ISG Novasoft eyes banking sector in Middle East  

By : |April 24, 2006 0

R Jai Krishna

CHENNAI: ISGN, the next generation software and services company of the K K
Birla Group today disclosed its plans to enter into the banking sector and port
management in the Middle East.

Talking to CyberMedia News in Chennai, R S Murthy, vice president, Global
Delivery Systems of OPD division, said that the company is looking at the Middle
East, after the US and UK markets, in the next one year.

"There is real money in the Middle East and the companies there are opening
up. There is not much competition in the market, which has just opened up,"
he said in this regard.

Explaining about the rationale behind ISGN expanding in the yet-to-be-explored
market, Murthy said: "The future of the Indian off-shoring lies in the
Middle East as the business, which was on a ‘closed-family village approach’ has
now opened up. The number of

IPO’s doing well in the UAE region now proves this. Even banks have now gained
from both short-term and long-term loans."

Stating that according to industry estimates in 2004 of the Middle East IT
spending was about 7. 6 % but the results showed it was about 13.4 %, Murthy
said that the market is now estimated to be about $10 billion only for IT
services alone.

"There are no real big players in the Middle East now, but the large
companies are looking at establishing their base in the next 3 to 4 years
time," he said further.

Answering queries about handling the banking sector, in a place where Islamic
system is adopted, he said that the core team, which would be handling the
project, was well versed. "Moreover, we already specialize in relationship
management, and thus the penetration would be easier and faster into the system.
They also need to move from Islamic banking to more of Corporate Governance,
where the future is," he said.

Murthy also reiterated the fact the expansion would be concentrating only on
loan origination system, where the religious laws do not apply as against loan

"Our strategy would be to move from product servicing, which we will be
doing through some channel partners to that of off-shore product development in
the next couple of years, as that is where our core competence is," he
said, adding that the Middle East was more a friendly market, as there were no
barriers, including that of communication.

"ISGN also has plans to get into port management in the Middle East for
which we are in talks with some of the major ports," Murthy informed.

In this context, he said that port management was a very niche segment and with
virtually no competition at all, which itself was unique for the company.
"Though we have not assessed the size of the market, the initial talks
itself is very encouraging, and we have over 2 ½ calendar years of experience
to offer," he added.

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