Tag Archives: Social Technologies

IT Report Card to the NDA Government – Evaluating the Union Budget 2014-15 #Press #Media #Firstpost

As a follow-up to our previous blog where Greyhound Research highlighted pain points IT decision makers are facing in India, below is an IT report card for the NDA Government post the announcements in Union Budget 2014-15. This report card assesses various schemes and initiatives announced by the new government and the expected outcomes for the IT sector.

While a can of worms might be in the offing when the government rolls out more details, the budget announcement has only marginally uplifted sentiments in the technology sector. With a mixed bag of hits and misses and little definitive guidance, IT buyers and providers are still left shooting in the dark. Does this ring worry bells for the sector? Read on.

• The NDA Government has failed to address long pending issues hurting CIOs. In a recent blog Greyhound Research highlighted issues that have long troubled IT buyers. These issues had failed to garner attention from the UPA Government in the previous budget as well. Greyhound Research was expecting these to be addressed this time around, however little has been done by the NDA government. This has been explained in detail in the report card below.


• The budget did not offer clarity on announcements from previous year. The need for accountability, transparency and effective governance are key reasons why the NDA Government came to power with clear majority. But the announcements made in the Union Budget 2014-15 did little to clarify the government’s stand, vision and next steps on the announcements made in the previous budget by the UPA government. Greyhound Research highlighted some of these in a blog last year where we raised serious concerns on the effectiveness and outcomes from some of these policies. For more details on how the NDA Government tackled each of these announcements, refer to the report card below.


• Union Budget 2014-15 – definitive opportunities for IT vendors, but big on guidance and low on details. While the NDA Government has done well to offer broad details on some of the key programs it wishes to pursue during its tenure, very few details have been offered. Clearly, a lot of critical announcements made in the budget have been aspirational in nature with very little or no real outcomes in the near future. Having said that, the new Finance Minister has surely understood the need to bring the Indian economy back to a double-digit growth figure and focus on sectors like Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Insurance, Real Estate and Defence. While Greyhound Research expects these initiatives to create fresh demand for IT, not all initiatives will benefit IT vendors equally. The report card below highlights some of the key announcements and the resultant outcome for IT vendors.


The author is the chief analyst and CEO of Greyhound Research, an independent IT & Telecom Research & Advisory firm. He is a recognised IT analyst, consultant and advisor who is known for his passion for emerging markets and technologies.

Source: Firstpost

A CIO’s metamorphosis from IT enabler to strategic business leader #Press #Media #FirstBiz

While the CFO has the liberty to look into matters only concerning finance and the CMO can concentrate on marketing, the CIO has, of late, lost the liberty to focus on matters concerning only IT. The lines have blurred and walls that existed before have been brought down. The steady progress to digital in all business organisations and even government is adding to this increasing complexity. While this can bog down CIOs with undue pressure and responsibilities, it is also a good time for CIOs to rise and really prove they are worth their salt in the organisation – not just as managers handling back-end, mundane IT functions but as true leaders who make a significant contribution to how the business works and flourishes.

Cost cutting is not our sole responsibility, say CIOs

Are CIOs themselves to blame for the ‘cost-cutter’ tag getting attached to their role? Vijay Sethi, CIO and Vice President IS & HR, Hero MotoCorp Limited firmly believes so. Nagaraj G N, Global Head – Service Delivery – 3i Infotech explains the deeper reason behind this. “Enterprises in India have been through a tough time. Policy paralysis, high inflation and general lack of confidence in the political leadership and the bleak investment climate have forced many enterprises to critically look at the bottom line. In a positively charged environment, enterprises will look to making fresh investments on solutions that create a mean and lean outfit. With too much pessimism in the environment, enterprises looked at curtailing all expenditure with some enterprises resorting to cutting flesh. In such a scenario all cost centres came under severe scrutiny and inspection,” he says.

He points out that most enterprises are technology supported and not technology enabled and there is very little deep understanding of enterprise technology and how it can shape business. In such a paradigm, IT teams become yet another cost centre and the CIO’s only claim to fame would be around cost cutting initiatives and negotiation skills with vendors.

It is entirely up to CIOs themselves to take advantage of external factors such as change in political leadership and to capitalise on their cost saving initiatives and wrap it in a layer of innovation to increase the scale of business through technology-driven and technology-enabled initiatives. “CIOs have the opportunity, the potential and the capability of execution to change market dynamics by paving the way for new age products and solutions , especially in the mobility, cloud and social domains, some of which will find definition in the need expressed by the CIOs. This will also be an exciting time for start-up ventures who will take the lead and the risk in creating these products and solutions,” predicts Nagaraj.

