last 12 months). Since Rolta provides refinery design support under this segment, the business largely depends upon new capex plans of refineries in India and abroad. With slowing economic scenario, this part of Rolta’s business is likely to take a hit, as refinery capex would drop.

The deal is of strategic nature for Rolta. Acquisition of Piocon would provide support to this division once Rolta starts fully leveraging the newly acquired operations. This is because Piocon offers services related to data integration across various IT platforms of a refinery, a business service, which is of support and maintenance in nature. Such services become all the more essential to refineries in the times of slowdown as they help reduce cost of ownership in medium-to-long term. Typically, a medium sized refinery (with refining capacity of about six million tones per annum) would have to invest anywhere between $5-10 million for such a solution based on size and complexity of the refinery. The Rolta management claims that annual savings as a result of implementation of such a solution may go up to $20 million


Business Standard

Compucom Software said on Monday it has bagged an order worth Rs 7.67 crore from Rajasthan government for the supply of various software packages to 2, 500 government run schools in the state. The order has been awarded by Secondary Education Department of Rajasthan, Compucom Software said in filing to the Bombay Sock Exchange.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Madrid, December 28, 2008
The Economic Times

The European Commission has cleared a Spanish draft regulation on wholesale broadband Internet access, which will allow Telefonica to limit access for rivals to parts of its new fibre-optic network.

In a press release posted on the European Commission's website Dec. 24, the Commission said it had given the Spanish regulator, the CMT's, draft the green light, but added it still had concerns on certain elements of the regulation. The Commission said it believed wholesale broadband access for Telefonica's rivals should not be limited for Internet speeds of up to 30 megabits per second.

"On the basis of the Commission's presently limited powers of oversight, it can only invite the CMT to change its regulatory approach in this regard," it said.


Harsimran Singh & Deepshikha Monga, December 29, 2008
The Economic Times

With a focus on going green, reducing the escalating power costs and lessening downtime to zero, the challenges to managing a data centre are manifold. IT consolidation and transforming the data centre has become the imperative need for a CIO.

According to an IDC study, more than 40% of data centres will be replaced within the next 10 years. Over the next five years, power failures and limits on power availability will halt data centre operations of over 90% companies. Lee Bonham director worldwide solutions at HP believes that greening of data centres and delivering 24x7, lights-out data centre are the major requirements of companies now.

"Data centre transformation basically rests in four domains – facilities, IT infrastructure, management and operations and applications and information. The data centres also have to have built-in business continuity and availability. We at HP have managed to consolidate 85 data centres into six global ones," he says.

The consolidation helped HP in 60% reduction in annual energy use. It also gave 80% more processing power with 30% fewer servers and reduced the data storage costs while doubling capacity.

Indeed, such a consolidation will be helpful, as servers have become more power hungry even as they have become more advanced. This means, greater carbon emissions from data centres. Removing one server is equivalent to planting 12 trees or removing a car from the road, says global business manager for green IT at HCL Technologies' infrastructure services division Sumit Agrawal.

"Every customer has green on his mind. Every CIO wants to consolidate his data centres," Agrawal says. The awareness level is already there and customers are now looking at solutions to 'green' their data centres, he adds.

There are many technology solutions available in the market today, which can reduce power costs, enhance cooling and reduce data storage costs through techniques such as virtualization and dynamic smart cooling. In a virtualized environment software can be run on virtual machines rather than actual hardware. The virtual machines simulate the hardware in real time.

Smart cooling helps to reduce power costs and reduces companies’ carbon footprint. Former Nasscom president Kiran Karnik says: "Today what is good for the environment is also good for the business. So companies should come forward and reduce their costs by having state-of-the-art data centres."

The problem can get more acute as demand for data centres will only grow in the future. A surge in storage demand in India, growing from one petabyte (one quadrillion bytes) in 2001 to more than 34 petabytes by 2007, has increased the demand for data storage centres. The data centres growth will be driven by sectors such as banking, telecom, manufacturing and services. The total data centre capacity in India is expected to reach 5.1 million square feet by 2012 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 31% from 2007 to 2012, according to Gartner.


Papia Lahiri & Harsimran Singh, December 29, 2008
The Economic Times

Conservation of environment is a major concern for nations. Initially disbanded as the task of the 'green brigade', the corporate world has woken up from its deep slumber. Embedded as an important postulate of social responsibility among most organisations across sectors, adherence to environmental sustainability has emerged as a major consideration for them.

Expansive IT infrastructure is a cardinal component of most business processes and has improved productivity exponentially. But it is one of the major reasons for consumption of energy, water, emission of greenhouse gases and generation of electronic or e-waste. Hence, the transition towards the idea of 'green IT' has caught up. Tangible and visible efforts like data centre energy cost reduction, virtualization leading to server consolidation, remote management leading to CO2 footprint reduction, reducing software footprint of applications by consolidation form the backbone of Green IT culture.

However the scale of the problem is simply immense. About 3.3 lakh tonnes of e-waste generated last year was dumped into the rivers, land fills and sewage drains. While the chemicals used to corrode e-waste seep into the ground, e-waste junk like refrigerator bodies, compressors from air conditioners and waste plastic used to make phones just keep on piling up. Only 19,000 tonnes of the annual e-waste is recycled. This is due to high refurbishing and reuse of electronics products in the country and also due to poor recycling infrastructure.

