“Our aim is to stay ahead of the dig­i­tal curve”

Ashish Dass, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor and Vice Pres­i­dent of the South Asian Sub­con­ti­nent at In­for in con­ver­sa­tion with DQ Chan­nels talks about In­dia op­er­a­tions and ver­ti­cal fo­cus of the com­pany

DQ Channels - - Channel pulse - ANUSHRUTI SINGH anushrutis@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

ASHISH DASS Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor & VP, South Asian Sub­con­ti­nent, In­for

HOW DO YOU LOOK UPON IN­DIA AS A MAR­KET IN TERMS OF BUSI­NESS?

In­for to­day stands as the 3rd largest soft­ware man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany in the world in the en­ter­prise ap­pli­ca­tion space. The In­dian busi­ness sce­nario is de­vel­op­ing at a fast clip as busi­nesses and govern­ment in­creas­ingly look to trans­form in or­der to align with the new com­plex­i­ties of the dig­i­tal en­vi­ron­ment. This has made In­dia a strate­gic mar­ket.

We pre­vi­ously op­er­ated in three spe­cific re­gions, i.e. APAC, Europe and North Amer­ica. The de­vel­op­ments in the In­dian mar­ket has led to a sep­a­rate fo­cus and hence, we have clubbed three grow­ing economies and named it as IMEA- In­dia, Mid­dle East and Africa. That has be­come the 4th chap­ter from a re­gional stand­point.

In­for is well poised to not only en­able the dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion that In­dia is wit­ness­ing but also cat­alyze com­pet­i­tive­ness to stay ahead of the dig­i­tal curve. We are also bet­ting on big data, an­a­lyt­ics, cloud, mo­bile, and so­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion which we see as huge trends to watch out for in the area of ERP. In In­dia, we are aim­ing to triple the rev­enue in three years’ time.

The In­for Part­ner Net­work has also been in­stru­men­tal in grow­ing the In­dia busi­ness, hav­ing re­cruited seven new part­ners in FY 17, and we are dou­bling down this num­ber in FY18. To date, part­ners in In­dia con­trib­ute around 30% to the chan­nel busi­ness and 50% of ser­vices are de­liv­ered by sys­tem in­te­gra­tors who have spe­cial­ized knowl­edge and skills in In­for So­lu­tions.

HOW ARE YOU REACH­ING OUT TO THE CUS­TOMERS?

In­for caters to a very niche mar­ket with fo­cus on last mile func­tion­al­ity to dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cals. We un­der­stand the im­por­tance of scal­a­bil­ity, and the need for or­ga­ni­za­tions to have mod­ern soft­ware sys­tems that are able to sup­port them as they grow, change, and evolve in com­plex busi­ness en­vi­ron­ments. Mainly we have di­vided our strate­gies into three buck­ets.

Ac­cord­ing to our ver­ti­cal strat­egy, we have iden­ti­fied the in­dus­tries that are rapidly grow­ing where the govern­ment is in­vest­ing money. We did an ex­er­cise where we met with our part­ners and cus­tomers in tier-2 cities such as Pune, Au­rangabad and Nasik and re­al­ized that the ma­jor govern­ment in­vest­ments are in 49 tier-2 cities. This re­in­forced the di­rec­tion of our thought process. Ad­di­tion­ally, we have also hired

peo­ple to boost sales across the coun­try.

The sec­ond bucket is the cross func­tional strat­egy, where we put very strong prod­ucts which go across in­dus­tries. The third bucket is the cloud bucket which is the tech­nol­ogy bucket, where we pro­vide in­fra­struc­ture ac­cord­ing to the cus­tomer needs.

As a part of our over­all strat­egy, we are iden­ti­fy­ing the mar­kets and then tar­get­ing dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cals with a mix of so­lu­tions. To achieve our tar­gets, we have di­rect as well as chan­nel ap­proach. With the adop­tion of the 3 bucket strat­egy, the growth has es­ca­lated to more than 60% in just one year. We will con­tinue to work on these three strate­gies with a key fo­cus on right ex­e­cu­tion at the right time.

