IBM India Banks On Partners To Meet Demand

by Amit Tripathi    Jul 04, 2005

As enterprises realign their IT systems based on integration technologies and open standards, Big Blue realizes a spurt in the opportunity for itself from the Indian corporate landscape too, and to tap this opportunity it is encouraging its partners to go the long haul.

In an exclusive discussion with CXOtoday, Tapan Mehta, country Manager - FSS, Telecom & Industrial Sector, Software Group, IBM India, said, “We see a huge demand coming from the government sector followed by the banking vertical for data management. In India, we are working proactively with our partners to port our software (for example iFlex is making Flexcube available on DB2).”

Although banks and other verticals prominent in IT use in India have already made significant investments on core business applications, for IBM Software Group the off take comes from customers buying new and additional applications. Stated Mehta, “After the core banking initiative, many banks in India are eyeing data warehousing, business intelligence, and content management capabilities. Many CIOs are looking for alternatives and are ready to opt for DB2, once it is available. We are thus going to ensure the availability through our partners and integrators.”

Hence, as part of its strategy, system integrators (like TCS, Wipro and others) are being roped in by IBM to port applications on DB2.

Speaking on the Lotus software usage in India, Mehta informed, “The Lotus usage among Indian corporates is on the upswing as the IT decision makers see clear benefits in terms of its ability to provide multiple front ends, and not just a single front end like MS Outlook.” Among the big corporates to use Lotus software is HDFC.

But it is Big Blue’s flagship product Websphere (especially websphere application server), which has greater prospects as enterprises adopt business intelligence strategy. Said Mehta, “Sectors like telecom, BFSI are increasingly separating their ways of delivery (for instance separate systems for payment, channels, application etc.). Thus the need for enterprise application integration (EAI) becomes crucial, and that is where websphere holds more promise.”

In the application server software platform (ASSP) market in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), IBM WebSphere has 34% market share (IDC Asia/Pacific). WebSphere is used by 87,000 customers worldwide, including the top 45 commercial and savings banks, 15 top Wall Street brokerage firms, seven of the top 10 U.S. telcos, and 80% of the top U.S. healthcare companies (IDC 2004). More than 9,000 independent software vendors (ISVs) write applications on top of WebSphere, of which more than 100 are in India.

Talking about the global banking IT trend, Donald Hanson, managing executive, banking industry, IBM Software Group, said, “Among the key trends in the banking vertical worldwide are, an increasing preference for integration technology with the core system, movement from legacy (for example COBOL based) to modern technologies (like J2EE), and more focus on the front office area, and last but not the least, the growing use of open standards.”