E-waste is of concern largely due to the toxicity and carcinogenicity of some of the substances. Toxic substances may include lead, mercury and cadmium. Carcinogenic substances in electronic goods include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). A typical computer monitor may contain more than 6% lead by weight, much of which is in the lead glass of the CRT. Capacitors, transformers, PVC insulated wires, PVC coated components often contain dangerous amounts of polychlorinated biphenyls. "E-waste is going to be one the major problems facing the world after climate change and poverty," says Nokia India managing director D Shivakumar.

According to a report by hardware body Manufacturers Association of Information Technology (MAIT), e-waste from discarded computers, TVs and mobile phones is projected to grow to more than 800,000 tonnes by 2012 with a growth rate of 15% in the country. "If the situation is not controlled, we may see large land fills of junk e-waste around our cities 10 years down the line," says MAIT executive director Vinnie Mehta.

"For Green IT initiatives to achieve a sustainable impact, firms have to transform their approach from obligation to opportunity. As IT adoption increases in India, we also need to ensure that incorporation of green IT infrastructure is inculcated right from the beginning," says Nasscom vice-president Rajdeep Sahrawat.

Wipro, HCL, Cisco and IBM have ensured green data centres within their organisations and provide consultancy services to set them up for clients. "We have been helping companies actively in developing a complete road map on green IT including the non-IT elements like infrastructure design, hardware used, et all. The effective management of IT infrastructure helps in reducing of carbon footprint of an organisation. We all need to contribute," said vice-president of professional services division in Wipro Infotech Deepak Jain.

British Telecommunication (BT) has designed a carbon impact assessment mechanism that enables organisations to accurately calculate the amount of CO2 emissions produced with the use of networked IT services. It allows a number of business scenarios to be tested and an assessment made of the associated energy and carbon reductions.

"The link between sustainability and commercial success is, without doubt, becoming clearer all the time. India is rapidly becoming a global centre for information and communications technology development and its economic growth rate is high. It is vital that this commercial success is matched by a commitment towards social responsibility," says BT India chairman Arun Seth.

Many companies are trying to adopt a more macro-level approach by constructing green buildings. According to Indian Green Building Council, green buildings use less energy, water and natural resources and create less e-waste. So it's healthier for the people living inside compared to a standard building.

Eventually, the government has to define roles of each stakeholder including the vendors, the users, the recyclers and regulator for environment friendly recycling. Also, companies must realise that going green actually results in money saved and hence focus their efforts on eco-friendly products that reduce carbon and other harmful emissions. Products sold must be backed by efficient disposal strategies to effectively tackle the problem of e-waste.


Chennai/Bangalore, December 29, 2008
Business Standard

The Karnataka government plans to set up electronics hardware parks in Kolar and Tumkur respectively.

Katta Subramanya Naidu, Karnataka Minister for Information Technology and Biotechnology has promised this to industry bodies led by Manufacturers’ Association of Information Technology (MAIT), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Kassia.

He said, in addition to the land the industry bodies have asked for incentives in the form of land on a long lease of 30 years, instead of outright purchase, which would be an expensive proposition to set up manufacturing unit at the time of economic crisis and five-year tax holiday.

“Industry bodies have been told to come up with concrete proposals for the government to spell out our stand,” he added. For setting up the hardware park in Kolar and Tumkur, the government has already has land at its disposal.

In Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) we plan to utilise land owned by Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML), which is closed for the last few years. “In Tumkur, the government has land at many places, we will take a call once we get applications from IT companies,” Naidu said.

The Union minister of state for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways K H Muniyappa who represents Kolar has expressed interest and has asked the state government to facilitate land and other infrastructure facilities for attracting investments.

“The proposals for Kolar will be given final shape after talks with Muniyappa,” said Naidu. The government early this year had cleared setting up a hardware park in Bangalore near Devanahalli on 300 acres.


Apurv Gupta, Mumbai, December 29, 2008
The Economic Times

Core Projects and Technologies is in advanced stages to acquire K12 Education Division, part of US-based Princeton Review, one of the leaders in online education. The deal size is estimated to be around $20-25 million, or about Rs 100-125 crore, according to sources close to the development.

Although senior Core Projects officials declined to comment on the transaction, people close to the development said that Mumbai-based Core plans to finance the acquisition through debt. An email query sent to Core didn’t elicit any response. Nasdaq-listed Princeton Review’s K12 has revenues of approximately $25-30 million.

Headquarted in New York, The Princeton Review is a pioneer in education and offers private tutoring and classroom and online test preparations. It works with school districts around the US and authors more than 200 print and software titles on test preparation, college and graduate school selection and admissions, and related topics. An email sent to The Princeton Review also didn’t elicit any response.

Core Projects also offers a wide range of services in the education domain. Besides expanding its products and solutions offerings globally, Core will cross sell its newly acquired products and solutions to existing clients. Princeton Review’s K12 is a well-known brand around the globe.


