“India is where technology is going to happen in the next 10 years.”

-Terry Williams, Chairman and
CEO, Wilco International.

Wilco International is a securities
and trading software firm and a wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based $4.5 billion Automatic
Data Products, a popular independent computing services firm. The success of Gloss Range
Trading and Settlement systems based on emerging technologies such as Unix, Sybase and C
rose the company to prominence in the 1990’s. Terry Williams, Wilco International’s
Chairman & CEO and Sunil Shah, the Client Services Director, who were in the country
to formalize the takeover, spoke to DATAQUEST about the company’s globalization
initiatives and their plans for the Indian center. Excerpt:

Why did you choose to acquire an
existing set-up that was deemed unviable by DE Shaw?

We choose this center for three
reasons. Firstly, there is a serious lack of quality resources in Europe and America.
Secondly, for the reputation of Indian technology. Thirdly, India has a very mature
democracy, not to mention people, a good educational system particularly in the IT
industry. Another obvious thing was the English speaking population. Then we happened to
have luck as DE Shaw approached us.

What synergies are you looking at
for the Indian center?

We have to think very differently
about India. The core development of our flagship product Gloss is to be undertaken here.
Apart from this, the center will also be involved in setting up NTT First – a settlement
link for Tokyo that entails liaison with Tokyo. In addition to these developments, we are
looking at other IT enabled services such as data management, from the Indian location. We
plan to put in $5 million investment in the first year alone.

Expansion plans are to build staff
strength of 300 people and then increase to 1000 in 18 months from now. I believe the
greatest limitation could be how we employ and assimilate the staff. India is where
technology is going to happen in the next 10 years.

With a host of software systems
in the financial markets, what in your opinion is the differentiating factor?

In our business we are virtually the
main supplier. We specialize in cross border transactions, market currency. The demand on
our systems over the last few years has far outstretched the supply. And that is why we
are looking at India in a much wider perspective than a mere solutions center.

What extent of customization do
you undertake?

We undertake customization for most
every client. For the likes of Merills, Goldman Sachs, that have big IT department of
their own and want to develop a lot of modules.

Do your systems cater to risk
management systems?

We are not so much into risk
management, but more with the procedures adopted between the trade and the bench, or
linking to the stock exchange. Some of the processes that we provide will only be part of
the trading and settlement, which are again part of the information needs of risk
management. Risk Management has been very difficult even for our clients and to get true
Risk Management Systems working in a dynamic manner around the globe is quite challenging
even for our big clients.

Why did you choose to reposition
your middleware system as enterprise solution?

The reason we did that was that our
product used to be called Gloss Hub and because of the name, large organizations tended to
use it only with our Gloss products, whereas it can be used for many other
functionalities. It provides connectivity to the Gloss system and also between other
third-party and proprietary systems. Some of our clients use Gloss with many other
interfaces. Hence, we renamed Gloss Hub as Enterprise Broker so its not too closely linked
to the Gloss name.

All systems today are being made
to cater to real-time processing. Do you think this is just a trend or there is a definite
urge to move to real-time processing?

I feel people need to think very
seriously, whether they do really need information data in real-time. Making it real time
is not necessary. In some instances, particularly financial markets, real-time is
necessary, but certainly in many cases it needs to be reviewed as it may not always be
necessary.

Does this mean that firms need to
constantly keep reinvesting in software systems to stay in the race?

The market is moving and if they
don’t continue to invest, they will be left behind in their business.

Why are you concentrating on the
Japanese market in the current scenario?

Tokyo is going to be the biggest
demand market in the next year or two. The transaction volumes are still very high and
there is huge demand for outside solutions.

Any plans to sell in the Indian
markets?

We have no current plans to sell in
India. We may look at it if the number of transactions in the Indian stock market goes up
significantly. And I can’t see that in the near future.

What are your future plans?

The strategy is to enhance the
current work on order management and to move much more into asset management. We are
basically looking at Java and XML for our Internet divisions, front end CORBA for core
customers. We are also keeping an eye on new emerging technologies like XML.

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