Take IT beyond services to products: Nasscom

Anand Parthasarathy

Product Conclave aims to make India an intellectual property hub

BANGALORE: India which handles three-fourths of the world’s outsourced information technology (IT) services business, contributes a minuscule portion — one billion dollars worth of a $300 billion opportunity — when it comes to software products involving intellectual property (IP).

Instead of resting on its laurels as the preferred IT services destination, technology players and academics in India must look to creating compelling products for the domestic and global market with an eye on cornering at least $15 billion worth business by 2015.

This was the challenge thrown out by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) to the Indian IT industry, at its annual Product Conclave that opened here on Monday.

With the talent available here, investors in the original Silicon Valley in the U.S. ‘should kill to fund the opportunity in India,’ felt Subhash Menon, Chairman of NASSCOM’s Product Panel and Founder-Chairman of Subex Azure.

He announced that the association would shortly release a directory of Indian software products.

In his keynote address Sabeer Bhatia, the iconic founder-creator of the first web-based email service, Hotmail (which he subsequently sold to Microsoft), felt the innovation that drove IT had to come from the top. It was often a result of happenstance and gut feeling — and no amount of funding and formal research could replace this.

Sharad Sharma, CEO of Yahoo India R&D, suggested that India was well poised to become an ’edge market’ for product development — in other words the experience here could serve to drive larger global markets. He cited the example of WiMax, where the experience of rural Indian networks is already being watched with great interest by world players.

In a panel discussion on the international experience of Indian product companies, Srini Rajam, CEO of Ittiam Systems, a leader in digital signal processing solutions, said it was prudent to go beyond developing the product design to realise the reference designs of the end product.

This instilled confidence in potential customers.

Deepak Visweswariah, Director, Information Management Group, EMC, said India was well poised in the so called BRIC emerging markets — Brazil-Russia-India-China — to taking a leading role in product development, since a significant domestic opportunity was also emerging. Mahesh Mehendale, Chief Technologist, Digital Entertainment, with Texas Instruments, stressed the need to leverage product and software standards to address a global market.

Eight Indian companies shortlisted for Nasscom’s annual innovation awards made brief presentations to highlight their product achievements. These included Comat Technologies, Indiagames, Manthan Software, Mistral Solutions, Anantara Solutions, Embitel, Fiorano Software and Mango Tech- nologies.

The conference ends on Tuesday.

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