Harsimran Singh, New Delhi, December 28, 2008
The Economic Times

Blue, green, yellow and orange. Thousands of multicoloured wires pour down from behind tall black racks, stacked in rows, bathed in white light in a giant hall. Hundreds of tiny green bulbs blink simultaneously in servers stacked in the racks on top of a white hollow floor which circulates chilled air from beneath, creating an image, straight out of a Hollywood Sci-Fi. Trillions of megabytes of binary data circulates in the servers in India’s largest data centre at HP R&D Tech Labs, about 16 kilometres from the heart of Bangalore. Welcome to the world of Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM)!

Despite the economic slowdown, infrastructure management services (IMS) is becoming a lucrative vertical for Indian IT. According to Nasscom, the remote IMS business out of India currently stands at $200-300 million but has a market potential of $55 billion globally. Several such critical data centres in the US, the UK, France or China are being monitored and maintained by Indian engineers out of Noida, Bangalore, Gurgaon and Chennai.

Says HP Tech Labs director Mohan Murthy: “We have the capability of monitoring, shutting down and fixing bugs in the servers by remote login from our home or any part of the world. Only in cases of a loose wire fault or physical damage do we need a human being. The need for lesser number of people saves a lot of cost and thus makes it an attractive offering for clients.”

Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM) is a part of the IMS, which Nasscom estimates to have a market potential of $150 billion. On the other hand, Forrester estimates IMS to have a market size of $111 billion and Gartner $80 billion. Datacentre outsourcing, network management, IT security outsourcing, telecom and application monitoring and management fall under the purview of IMS.

In India, IT companies have hopped on to the IMS bandwagon as it gives an edge to companies in Europe or US planning to save up to 60% costs in their IT management. Says Satyam Infrastructure Management Services global head Nick Sharma: “We provide end-to-end infrastructure services that encompasses plan, build, operate and manage life cycle. The key focus areas are end-user computing, data center, helpdesk and IT services management, identity and access management, managed security.”

According to a recent study by Nasscom, the total addressable RIM market is estimated to be $96-104 billion globally. Of this about 70-75 % of infrastructure management roles can be offshored and India stands at an opportunity to realise $26-28 billion of this by 2013 with a CAGR (combined aggregate growth rate) of over 30%.

In the last 15 years, the Indian IT industry has latched on to opportunities thrown up by the global IT spenders. Initially, it was project-oriented onsite work (also involved bodyshopping), followed by Y2K, then the BPO buzz, then offshoring, and now it is IMS.

McKinsey & Company partner Vivek Pandit said: “India is once again well positioned to capture a disproportionate share of this growth by 2013 i.e., $13-15 billion and in the process create 325,000 to 375,000 jobs.”

All Indian IT majors have strong plans to enter the Tech IMS space. For instance, Wipro acquired Infocrossing for $600 million and expects it to give a strong boost to its plans to capture leadership in the IMS space. Infosys, Mindtree, HP, Patni, etc have set up IMS divisions. Infosys has plans to create similar revenues from Tech IMS within the next five years as from other businesses.

The HCL Comnet facility situated in Noida handles RIM for many global investment banks, pharma companies, technology-consulting firms. HCL has some customers like AMD, Autodesk, Dixons (UK), Skandia(UK) and Bears and Stearns. The facility adheres to strict norms and doesn’t even allow visitors on the campus. The remote management sections of each client are also secured from another.

“Today, the industry is becoming more mature to offer full services. They offer a spectrum of infrastructure services right from the data centres through the end user computing spectrum including the network security, database operation and support,” says HCL Comnet AVP Maninder Singh.

“For application operation and support, we are seeing consolidation and virtualisation really coming on to the mainstay. The traditional outsourcing model, which was very asset-heavy, is losing steam. People are seeing the asset-light model being beneficial,” he adds.


Chennai, December 28, 2008
The Hindu Business Line

The Satyam-Maytas deal issue has set back regulation of corporate governance as authorities are now looking at a ‘prescriptive’ route rather than self-regulation, according to R. Vasudevan, Director of Inspection and Investigation, Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Referring to the $1.6-billion deal in which Satyam Computer Services had planned to acquire Maytas Properties and Maytas Infrastructure — controlled by the sons of Satyam Computer’s chairman, B. Ramalinga Raju — but was dropped due to a strong negative reaction from the markets and investors, he said the issue had been an “eye opener on the level of institutional performance”.

Vasudevan, addressing a seminar on corporate governance organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and the National Foundation for Corporate Governance, said at a time when the new Company Bill is to be presented before Parliament, the thinking had been to move away from a regulated regime to greater self regulation.

Regulators had been even considering that related body transactions should be left to self-regulation under corporate governance.

But the Satyam-Maytas issue has “turned us back”. It has “raised the need to rethink self regulation”.

The Ministry, which has called for the details of the deal that had been proposed, will hold an inquiry into it.

The Corporate Affairs Ministry is also thinking of regulating independent directors on the boards of companies, a turnaround from the plans to insulate the directors from regulation.

That the Satyam-Maytas deal was called off is thanks to “investor activism”, he said. The companies planned to be acquired may have been rich — but that is not the point.