Clearly, the CIO mindset has transformed to a more business case led approach with a focus on adding innovation to line of business. And talking about an important step towards achieving that, Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and CEO, Greyhound Research, says, “It is absolutely important that a CIO aligns his goals and works in sync with the CFO and the CMO to add to the line of business.”

A small step to better communication goes a long way

This need for increased communication between CIOs and other C-level peers can work in the CIO’s favour if he or she initiates this exchange of ideas and lets the business know what they can bring to the table. Satish Pendse, President of Highbar Technologies, explains, “Interactions with other C-level executives should never be perceived as ‘problems.’ Rather, they are great opportunities to drive the IT agenda across the organisation. IT initiatives are transformational in nature. Every such initiative needs to be marketed internally and needs to be embraced by multiple stakeholders, in addition to IT. Interactions with CMO, CFO and CEO are opportunities from this perspective. Once these executives buy into any IT initiatives, chances of success increase manifold.”

Other than effective communication, CIOs need to understand that in the end IT projects are not just their own but are done for other functions and the organisation as a whole. “It is important that other C-suite managers also own the initiative. For this to happen, the CIO has to be a trusted partner for them and the fact is trust needs to be earned – by delivery, by conduct and by knowledge,” Sethi explains.

Nagaraj brings up an aspect that is often left unsaid. He says that there is a factor of competition amongst all CXOs and tackling this needs a different kind of management strategy and manoeuvring skills. Having said that, he clarifies, “The problem, challenge and opportunity for each CXO are the same. Some believe that the world of technology being niche, the CIO is at a disadvantage as other CXOs do not appreciate technology while they do grasp the strategy and the intent aligned to common goals and objectives. I feel that is an invalid or rather irrational belief. The world of finance, investment and operations sometimes has those niche areas that are distant from the grasp of CXOs from different fields. I believe all CXOs operate on a level playing field with respect to opportunities and challenges. The individual just needs to prove his mettle on strategy, execution, foresight and on the ability to sell.”

Manish Bahl, Vice President & Country Manager India for Forrester Research suggests some very practical tips for CIOs who are wondering how to take that first step towards effective communication. “CIOs need to reach across the walls of the IT organisation to engage with the CMO and other business leaders. As a first step, the CIO should meet business leaders weekly to devise and discuss a technology strategy for the business. Come to these discussions wearing your business hat to build a connection with business leaders. For instance, talk about delivering a consistent customer experience to drive business growth for your firm – a process that technology may only enter at a later stage,” he says.

“If CIOs don’t do that, business will find its own ways to leverage technology leaving CIOs behind. For instance, Indian CMOs are building their own technology agenda to serve digitally empowered customers and increasing their tech budget,” he warns.

New and emerging threats to the CIO role

Adding to Bahl’s views on CIOs being left behind, Gogia feels that the threats to the CIO role are increasing, and hence the need for evolution of CIOs themselves and their teams. “In today’s times, CIOs cannot be mere providers of storage, apps or other pieces in IT, but instead they need to think and act like internal services organisations that are measured on outcomes by LoB heads. In essence, the CIO and his team must move away from the simple act of technology provision to that of services orchestration. The CIO needs to act as an internal service provider rather than being one of the ‘server hugging’ roles. He must enable his team to implement technology that supports newer initiatives on Cloud, Big Data, Mobility and social technologies. A CIO must understand how a CFO and a CMO functions. His knowledge about the working of the two roles needs to be foolproof to help in maximising profits,” says Gogia.

The fact is that quantum of IT investments has gone up. Explaining a very realistic situation, Pendse says that in a few businesses it is even as high as 6-10 percent of turnover, thus attracting the CFO and making him consider personally monitoring the same by taking IT investment matters in his or her own hands. With the dawn of the age of the customer, CMOs expect IT-driven innovation in acquiring and retaining customers, building brands, etc. They expect utmost agility from IT people and expect them to be aware of business challenges to such an extent that the IT team should be able to give the CMO proactive and agile support in beating marketing challenges in the marketplace.

“If CIOs address these changed expectations with the same old mindset, then it will no longer be tolerated by CMOs, CEOs, CFOs and the like. Bureaucracy expected by the IT functions in general may no longer go well with the C-level executives now. An overemphasis on security / policies / processes, coming in the way of IT-driven business innovations may now sound like a draconian thought to business leaders. The ‘overly safe’ approach of some CIOs may no longer go well with the business; they expect quick decisions, readiness to experiment and a fail-fast approach,” says Pendse.