WHAT ARE THE VER­TI­CALS WHERE IN­FOR IS FO­CUS­ING ON?

In­for of­fers pur­pose-built, in­dus­try-spe­cific suite of so­lu­tions de­signed to ad­dress the dis­tinct chal­lenges of our cus­tomers. In­for has 700+ cus­tomers in In­dia com­pris­ing of busi­nesses rang­ing from large con­glom­er­ates to emerg­ing com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Fu­ture Group, MyEco En­ergy and Dixcy Tex­tiles. We have a very strong hold in Tex­tile and auto an­cil­lary ver­ti­cal. Ma­jor play­ers like Fer­rari and Boe­ing have been us­ing In­for so­lu­tions glob­ally for years, whereas in In­dia, Maruti and Honda have been us­ing In­for so­lu­tions. We have an equally firm grip in the FMCG space. Re­tail gi­ant Big Bazaar has been us­ing our sup­ply chain ex­e­cu­tion so­lu­tion i.e. Hu­man Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment (HCM) for 50,000 em­ploy­ees. Even though we have dis­trib­uted the ver­ti­cals into 5 or 6 buck­ets, there are about 25 sets of ver­ti­cals which we are fo­cus­ing on, like sup­ply chain and lo­gis­tics etc.

TELL US MORE ABOUT CEN­TRE OF EX­CEL­LENCE, WHAT’S THE UP­DATE?

One of our CoE is in Hy­der­abad which acts as global de­liv­ery Cen­tre. It drives R&D for 10 core prod­ucts and pro­vides ser­vices for about 30 In­for prod­ucts to some of our big­gest cus­tomers in­clud­ing Boe­ing, Fer­rari, ABRL and L&T. Ap­prox­i­mately 2,500 peo­ple are work­ing in this CoE on so­lu­tion build­ing and tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion. They are re­spon­si­ble for in­no­vat­ing and im­ple­ment­ing the soft­ware and it also acts as a con­sult­ing arm un­der In­for Con­sult­ing Ser­vices (ICS).

Apart from this, the other large CoEs are in Manila which has 2,000 peo­ple work­ing and Prague, which pro­vides de­vel­op­ment ca­pac­ity for key In­for tech­nolo­gies in­clud­ing In­for ION. It in­te­grates mid­dle­ware, en­abling easy in­te­gra­tion with both In­for and third-party soft­ware ap­pli­ca­tions; In­for Ming.le a cen­tral­ized workspace for col­lab­o­ra­tion, busi­ness process im­prove­ment, and con­tex­tual an­a­lyt­ics in a beau­ti­ful user in­ter­face, and mo­bile busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions. Be­sides that, the cen­ter also pro­vides in­ter­na­tional sup­port ser­vices for In­for LN (ERP) and hos­pi­tal­ity ap­pli­ca­tions.

WHAT ARE THE RE­CENT DE­VEL­OP­MENTS IN IN­FOR LAST YEAR?

We keep in­vent­ing new so­lu­tions. Ow­ing to our large amounts of data, we are now lever­ag­ing ma­chine learn­ing to as­sist users with less struc­tured pro­cesses such as com­plex de­ci­sions, con­ver­sa­tions, and pre­dic­tions. We have just ac­quired Birst, which is a lead­ing busi­ness in­tel­li­gence plat­form. Fur­ther­more, we have also re­leased Cole­man. an en­ter­prise-grade, in­dus­try-spe­cific ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence plat­form. Much like In­for CloudSuite marked the first in­dus­try-spe­cific ERP suites in the cloud, the in­tro­duc­tion of pow­er­ful AI into busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions through In­for Cole­man marks an­other mile­stone achieve­ment in the evo­lu­tion of en­ter­prise soft­ware. Cole­man was named in honor of Kather­ine Cole­man John­son, a physi­cist and math­e­ma­ti­cian whose crit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions helped man reach the moon. Her story was re­cently de­picted in the 2016 film Hid­den Fig­ures.

Ashish Dass, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor and Vice Pres­i­dent of the South Asian Sub­con­ti­nent at In­for

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