It is about ethics and the deal should first have been presented to the shareholders and the general body rather than being pushed through a board meeting.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


The Economic Times

Surfing the net has become a lot easier since wireless Internet has come into being, and now Wi-Fi has rightly topped the poll for the greatest technological advance of the last decade, according to a survey.

With 35.5 percent votes, Wi-Fi has beaten Sky+, Sat Navs, iPods and Blackberries to win the poll conducted by a leading gadget magazine.

In the survey by 'Stuff' magazine, the readers were asked to choose the greatest technological innovation of the past ten years.

More than a third voted for Wireless Internet.

SKY+, the personal video recorders (PVR) by Sky, at the second place, has emerged as the best known and best loved PVR.

"It really has given power to the consumer to allow them to watch what they want when they want," the Telegraph quoted Fevzi Turkalp, who runs the Gadget Detective website, as saying.

Sat Nav, provided in almost every car now, stood at the third place, while energy-efficient Hybrid Cars have marked fourth place in the list.

Apple's iPod has taken the fifth place in the list.

Simon Osborne-Walker, the publisher of Stuff magazine, said that he was confident readers had managed to sum up the best of the last decade.

"It's been an amazing ten years for technology. Gadgets have gone from being big black boxes under the television to lightweight, portable devices," he said.


Shamnad Basheer

Current intellectual property (IP) regimes are excessively formalistic in their orientation. Not too surprising, given that their creation and sustenance has largely been the preserve of lawyers trained in formal legal thought, with little input from other disciplines such as science, sociology or economics.

One watches with deep anguish as such regimes take on a life of their own, forgetting the simple yet hard truth that they are not ends unto themselves, but are mere means to help serve a greater end, i.e., fostering more innovation and creativity. In other words, patents are valuable to us only to the extent that they help engender more innovations for society.

Not only are IP rules excessively formalistic in their orientation, they also cater largely to what one might term as the “formal” economy. In other words, there is an assumption that innovation is the sole prerogative of a lone inventor who does her research within the closed walls of a formalistic entity that we call the “corporation”. Similarly, copyright norms are premised on the assumption that content creation is the preserve of artists and writers who tie up with big media giants and publishing houses.

A close look at the nature of our economy today, characterized by Web 2.0 and the vast social/ collaborative networks built on it leads one to seriously question the above assumptions.

Illustratively, the open-source movement has opened our eyes to the fact that an informal network of programmers can bring us highly innovative and free software products of a kind never thought possible under a proprietary model where coding was controlled by a single corporation and products placed on the market at monopoly prices. Such collaborative/democratic/user innovation models are now being attempted in other technology areas such as biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. And they are bound to succeed, given that innovation is not a formal or linear process directed by a lone inventor, but a social process involving a multitude of different actors.

Indeed, India’s very own Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is now attempting to leverage an online collaborative model to come up with a new drug for tuberculosis (TB). That the gold standard for TB is a drug from the 1960s and that we haven’t had any major breakthroughs since then leads one to seriously question the current IP model around drug innovation; a model that brings us fewer innovative drugs each year and more me-too versions.

In the context of copyright law, the rise of user-generated content has thrown archaic copyright norms into serious question. Content is being created and posted on social forums such as Facebook and YouTube at a pace that might soon rival the speed of light. Similarly, content is shared between millions of users through several online platforms such as BitTorrent and LimeWire.

In the specific context of India, where almost 90% of the economy comprises the “informal sector”, the above truths hold even greater sway. The National Innovation Foundation, run out of IIM Ahmedabad, has compiled more than 50,000 innovations belonging to the rural “informal” poor and virtually demolished the assumption that innovation is the preserve of the rich and the “formal”. But merely identifying such innovative potential in India’s villages, often referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the “real India”, is not good enough. One has to do more in terms of coming up with norms that help these poor communities leverage their creativity.

Newer IP regimes in India, such as the protection of geographical indications and plant varieties, throw the relevance of “informal communities” into sharper focus, dealing as they do with communities of farmers and artisans. Similarly, as India moves to devise norms for protecting and leveraging its ancient “traditional” and indigenous knowledge, it will again have to cater predominantly to informal communities that live on the fringes of the existing IP regime. This regime, largely a Western heritage gifted to us by our colonial masters, and further entrenched with the help of an inequitable international instrument called TRIPS, is very “individualistic” in tone and focuses specifically on identifiable inventors and authors. This sits in sharp contrast with the “community” focus in India, where things like traditional medicinal knowledge and folklore have no clearly identifiable authors or inventors, but have been preserved by indigenous communities over hundreds of years.

Shamnad Basheer is the ministry of HRD chair in intellectual property law at the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata


Mint The Times of India

Engineering students who are tired of installing and uninstalling various software pertaining to their course of study can now hope to breathe easy.

A new “free software Operating System” developed by ‘e-Swecha´, a variant of Linux--a popular open source OS, promises to solve their problems concerning the installation and uninstallation of software for the purpose of study.

Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation and GNU Project, will launch the e-Swecha initiative, on Wednesday, wherein about 21,000 computers will see migration from present OS to e-Swecha across the state in the next one month, they said.

