Nasscom 2013: Real Changes To Indian IT Services Are Underway

I am just back from the whirlwind that is Nasscom India Leadership Forum 2013 in Mumbai, India. The Nasscom event is the premier event for the Indian IT services marketplace. Besides meeting great people, eating too much wonderful Indian food, and seeing action star and local legend Amitabh Bachchan in-person, the event provides a chance to check the pulse of the most important geographic hub for the IT services marketplace. 

Here are some of my key findings from the trip:

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Local Outsourcing Providers Should Be On Your Radar In China

Over the past three years, multinational companies’ (MNCs’) approach to outsourcing in China has steadily matured as they seek to leverage broader outsourcing models and source from a combination of global providers and local Chinese providers.

In my latest report, Lessons Learned From Outsourcing In China: Part 2, I analyze the key outsourcing trends and approaches to help sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals at MNCs select the right local outsourcing suppliers. As part of this analysis, I’ve highlighted the main service capabilities of local Chinese vendors broken down by service model and profile the different types of service providers that currently operate in China.

Key findings from the report include:

  • MNCs are adopting sophisticated outsourcing approaches in China. Many MNCs are shifting away from a pure global service provider approach to a broader shortlist that also includes Chinese providers. SVM professionals at MNCs appreciate local providers’ broader geographic coverage, lower outsourcing cost and more flexible service deliverables.
  • MNCs are also diversifying their outsourcing requirements. After signing the first wave of outsourcing contracts in the past five to 10 years, MNCs are becoming increasingly comfortable considering more sophisticated outsourcing contracts, such as best-of-breed selection, vertical outsourcing, etc.
  • Local outsourcing service providers are continually improving their capabilities. To approach more MNC clients in China, local providers have enhanced their geographic coverage in remote cities, accelerated consolidations, recruited senior talent for improved depth at key positions and aggressively recruited fresh graduates to manage costs.
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Parallels Partners With Global SIs To Deliver SMB Cloud Services

In business, it’s very rarely just about what you know, but also who knows you, that determines success or failure.

At their global analyst summit last week, Parallels’ CEO, Birger Steen, welcomed Cisco and IBM as new global systems integrator partners, joining the likes of Microsoft and Symantec. In fact, Cisco has even taken a small equity stake in the company, meaning they will jointly go to market to deliver cloud services. Parallels and Cisco also agreed to expand joint development, marketing, and industry initiatives. While there was no similar equity investment as part of the IBM deal, both companies will jointly engage with large telcos and service providers to offer an integrated IBM/Parallels solution.

Here are some other key takeaways from the event:

  • Parallels noted that the global SMB cloud services market grew to $45 billion in 2012 and will reach $95 billion by 2015, with a CAGR of 28% (see its SMB Cloud Insights research report). In fact, both Cisco and IBM view Parallels as a gateway to tap the growing SMB need for cloud services (see Tim Harmon’s report Opportunities In The SMB Cloud Services Market).
  • The momentum Parallels is gaining from expanded global SI partnerships is paralleled (pun intended) by its moves to better leverage the growing cloud investments being made by large telcos as they move from simply “getting into the cloud” to actively converting their customers from using on-premises apps to cloud apps. Already, companies like American Movil have started to offer SaaS and IaaS services to their Latin American users using the Parallels marketplace platform, thanks to a Cisco-led deal.
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SAP’s Maintenance Price Hike Should Concern Sourcing Professionals And Their CIOs

On Monday, SAP communicated that it will increase the price of standard support on new contracts by 5% from July 15, 2013, from 18% to 19%. SAP’s announcement claims that the increase is necessary: “In order to ensure the same high level of quality support in the future.” That justification is disingenuous, in my opinion. SAP already makes a very healthy profit on maintenance. (SAP does not report its margin on maintenance revenue. For 2012, it reported 81% gross profit on software licenses and maintenance combined.) Moreover, third-party support providers (3SP’s) like RiminiStreet can provide better support at half the price or less.

SAP’s other justification is equally unconvincing. It states that within the standard support package “there is ongoing expansion of value, for example a continuous flow of innovation through Enhancement Packs.” SAP reinvests 14% of its revenue in R&D, but I estimate that 90% of that goes on developing new products such as Hana that you have to pay again for if you want them. (SAP disputes this estimate but did not provide an alternative figure.) That would mean that Enhancement Pack development represents around 1% of revenue, insufficient to justify charging double what 3SP’s charge, let alone a 5% price increase.

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