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Mphasis is there forever

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CIOL Bureau
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Arvind PrasadSpeaking to Akanksha Prasad of CIOL, Arvind Joshi, Group CIO of the company shared the company technology road map for coming two to three years.

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What has been the latest technology adopted in your company?

We recently completed the implementation of Microsoft’s Hyper-V Server 2008. We had some 145 servers, which were towards the end of their life; and also we wanted to optimize our servers that are redundant. We identified our boxes and stacked them so that none of them are resource-hungry. Another reason was to learn the technology and use it as a live reference for implementing it on the client-site.

From 145 infrastructure servers, we now have 14 high-end virtualized server, but the entire implementation across 12 locations took almost a year. The next step would be moving from Infrastructure virtualization to application virtualization. We are also consolidating our data centers into new infrastructure, with the help of virtualization.

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What are your plans regarding cloud computing? Where do you put it on your road map?

A. We see the cloud adoption at least three years away. But it is as important as a learning tool for us. One aspect we are looking at present is business productivity suits which comprises email and component around it.

We have done a proof of concept on Microsoft offering for Business Process Management (BPM). The second option could be virtualizing all the security components, whether we can move all the firewalls on the cloud. We are yet to figure that out.

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As a tech company, five years down the line, we would look at competing with Microsoft with our own cloud offering. But right now, we first need to learn about the technology. The cloud service providers need to learn and understand it much deeply. So the maturity of cloud is two years away. For internal use, we need to learn how cloud functions; but not as any business offering right now.

You mentioned about new data centers, could you elaborate on that?

Yes, we are opening two data centers, one each in Chennai and Mumbai. They would be around 6000 sq ft in area located in an SEZ and an STPI. This is the consolidation of our existing data centers.

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The onset of recession and the acquisition of the company by EDS (and later by HP) happened at the same time. How have these changes impacted your IT budgets?

We don’t look at budget in absolute numbers. We look at the technology spend per seat basis and spend on technology versus our revenues. The IT budgets of a company are directly linked to the company’s performance; they grow if the revenues grow, or vice versa.

Like, last year, performance, despite the global meltdown, the company did extremely well, so going by our policy, if we continue growing, our budgets would also follow the suit. But if, for whatever reasons, markets go south, customers go conservative; we feel that we would not grow in the same pace as before, then it automatically slows down the spending.

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What has been the role of HP in your technology decision? Are these latest technology implementations front-ended by them?

A. As I had mentioned, HP has a dual relationship with us. In one way they are our largest customers, and another that they own the majority (roughly 60 per cent) shares of the company.

There have been market speculations about we getting integrated with HP like EDS did, but Mphasis continues to run as an independent company, no one at HP has ever hinted about any future integration. HP has been felicitating us with the options for technology road map, but the final decision-making happens from our end.

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We are always looking ahead. Three years from now is a little far, two years from now is better, 12 months from now is completely funded. So we have our roadmap, with a lot more clarity about technology, strategy. Given the volatile market conditions, we ourselves refrain from long-term foresight or predictions.

Where do you see the largest chunk of your IT budgets going?

Broadly, if you see my budget, then there are two large buckets; telecom and depreciation. Both these are driven in different way. In the case of telecom, for example, while we have increased our customer base, employee rates and service activity around this, our overall cost have not gone up, because of the decline in product pricing and the better deal you get from the vendor with a big scale of implementation.

On the depreciation side, we would see a lot of budgets going immediately for the expansion in Sri Lanka in getting the hardware, switches, servers and many more. But, again with the numbers we get a specific relief, which brings down the average cost per seat.

We also are adopting various alternative options, like use of netbooks for traveling executives. It is not only more affordable than other laptops, but also provide duty-free shipping from one office to another against desktops. We are looking at around 300 machines.

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