JNTU Hyderabad has already taken an initiative to promote the usage of free software in colleges and has stood by its word for transformation of the current OS to e-Swecha OS, they added.


The Economic Times

HP announced the launch of three models of the HP Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) products specially designed for the growing businesses.

The design and features of the models T1000V, T1500 and R3000v focus specifically on ease of use, manageability and reliability.

"HP's new power protection UPS products have a strong role to play in helping businesses better handle the challenges of power management", said Rajesh Dhar, Country Manager, Industry Standard Servers, HP India.

This new product line from HP, the world's leading technology company is geared to offer reliable power protection for businesses at affordable cost points.

The new products also build HP's portfolio in the Network Critical Physical Infrastructure domain.

The key featuers of the products include that on power-up the products have easy serviceability and zero downtime with hot swappable batteries performing extensive diagnostics.

It also ensures more efficient ''buck and boost'' voltage regulation that ensures consistent voltage to the load. The system allows for easy monitoring, management and automatic orderly shutdown capabilities for remote UPS-protected devices via any web browser.

Easy monitoring through front panel display and two standard communication options with a USB port and serial support connectivity are the other features.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Business Standard

Spotty Internet service continued to plague the Middle East as it began its work, with service providers rerouting data detoured by severed underwater cables.

Emirati provider Etisalat says service is at about 85 percent capacity yesterday -- the same as the previous day. The Abu Dhabi-based company has arranged to redirect some of its data traffic through South Asia, spokesman Saeed al-Badi says.

Dubai-based Emirates Integrated Telecommunications, better known as Du, said Saturday it was rerouting data and international voice traffic through Asia and the western United States. Officials could not immediately be reached yesterday.

Egypt's Communications Ministry, for its part, made a similar announcement Saturday that it was rerouting traffic through Indian Ocean cables after the main ones in the Mediterranean were cut.

After there was no connection for Friday and much of Saturday, Internet service was restored to Egypt at around 70 percent capacity by yesterday.

The Hindu Business Line

Besides academic qualifications and cutting-edge skills, one must possess qualities such as honesty and raw intelligence.

Companies do an acid test to check whether the candidate has the right attitude in the first place. Since the global economy is more connected than ever before, India is also feeling the slowdown pressures, with tightening job situation as an outcome.

“However, if one possesses all these qualities, companies would not hesitate to hire that person,” Muthukumar Ramalingam, Managing Director and CEO, Dextrasys, told the management students of Saranathan College of Engineering, Panjapur, Tiruchirapalli.

While hiring, companies check for three basic things before going into other aspects — test for integrity, test for intelligence and test for maturity. People with integrity are those who tell the truth, keep their word and take responsibility for their actions.

Intelligence means having a strong dose of intellectual curiosity. People who are mature are those who enjoy success with joy as well as humility.

“These are the key qualities expected to be seen in candidates,” Ramalingam said.

Delivering a guest lecture under the aegis of Business Line Club at the college, he said positive energy with ability to thrive on action, to energise team members, to make quick decisions and execute them, are also essential qualities companies look for in candidates.

“To top it all, one must have passion for work,” he said.


Prakash Bhandari, Jaipur
The Times of India

The special economic zone (SEZ) of Rajasthan Industrial Investment Corporation (RIICO) and the Mahindra World City, located at Kalwara village off Ajmer Road, about 17 km from Jaipur city, could emerge as the country's biggest single location SEZ in IT sector.

Currently Bangalore boasts of the biggest IT hub, located on 510 acres, spread over different locations of the garden city. But the Jaipur's IT SEZ would be located on a 750-acre plot, which will make it the biggest of its kind in the country.

"Eight players have already signed an agreement with us and Infosys, spread on an area of 200 acres, has completed the construction of one part of their block and the second is underway. German banking giant Deutsche Bank has built its building in an area of 16 lakh square feet. After Infosys, the second biggest would be Wipro, which plans construction on an 100-acre land. The construction would start next year. Similarly, Tech Mahindra, Nagaro Software, Conexxions and True Worth Infotech would also start constructing their premises by early next year. Altogether, construction activities would start on 343.45 acres of land in the SEZ and this would bring in an investment of Rs 765 crore. The projects are expected to give employment to 75,000 youths," said B K Subbaiah, chief operating officer of the joint venture company. RIICO, which is the investment arm of the state government, has 26% stake in this public-private initiative and Mahindra World City has a stake of 74%.

"Despite the fact that we (Mahindra) have bigger stake in the company, the chairman is Sunil Arora, who heads the board in the capacity as chairman of the RIICO," said BK Subbaiah.

Subbaiah said the company has signed a lease deed in September with ICICI Bank for 11.04 acres for establishing a data centre for Domestic Tarrif Area (DTA) in the SEZ. He said that 16 units of handicrafts and light engineering, including automotive and automotive component, would come in 71 acres of land that would attract an investment of Rs 325 crore and employ 4,000 people. Out of this eight would be handicraft units and the remaining light engineering projects.


The Hindu Business Line The Economic Times (Delhi edition) Business Standard

City-based IT services firm Hexaware Technologies has revamped its organisational structure and strengthened its management team by appointing new heads for its business units.

