‘SaaS won’t cannibalize market’

By : |April 14, 2009 0

Kishore Wikhe, senior vice president, technology unit, Symphony ServiceSo, be it slowdown, increased focus on India, or a change in the traditional licence model, all this surely affects the guys handling all the action backstage.

Symphony, a global provider of product engineering outsourcing services, has been a major OPD ( Offshore Product Development) player. Apart from a revenue mark of about $200 million by 2008, over 150 clients, a 41 per cent year-over-year growth in 2008, it also boasts more than 1000 product release each during 2007 and 2008.

In this interview, Kishor Wikhe, senior vice president, head, Pune Operations and Enterprise Business Technology Unit, Symphony Services talks to Pratima Harigunani of CyberMedia News about many factors like SaaS, big mergers, usability, localization etc and their implication for the OPD industry.

Is innovation a cliché as it has been made to be?

Innovation is as much about great minds as it is about good mindsets. We have also established an innovation council. We take care that innovation is task oriented and is about high impact. It should be about game-changing ideas. And it is as much about the idea as it is about evolution of the idea as POCs (Proofs of Concept).

How much has SaaS impacted the OPD side of the market?

SaaS is definitely catching up and, as some estimates project, it should be worth $19 billion by 2011. Most of the ISVs are trying to enable their products to SaaS. We have developed a framework around it. It helps to modify and re-orient the DNA, architecture and transition roadmap.

No cannibalization concerns here?

There are two segments in this market. One is having a clear roadmap and has matured enough to be on the verge of significant penetration. They would definitely go high on SaaS and invest upfront. Then there is a segment that is trying to understand the market and they need a solution that fits their approach. SaaS, if anything, is trying to make both the market and the delivery model more mature.

Today, we need multiple approaches for multiple segments. These are enablers of the product and could very well be multiple revenue streams for the company actually instead of being a negative impact. It does not cannibalize. It only expands, more so on the lower side of the pyramid.

And OPD per se is evolving towards the higher strata of product development like ‘sunrise’ products and core development?

Yes. In fact there’s more research on outsourcing side today rather than on product development. In OPD, which is just a decade old, conceptualization and architecture part was not being outsourced as much. That has been changing now. Even with ‘Sunrise’ products, the design and architecture aspects are now getting increasingly outsourced.

What role are OPD guys playing on the usability gap of products?

The emphasis on usability is only growing. We have for instance set up a separate function on Usability Interface and user experience is getting enormous focus during research and development.

Does that translate for you in form of challenging levels of sophistication, accountability etc?

It does. With equal accountability for products, our responsibility levels change. It’s more of a partnership model. Quality and reliability come under higher scanners. Expectations change and go up. All this is implicit and redefines the roles on both the sides. Both the sides now own product roadmaps jointly and that drive new product ideas.

With the entire recent buzz on top-bracket consolidation with deal talks like that of IBM and Sun, are you concerned about the effects on the OPD slice for India?

Well, in my view, consolidation does not impact outsourcing mechanism. It only increases the pie because now the questions that emerge are like these- “How can I enhance my portfolio”, “How can I consolidate disparate platforms”, “How do I better manage product suites”, “How to take care of redundancy”, “How to optimize the overall product and make it hit faster in the market” etc.

You can give a better IP platform. Consolidation expands OPD work from an architecture and integration viewpoint. With the power of so many products that come together after a big deal there is greater need for addressing the market more smartly and also a need for modernization.

India is an important emerging market for many industry majors. As the OPD specialists, can you share what kind of attention, if any, is localization gaining on product development with Indian needs as a focus?

Yes, localization is indeed high on the agenda. In fact, internationalization and localization are two high attention areas. Localization is catching up and main areas in India’s context are regulation and language.

No Comments so fars

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.