SOFTWARE: TCG Software Banks on Lineage



If any software company had to name the key ingredients for its success, two
obvious factors would be brand name and quality-of-work. A majority of
successful Indian companies have taken the quality-of-work route. Delivering a
consistently good quality of products and services helps them build a brand for
themselves, which they leverage to attract more clients. MNCs on the other hand,
often choose to go the other way round. They leverage their already strong
global branding to attract professionals in countries like India for cheaper yet
improved quality of work.

That applies well to IT companies. Can non-IT companies making a debut in
software development do the same? Purnendu Chatterjee’s (of George Soros fame)
The Chatterjee Group (TCG) doesn’t think so. That’s why it has adopted an
entirely different model–leveraging current relationships in non-IT segments
to bag software development projects. TCG Software, the software arm of TCG has
been making news ever since it undertook this new route. As for the brand, it
doesn’t have one in infotech, but then its VC brand carries enough weight to
compensate for the gap.

So how does the TCG branding help its software arm set itself apart from the
current lot of software companies? Well, in terms of target areas, like others,
it’s also targeting the telecom, finance and Web enabling spaces. But the TCG
brand is allowing it to win niche clients, opening door of global giants like
Pfizer, Sony and Reckitt & Benckiser.

The TCG brand also provides it the ability to convince international
corporate giants to set up development centers in India. A case in point is the
joint venture, Skytech, with United Airlines. United Airlines, with an annual
software development budget of over $500 million, has joined hands with TCG
Software to set up a development center in India, its first outside the US. A
similar successful JV called CATS has been concretized with Computer Associates.

Another approach taken by the company is the creation of competency center
for customers. The company has already set up competency centers for three
clients namely Sybase, Financial Technologies International and United Airlines.
According to Veer Sagar, CEO, TCG Software India, "Our strategy is to
create relationships. We are planning to set up few more competency centers
between now and the end of next year."

Apart from client-specific competency centers, the company also plans to
develop competencies in specific areas at its four Indian centers. For instance,
e-business specialization is being done at its Kolkata and Hyderabad centers
while the Delhi and Hyderabad centers are undertaking m-commerce assignments.
Again, telecom and embedded software development is being carried out at Delhi,
while work based on Oracle and Microsoft tools are taken care of by Kolkata,
Mumbai and Hyderabad teams. The company is not looking at establishing more
development centers in the near future but it intends to quickly ramp up its
workforce strength from the current 300 to about 800 by the year-end.

Agrees Bhanu Singh, the US-based CEO of TCG Software, "Funds are not a
constraint as the company has sufficient cash at hand, raised during the first
round of funding." While the business model being followed by the company
will be truly tested only over a period of time, TCG Software surely stands to
enjoy the status of a closely watched company by professionals and competititors
alike.

Yograj Varma in New Delhi

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