The mid tier software exporter will now focus on three distinct business units: banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), travel and transportation and emerging verticals.

The Emerging verticals unit will focus on seeding the manufacturing and healthcare domains and will also include existing non-BFSI and non-ravel and transportation under one roof for better management, according to a company press note.

Yogendra Shah who was overseeing the APAC geography for Hexaware will now head the travel and transportation vertical. The BFSI vertical will be headed by Deepak Rao, who joins Hexaware from Siemens Information Systems Ltd. Anirban Chakraborty who joins Hexaware from Tata Consultancy Services, will head the Emerging Markets vertical.

“The planned structure will facilitate aggressive account mining, enable us to define and penetrate target accounts better and provide greater value to our customers,” said P.R. Chandrasekar, CEO and Vice-Chairman, Hexaware.

R.V. Ramanan will continue to head the global delivery organisation, which will now be divided into three definite horizontals of business technology optimisation, enterprise resources planning and business intelligence and delivery centres.


Appaji Reddem, Hyderabad
The Economic Times (Hyderabad edition)

Even as chip maker SemIndia has shelved its plan to set up $3-billion chip manufacturing facility due to the ongoing credit crunch, four other chip makers are on course to export their products, according to government officials.

Four firms — Solar Semiconductor, XL Telecom Energy, KSK Energy and TF Solar — will export their products from next month, said BP Acharya, chairman and managing director of Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure (APIIC). The combined investment of these companies, housed in the Fab City, is over Rs 9,000 crore. Of this Solar Semiconductor is investing Rs 7,300 crore. The combined investment of the other three firms is over 1,800 crore.

APIIC had allotted land for the firms in the 150-acre Fab City on the outskirts of Hyderabad for setting up these units. Around 16 companies are investing in the Fab City. These firms have the machinery ready to manufacture solar photovoltaic cells and modules.

“The units of all the four companies have reached financial closure. Solar Semiconductor will start its exports from January and the other three will follow in the coming two months. By March, all the four will be up and running and exporting the products from Fab City,” said Acharya. Solar Semiconductor vice-president Ravi Surapaneni was unavailable for comment. Besides this, SemIndia, an integrated semi-conductor company, is set to start its assembly, testing, marking and packing (ATMP) facility in the second quarter of 2009.

But the company has shelved its proposed plan to set up $3-billion chip manufacturing facility due to lack of funds and technical expertise. Its ATMP facility, which was expected to come up by the end of 2008, is delayed by almost a year. SemIndia’s technological agreement with AMD expired late last year, making it tough for the company to enter into chip manufacturing.

Earlier Nanotech Silicon India, the first consortium to announce setting up a fab in the city, shelved its plan. Instead of an investment intensive fab, the consortium led by South Korean professional Jun Min decided to set up Rs 1,200 crore solar cell manufacturing facility in the city along with Jusung Engineering

Monday, December 22, 2008


Boston, December 22, 2008
Deccan Chronicle (Chennai edition)

Chances are the mobile phone tucked in your pocket, the lightweight laptop in your backpack, or the navigation system in your car are under a cloud.

That means much of your vital data is not just at your home, at the office or in your wallet, but can easily be accessed by hooking up to the huge memory of the Internet ‘cloud’ with portable devices.

“There’s a lot of buzz about this. Everybody wants to be connected to every thing everywhere,” said Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Corp.

Cloud computing for mobile devices is taking off with the expansion of highspeed wireless networks around the world.

“You’re in a car driving someplace. Not only do you want directions, you want weather reports. You want know what are the best hotels around, where are the restaurants,” DiDio said.

That kind of information is available in cars — and most other places — via mobile phones, “netbook” laptops hooked up to wireless air cards and even highend navigation systems.

The cloud has been around since the mid-1990s when Web pioneers such as Hotmail, Yahoo Inc and Inc started letting consumers manage communications, appointments and shopping via the Internet.

Expansion came after companies such as Google offered free programs similar to Microsoft’s Word and PowerPoint, using an ordinary PC hooked up to the Internet, or a wireless handheld computer, or phone such as Apple Inc’s iPhone.

Nowadays you can shoot a photo with your mobile phone and email it to a free photo-editing site.

The Internet cloud, which also stores photos, music and documents that could be lost if a mobile device or PC were damaged, also supports huge social networks such as Facebook and MySpace


Pradeep Sharma, Chandigarh, December 22, 2008
The Tribune

With information technology (IT) making inroads into every sphere of life, the traditional system of education is on its way out paving way for the integrated IT-enabled and innovative system of education.

“In fact, the chalk and talk system fails to address the inquisitiveness of today’s children brought up in a highly-digitalised audio-visual atmosphere. With that end in mind we have come up with the millennium learning system (MLS) to transform the teaching-learning process through the use of technology,” Shantanu Prakash, managing director, Educomp Solutions Limited, told The Tribune here today.

Parkash, who formally inaugurated Millennium School at Mohali today, said the new curriculum was aimed at implementing innovative models and delivering content to enhance student learning.

A graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Parkash currently has an employee base of over 4,500 in 39 locations in India, South East Asia and the USA. He is working with over 6-million learners worldwide. He is currently focussed on putting Educomp among the top 10-learning solution companies worldwide by 2010


Chennai/Bangalore, December 22, 2008
Business Standard

The science & technology sector in India has shown steady growth in-spite of the ongoing global recession and there are exciting opportunities ahead in the nanotechnology sector, said C N R Rao, Chairman of the Science Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister of India, while speaking at second edition of Bangalore Nano, a conclave for nanotechnology in Bangalore.

Detailing the nuances of this growth he said: “Even though science is not attractive monetarily, many youngsters have shown great interest in R&D. The future seems very exciting with large-scale applications waiting to happen especially in Nanotechnology. Nanotechnology has tremendous potential and I see lot of young people taking a keen interest in this field. In India, in spite of the economic slowdown, science & technology has done well and has shown steady growth. In the past year or so many positive developments have taken place in the nanotech field.”

He further advised students to beware of educational institutions offering Masters Degree in Nanotechnology. “Nanotech is still in a nascent stage and one cannot give a master’s degree in this,” he cautioned.


Malena K Amusa & Shantanu Nandan Sharma, December 21, 2008
The Economic Times

Despite the much-talked about slowdown in India, developers of special economic zones embrace an optimism and say it will become tangible if the government adopts a series of incentives to save the future of these pockets of prosperity.

SEZs, which were originally conceived by the earlier BJP regime, are championed by the ruling UPA government as a dream policy to spur Indian exports and achieve inclusive growth through generation of employment.

Now, L B Singhal, director of the government council to promote such zones, bustles from meeting to meeting to figure out how India’s special economic zones will outsmart the global financial climate that has scared off zone investors and reduced demand on factory products. Pressure has been mounted on commerce minister Kamal Nath and his department secretary G K Pillai to offer a package to bail out SEZ investors.

But this has not been without a turn of events. The very SEZ companies that saw soaring sales abroad are now turning home and wanting to sell products in domestic markets while enjoying the same incentives. That way, zones can “continue to have their factories running” and maintain “the present level of employment,” says Singhal, DG of Export Promotion Council for EoUs (export-oriented units) and SEZs.

The bigger question, however, is whether the government will be able to offer more incentives such as reducing income tax on profits made from domestic sales, refunding the service tax to SEZs, or terming these zones as infrastructure developments, thereby facilitating cheaper credit. Already, the ministry of finance has been up in arms against tax loss due to SEZs, which is estimated at Rs 100,000 crore for four years, beginning 2006-07.

What’s more, a section of the BJP has vehemently protested the present format of SEZ, and there are chances that if the party comes to power, it may change the SEZ Act itself. Former finance minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha calls for changes in the concept itself rather than showering more incentives. “Many non-genuine investors and land sharks will now exit SEZs, blaming the economic downturn.

According to reports, some cash-strapped real estate companies, including DLF, which have already got clearances for IT-ITeS SEZs are now looking for an exit route. During the Goa SEZ fiasco, the commerce ministry officials came out on record several times that there was no way a company could de-notify a notified SEZ.

SEZ head of GMR-Infra SGK Kishore likes to differentiate the zones into two broad categories. “The slowdown will be felt more on small IT/ITeS zones, most of which are product specific. They may fold it up if they fail to get clients.

But for large SEZs of over 2,500 acres of land, developing the land itself will take quite sometime. We are expecting that the government will give more incentives to the SEZs, and will make more credit available by classifying these as infrastructure zones. By the time, these zones are developed, the economy will be in a recovery phase,” he explains


Shimoga (Karnataka), December 22, 2008
The Hindu

Development of a land bank of 1,000 acres with infrastructure facilities for setting up of industries is being mooted in the district. The Department of Industries is looking out for the land for the purpose in response to the enquiries from potential investors who have expressed a desire to set up their industrial units in the district.

Meanwhile it is proposed to allot two acres of land for the establishment of the Software Technology Park in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) being developed adjacent to the Machenahalli Industrial Estate on the Shimoga-Bhadravati Road on a forty-one acre land.

Earlier, it was proposed to set up the Software Technology Park behind the Jawaharlal Nehru National College of Engineering on the Sowlanga Road here and a five-acre land was also identified for it.

The incubation centre which was planned to be set up at the Software Technology Park started functioning temporarily for some time in the engineering college itself but could not sustain for long for want of patronage from the potential users.

Subsequently, the venue of the proposed Software Technology Park was planned to be shifted to the SEZ as it was found more to be more suitable.

It may be recalled that the Director of the Software Technology Park of India Rajalakshmi who was here recently held discussions with the local entrepreneurs and officers of the departments concerned to seek the allotment of at least five acres of land at the SEZ for the establishment of the Software Technology Park


Rachana Khanzode, December 22, 2008
The Financial Express

The impact of global economic slowdown is not limited to large IT companies but mid-caps are feeling the heat too. Industry veterans are getting ready to face the challenge. Arvind Thakur, the chief executive officer of NIIT Technologies is one among them. Being a part of NIIT since its inception, Thakur is responsible for the software and key organisational functions of the company. A graduate from IIT Kharagpur and postgraduate (industrial engineering) from NITIE, Bombay, Thakur feels that non-linear growth is expected to push the industry to a large extent. He is implementing it at NIIT too. In a recent chat, he also points out that India makes a big market and an opportunity for the industry to tap into.


