Crash into the Cash-Box

The Indian infotech industry’s results’season that
just concluded was a mixedbag. While Infosys expectedly exceeded street
expectations and briefly dragged the market northward, Wipro’s results
deflated the euphoria and raised jitters about the future of the software export
sector all over again. With analyst reports unsure about anything more than a
low double-digit growth and the expected tech revival still two quarters away,
the real winners are expected to be those who are able to define new value
propositions for CIOs with tight budgets.

One area that is emerging as a clear winner is solutions for managing
customer interaction–this goes beyond the traditional reach of sales force
automation and CRM solutions. As customers assume newer roles in creating value
and as they increasingly control product/service relationships, leading
organizations have taken different strategic positions in this evolving
competitive landscape by defining how they create differentiators through their
intellectual assets. These strategies have led to distinct knowledge patterns
that combine organizational and customer knowledge in the most efficient form
for a particular competitive position. Enterprises need to understand these
knowledge patterns and their ‘fit’ before embarking on a journey towards
managing knowledge.

“The real need
is for an analysis of pain points and design of an info-knowledge superstructure
that delivers results at the decision-making levels of the organization” 


In an increasingly competitive environment, this approach of bringing the
best talent and knowledge within the organization as close to the customer as
possible is seen as the best way to maximize profit generation potential for any
business enterprise. Further, to ensure a sustainable competitive edge,
enterprises need to learn to shrink gaps between their suppliers, partners,
alliances and other stakeholders. Integrating competencies across these entities
will result in an extended knowledge enterprise, where collective expertise is
leveraged to achieve exponential value creation.

It is in the creation of these knowledge-enabled enterprises that the real
revenue and profit potential lies for Indian software firms. In a recent
exercise our firm completed for a Fortune 500 Manufacturer in Asia, we found
that each area of software already implemented, ranging from ERP to CRM to SCM
to e-Learning left large deltas. These could be adequately addressed by
judiciously chosen products and elegantly designed software–areas that were
obviously capable of delivering higher profits and also more satisfaction to the

How does all this really work? Many organizations today in the Western world
and even in Asia and India have become museums of disparate hardware and
software with systems that barely interface with each other and rarely integrate
in any comprehensive manner. ERP implementations fall short in most forms of
extension to partners — customers, distributors, suppliers and subcontractors.
SFA and CRM efforts tend to be disjointed and poorly integrated with ERP. KM and
e-learning are often independent of core systems, rather than evolutionary with
intelligence fed from and back to bedrock systems.

Does this mean climbing up the value chain or is it just plain common sense?
In a recent KM seminar, the message was clear–commodity software development
will not deliver big bucks for local or offshore vendors. If at all budgets are
available, it is for innovative applications that will put revenue dollars into
the top line and remove cost dollars from the bottomline. Are we ready for the

The author is deputy chairman and managing director of
Zensar Technologies and the global CEO of Zensar
He can be reached at

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