The way IT works also needs to the re-thought. “Turnaround time expected is in terms of days and weeks; no longer months and years. Doing everything in-house may now be seen as non-agile. The way to address the said job threat is to adopt and drive these and such other cultural changes proactively and immediately. The comfort with a CIO in the minds of business leaders should be so high that the thought of entering into his role fully or partially should not even cross their minds,” advises Pendse.

Sethi shares some golden rules for CIOs to live by to ward of any threat from other C-level peers poaching into the CIO role. He says, “Help improve compliance levels in all aspects of working of the organisation, help improve environment and help the organisation in discharging its social obligations and build an IT organisation that is contemporary in its skills, approach, thinking and actions and is agile and has policies and processes that are customer-centric.”

Are you getting through to the big guy?

All said and done, in the end, it’s the CEO’s blessings that CIOs needs to have on their side for all IT initiatives, big and small. Both Sethi and Nagaraj feel that with mobility, social and cloud computing becoming the order of the day, CEOs are quite tech savvy. But unfortunately, says Nagaraj, CEOs do not understand beyond the cosmetic layer of the technology usage value proposition. They are aware of the risks in adoption of these technologies. So, if the CIO can roll out business initiatives enabled by the cloud, riding the wave of mobility and integrating into the social fabric of their customers and leverage it to gain a competitive edge in the market place, it can really help the CEO view the CIO as a very able member at the round table.

Pendse shares some great advice for building up the CIO-CEO rapport. “CIO needs to be seen more with the CEO and other C-level executives. Ideally he should be seen outside of his own department for more than 50 percent of the time. He and his key members should get a full understanding of the business domain, its challenges and opportunities, key priorities, the five-year business strategic plan, competitive scenario, etc. He should make himself a part of strategic business discussions with C-level executives. At the same time the CIO should keep educating the CEO and other C-level executives in various aspects of IT and futuristic IT developments. He should become the conduit for the CEO to get to know current and future IT, especially all that is relevant to the business of the organisation.”

There is no doubt that the CIO’s role has undergone a sea change in the recent past and is susceptible to even more transformation with disruptions affecting the technology domain at such a mind boggling pace. But, the onus lies entirely on the CIO to mould and adapt on demand and emerge as a true leader, guiding the organisation to newer heights.

Source: Firstbiz

The Social CIO #Press #Media

Enterprise technology decision makers are increasingly leveraging social network and technologies to foster growth in their organisations.

Social technologies are playing a major role in fostering growth among organisations and enterprise technology decision makers are leveraging social networks in numerous innovative ways. There are some key verticals like BFSI, telecom, retail and hospitality which is using social technologies to reach out to their customers. Interacting with the customers on a regular basis allows enterprises to know their requirements and this helps in coming up with offers or products that are liked by the customers.

According to Atul Nigam, CIO, Micromax India, “Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkden allows us to reach our customers and get to know what are their requirements. CIOs can play a major role in providing apt business analytics to identify a specific trend and that helps in coming up with offers/promotions which customers can relate to. Our company has seen tremendous growth in the last five to six years and for us to sustain this growth rate, we need to know our customers better and social technologies plays an integral role in identifying this.”

Enterprise technology decision makers are leveraging social technologies to provide analytical insights about consumers. This in turn is helping enterprises to be more customer-friendly and focussed in their approach.

According to Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and CEO, Greyhound Research, IT organizations are struggling to deal with the invasion of multiple consumer-driven social technologies inside corporate firewalls. Employees continue to use these tools — with or without IT’s knowledge and approval — to help them improve their performance and do their work more efficiently. Employee adoption is catalysing many companies in Asia Pacific to proactively use (or at least plan to use) social tools as part of their IT setup, giving users the choice to adopt new tools to improve productivity and hence improve employee satisfaction.

CIOs across verticals agree that social analytics can play a key role in enhancing customer experience.

According to KK Chaudhary, CIO, Lanco Infratech, “I vouch for social analytics and I have witnessed many of my peers helping out their marketing team in getting to know different aspects of customer behaviour. Although, we are into power and do not need to interact with our customers via social medium, but I feel there are many verticals where one needs to interact directly to the customers and social technologies helps a lot of achieving this feat. At Lanco, we use internal social tool which helps in connecting with the employees and also makes them updated with the new developments in the organisation.”

Source: CIO & Leader

Cognizant Q1 profit up 23% to $349m #Press #Media

Increased spending by clients in North America and Europe helped software solutions provider Cognizant Technology Solutions meet its first quarter revenue target of $2.42 billion, an increase of 19.9 per cent compared with the quarter ended March 31, 2013. Its profits grew 22.8 per cent to $348.87 million.