How has the current economic slowdown impacted the mid-size services companies?

Mid-size services companies have not been materially impacted. The results of the quarter ended September 30, 2008 indicate that most companies have shown healthy sequential growth. NIIT Technologies grew 5% sequentially in the last quarter. The economy is currently experiencing its worst financial crisis and each industry will have its own challenges. The real issue with the current meltdown is the liquidity crunch.

Fortunately, IT services companies generate cash surpluses and are hence comfortable in riding the storm.

Will non-linear growth become a strategy for the mid-caps and do we see its adoption at NIIT?

The competitive landscape requires the industry to transform its business model. Low cost services will need to give way to value added models where growth in revenues do not imply proportionate growth in headcount. Such businesses are non-linear and they become even more relevant in the current context as revenues will grow with reduced people costs.

NIIT Technologies has been an early mover in this direction. Our foray into managed services and IP-asset based services are the cornerstone of our non-linear strategy. Already a significant portion of our revenues are derived from such businesses. We see a huge opportunity in the non-linear business in the area of remote infrastructure management and at NIIT, we are clearly focused on it. According to Nasscom, the area of remote managed services is about $70-$80 billion and less than 3% has been captured at the moment. Last year, 20% of global revenues accrued from such businesses. We set a goal to increase it to 25% in this financial year and hope to increase it to 40% over the next three years.

Recently we unveiled ‘IPF3,’ our insurance process framework, for the commercial insurance industry.

Earlier this year, we acquired German-based Softec to create IP-asset based solutions for the airline industry. These are affirmative initiatives to support our non-linear strategy.

How does this impact your hiring patterns?

We want to reduce our dependence on headcounts by at least 22-25%. At the same time, we have improved our employee utilisation from 77% in the last quarter to 83% in this quarter. We recently launched our software-as-a-service model and our pay-per-use model will help us generate revenues without depending on the headcounts.

Financial services industry is now impacted in Europe too. Was NIIT associated with any of the banks and what has been the impact on the company?

Our focus on BFSI is mainly in the insurance sector. In that aspect, the current scenario in the BFSI vertical in European markets has not impacted us.

Will India play a bigger role in making up for business especially for mid-caps? Do we see India adding more revenues to NIIT?

The Indian IT services and ITeS market has been growing at a CAGR of 25-30% over the past 3-4 years. IDC predicts that the domestic market will touch $50 billion by 2011-12. India Inc is witnessing a growth spurt in the areas of IT adoption and enterprise IT infrastructure. NIIT Technologies has always had a strong presence in the domestic market. About 10% of NIIT Technologies’ revenues are derived from this market. We are sharply focused in the government sector for IT transformation and specialised GIS (geographical information systems) solutions. In the corporate sector, we are largely focused on manufacturing and retail industries where we have delivered enterprise services including package solutions and infrastructure management devices. Even in these trying times, the economy is predicted to grow at a robust clip of 7% becoming the focus of many companies. Innovative solutions will evolve for this market like our recently launched SaaS (software-as-a-service) business.


New Delhi, December 22, 2008
The Hindu Business Line

The Government has received application from Bhaskar Silicon to set up a PV project that would encompass polysilicon, silicon wafers, cells and modules, at a proposed investment of Rs 5,900 crore.

This takes the total number of proposals received by the Centre under Special Incentive Package Scheme to 17, sources said.

“Bhaskar Silicon filed its application in mid-November,” they pointed out. Company officials could not be reached for comments.

Meanwhile, the sources said the IT Ministry had not yet heard from Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) on any change of business plans pertaining to its proposed semiconductor and PV projects.

The Government has received a number of proposals from corporate giants such as Videocon Industries for incentives under Special Incentive Package Scheme notified last year to encourage investments for semiconductor fabs and eco-system units.

Under SIPS, the Centre would provide incentive of 20 percent capital expenditure during the first 10 years for the units in SEZs, and 25 percent of the capital expenditure in non-SEZ units. Any unit can claim incentives in the form of capital subsidy or equity participation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


The Economic Times

A probe by security experts has revealed that cyber criminals tend to work up a fortune by selling stolen Facebook profiles for an amount as low as 89p.

According to Trend Micro specialists, hackers break into social networking accounts to steal personal information of users to sell them off to criminal groups who then use the details to send "spam" messages to million others.

The wrongdoers tend to send an invitation to account holders to view videos or pictures of family and friends, which on being clicked allow access to the victims' computer, reports the Sun.

The computer is then infected with spyware to obtain a copy of their keystrokes the acquisition of which can allow access to secret information, such as passwords, bank details, and other personal fields.

While Internet banking logons cost 35 pounds each, a million international email addresses for spamming purposes can be traded for just four pounds.

The company's Rik Ferguson said: "We give away a huge amount of personal information on social networking sites. Hordes of cyber criminals are drawn to them.