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HCL sharpens focus on mobility solutions

Published Date: 
Apr 14, 2014
Source: 
Live Mint and The Wall Street Journal

New Delhi: HCL Technologies Ltd, India’s fourth largest information technology (IT) firm, plans to sharpen its focus on mobility solutions to drive its next phase of growth in a bid to earn more revenue from the so-called SMAC (social, mobility, cloud and analytics) technologies.

“These mobile applications will put control in the hands of the consumer,” said Steve Cardell, president of enterprise services and diversified industries at HCL Tech, in a phone interview from the UK.

He said mobility is “one of the key drivers for HCL”, adding that the company expects its global mobile business to grow 40-50% yearly for the next couple of years.

“We can do great work at the back end, but if we can’t develop highly intuitive mobile interfaces, the whole thing falls down. Mobile is...an enabler for the rest of the work we do,” said Cardell.

According to software lobby body Nasscom, companies worldwide are expected to spend about $140 billion on mobility by 2020.

HCL’s mobility innovation lab in London, where the company creates and hosts global mobile solutions, has been particularly focusing on areas such as financial services, retail and telecom.

“We are most focused on financial services, because this is where we see the big demand—mobile apps to get an account, for payments, and for banks to push offerings. Financial services providers roughly account for 40% of the UK economy,” said Cardell.

Cardell said next-generation mobile apps range from utilities that will allow users to control the central heating system in their homes—change and set the temperature and turn lights off or on if the devices are linked with the app when they are out on the road—to telecom solutions such as apps that can link phone bills of users to their contact lists and tell them how much they are spending on each of the contacts.

Retail is another focus area. “A lot of big shops are going online. We have got to make the connect between online stores and actual shops to make it work in our clients’ mind,” said Cardell, adding that HCL Tech’s mobile solution can “help clients buy online and pick up at stores, get vouchers for stores on buying online, or if they go to stores, they can get credit for online account”.

HCL is also partnering companies that develop apps in the heathcare sector. “We have a twofold contract with one of the very large science companies. One is to build a global platform for mobility that will enable mobile apps to be deployed worldwide, and the other is mobile (or app) factory—to build hundred apps a year to go into company specific app store,” said Cardell.

The mobility market, in particular, “is definitely increasing with the advent of cloud, cheaper devices like tabs and the phone itself becoming a powerful device”, said Shree Parthasarathy, senior director, enterprise risk services, at Deloitte in India.

“Most of the IT companies as well as consultancy services are aggressively getting into the mobility space. It can be a game-changer if targeted at the right segment,” he said citing the example of many insurance companies that give their agents mobile devices to provide them with real-time information and increase productivity.

India is the third fastest growing application market in the world, according to a 2013 research report by Edelweiss Securities Ltd. The report added that mobile banking has emerged “as one of the most innovative products in the financial services industry”.

“Therefore, Indian players are expected to build significant scale, in-house or by acquisition, to capture market share. Clients not only need support for growing requirement on mobility-enabled solutions, but also require productivity improvement, transparency in data security, new avenues for revenue streams and expected return on their investments,” the report said.

According to a survey by research firm Offshore Insights, released in February, the top 2,000 firms in the world will spend 15-16% of their IT services/outsourcing budgets on SMAC and India will export $15 billion worth of SMAC software and services in fiscal year 2017.

Source: 
Live Mint and The Wall Street Journal
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