An uptick in business from financial services and healthcare firms in the US and European markets helped Cognizant keep up its growth momentum. North American clients have raised their IT spends by 16.1 per cent year-on-year, according to a press release.

The New Jersey-headquartered company services large US corporations such as JPMorgan Chase, insurance firms The Hartford, and healthcare services company Cigna.

Cognizant recruited 7,200 during the January-March 2014 period, taking the total to 1,78,600. “Strong ramp up in hiring during the quarter positions us to service the healthy demand environment that we anticipate this year,” said Karen McLoughlin, Chief Financial Officer, in a press statement.

Q2 revenue forecast 

It also reaffirmed its annual revenue prediction of $10.3 billion, a 16.5 per cent increase over fiscal 2013. For the second quarter of this fiscal, revenue expectations are around $2.53 billion.

Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst & CEO, Greyhound Research, said Cognizant’s entry into the digital technology space was early compared to its peers, helping it consolidate its position in the market. Efforts in building a strong second tier of management have also bolstered the company’s image among clients.

The Indian market, though a small portion in revenue terms compared with 84 per cent taken by the US and Europe, offers unique opportunities, said Venu Reddy, Director, IDC India.

“The potential for cloud and mobility solutions are quite good; now that the elections almost over, the market is turning from cost-control to chasing business values.”

With any Western client, Cognizant manages only 25-30 per cent of the processes through an employee stationed at the client location, while the rest are executed at its eight delivery centres across the country.

The company employs 1.3 lakh people in India, who handle a diverse set of operations from outsourced business processes to running critical applications on the cloud.

Source: Hindu BusinessLine

Catch Greyhound Research as a Knowledge Partner at CIO Leadership Retreat 2014 #Event #Media #Press #CIO #CLRIndia

What is the event all about? 

Today’s most advanced and complicated IT technology landscape poses unprecedented challenges and needless to say that an isolated approach never can address these challenges. This is only possible with a strong, mutually understood IT partnership, which not only addresses the challenges but also provide an in-depth view of upcoming obstacles. The 2014 edition of CIO Leadership Retreat (CLR) unveils unique insights on the role IT Leadership and IT partnerships that are poised to pave success in a new business climate that warrants organizations to aim for higher operational efficiency and better customer responsiveness.

Increasing expectations from customers, emergence of advanced technologies, demand for higher operational efficiency, higher RoI etc have forced CIOs today to review their strategies and to look for effective result oriented IT partnerships. 2014 edition of CLR is an opportunity for you to discuss with experts on how to streamline your IT operations and make them agile and responsive to your client needs. You will also learn about the Power of Partnership and how to identify the right partner.

Primarily focused on Power of IT Partnership, CLR 2014 will address these four key areas:

  • Addressing business expectations with operational efficiency
  • Identifying right IT partner for tomorrow
  • SMAC for a dynamic future
  • Is cost optimazion enough for your business growth?

Greyhound Research is proud to associate with the forum as a Knowledge Partner and our Chief Analyst & CEO, Sanchit Vir Gogia, will be a delivering a keynote and leading a panel discussion at the event which will have industry stalwarts to join and learn from each others’ experiences. Sanchit will share his rich expertise and perspective on the rise of emerging technologies and its future in enterprises. Backed up by solid user case studies, Sanchit will be sharing best practices for organizations looking at using external partners to launch strategic IT projects.

Have a question?

To read our latest thought leadership, check out our latest blogs. Click here.

Catch our media mentions in some of the world’s best publications. Click here.

Have more questions? Tweet to us – @s_v_g@Greyhound_R or email us on connect@greyhoundgroup.com and we’ll get the conversation brewing! Don’t forget to add #CLRIndia if you are tweeting to us!

When & Where?

14th and 15th February 2014 at Lonavala, India.

Source: CIO Leadership Retreat

Hard year for software firms #Press #Media #Software #IT

As Indian software exporters hobbled through most of 2013, they are pinning their hopes on pent up outsourcing growth in 2014. However, economic climate in developed countries continue to be volatile and the overhang of H-1B visa regulations will continue to haunt the business model of Indian IT firms.

A bit of interesting news give a much needed hope for the $75 billion worth of software exports. In November, around the Thanksgiving holiday period, consumer spending in the month rose maximum to 0.5 per cent when compared to the preceding five months from 0.4 per cent, according to US Commerce Department data. While the numbers are small, it signals early signs of improved sentiments amongst consumers wanting to spend on clothing, devices and other things. Also, earlier this month, the US Federal Reserve tapered off its $85 billion a month of bond buying programmes on the grounds of strengthening its labour market for a solid US economy.

There is some amount of bullishness amongst all IT majors who in the September ended results have pointed out a possibility of uptick in outsourcing. According to Anuj Mathur, CEO of Q3 Technologies, a number of prospective clients we have recently spoken to have pushed outsourcing decisions to next year and have indicated a strong possibility of starting major new initiatives. Compared to the last quarter of 2012, business sentiment is significantly improved, currency levels are more favourable and the outlook stable, he added. The currency volatility has helped Indian outsourcers considerably (depreciating in the range of 10-12 per cent) at a time when big-sized deals have almost dried up.


But in the post-2008 era, it is getting harder to predict a sure-shot method which will work for these companies. “Tier I Indian vendors have had limited success in providing higher value-add services,” says Peter Schumacher, CEO, Value Leadership Group. Offering business services that are valued beyond cost and aligning processes with their objectives is the biggest challenge vendors face, he adds.

While outsourcers are grappling with this, the technology storm shows no sign of abating. “The pace of technological change is blistering and this is rubbing off on business models of Indian outsourcers,” says Pradeep Mukherji, President and Managing Partner, Avasant APAC and Africa. The erstwhile business model of getting projects and putting requisite people on it may not be applicable all the time as companies in developed markets – which contribute almost 70 per cent of exporters’ revenues – want to see how the business benefits from technology. Many industries will face intense challenges in 2014 and beyond, and will have no choice but to radically change their established business models, according to Kimberly Harris-Ferrante, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. The business model of getting projects and charging by the hour will be passé. However, it still continues to draw revenues in the range of 55-60 per cent of the total export revenues, which needs to change according to industry watchers.

To be fair, companies have realised this and are taking some steps. Notably, in 2013, companies embraced the concept of IT automation, which does not require engineers to repeatedly write codes. Examples of this can be seen in Wipro’s partnerships with Tele2, a Swedish company, amongst others. Cross-town rival Infosys has partnered with IPSoft and Asia’s largest IT exporter TCS counts TeliaSonera, another Swedish company as its partner to roll out automated solutions for BFSI, telecommunications, manufacturing and retail sectors. Cognizant has partnered with companies such as the Evogi Group. Accenture, in a recent report, points out how IT automation works. The engines on Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner aircraft are designed to automatically share engine status, help service teams in maintenance, reduce costs and increase its lifespan, according to Boeing executives. Coupled with predictive-paralytics technology, the performance data helps optimise aircraft maintenance and flight operations, anticipating the need for parts replacement, which in a normal scenario is a long drawn out process.

Deloitte pegs this market at around $4.5 trillion and according to Sanchit Vir Gogia, analyst at Greyhound Research the potential to reduce human intervention in rapidly changing business climate is compelling. However, this, in turn, will have an impact on hiring in the future as companies may not need plain vanilla engineers, armed with skill sets such as Java or other coding languages. This is reflected in the fact that apart from TCS, which plans to hire 25,000 employees in the next fiscal, no other IT company has given a clear direction in terms of hiring numbers.

High on SMAC?

While Indian companies are all singing the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud computing) tune, they are still in the process of getting the strategy right. Only Cognizant seems to be an exception and CEO Francisco D’Souza in the last quarter earnings call forecasted that the company will hit revenues of $500 million by the end of 2013. Others including TCS, Infosys, Wipro are in the process of fine-tuning their marketing and sales teams to tap into this market, which will change the world of outsourcing, according to Mukherji.

According to Faisal Husain, CEO of Synechron, in the financial services domain, outsourcing spends for the year 2014 will likely be in the enterprise mobility solutions space, disruptive technologies and big data analytics.

Immigration issue

This issue continues to dog exporters. “The Immigration Reform Bill will again come up for discussion next year and Indian companies have to have strategies to counter that,” said Sajai Singh, Partner at JSA Legal. Companies are doing their bit. The big-five and even mid sized companies such as Mindtree, Zensar and NIIT have announced Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fellowship programmes in US schools and colleges.

Indian IT exporters have been unfortunately attributed a negative image in the US – that of job snatchers – in an economy where unemployment continues to remain high. This is partly the reason behind the US government’s crackdown on visa-related frauds in the US and tightening the process of obtaining visas over the last couple of years. According to Nasscom, visa rejection rates are currently at 40 per cent in the US and as per the US Citizenship and Immigration Services data, only 85,000 visas will be granted annually to companies. A recent JP Morgan report pointed out that immigration bill, if passed into law, could have a multiplier effect that could impact the country’s economy.

While the demand for technology continues, software exporters are now waking up to this changing paradigm. If they are able to convince clients such as Goldman Sachs or Barclays, therein would lay the answer to the next growth phase for the $100 billion industry.

Source: Hindu BusinessLine