ICICI OneSource Switches From MS Office To Star

by Hinesh Jethwani    Mar 10, 2004

ICICI OneSource, a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services provider, has undertaken a bold move of switching its desktops from Microsoft Office to Sun’s StarOffice 7, saving a whopping Rs 72 lakh in the bargain.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Prashanth MJ, vice president - technology, ICICI OneSource, said, “We have 4250 desktops, out of which 10% currently employ StarOffice 7. We have so far saved around Rs 72 Lakh, and there is a plan to expand the deployment to include 25 % of the total number of desktops as per our company strategy.”

A pilot phase was simulated, where StarOffice was deployed on a small number of machines. ICICI OneSource took the plunge when Sun offered ’comprehensive documentation, seamless compatibility and 24×7 free technical support’ as a part of the deal.

Regarding the obvious compatibility qualms that first time users have - as Microsoft Office is by far the established standard used worldwide - Prashanth said, “There are many, but so far we have faced a few with respect to Word and Excel formats when advanced features are employed.”

K.P. Unnikrishnan, country head - marketing, Sun Microsystems India, commented, “The estimated street price of StarOffice 7 is Rs 4,000 per license in comparison to about Rs 20,000 for Microsoft Office 2003. For 1000 licenses, the price would be as low as Rs 2295 per license.”

According to Sanjiv Dalal, CTO, ICICI OneSource, “There will be a challenge in sending documents across to clients, most of who use Microsoft Office.”

Dispelling notions about compatibility problems, Unnikrishnan explained, “The greatest fear among corporates is whether future versions of StarOffice will be in line with Microsoft Office. Compatibility from Sun’s side will be maintained as MS Office matures and makes new additions.”

For Sun, the most significant among its list of customer wins was United India Insurance’ purchase of 10,000 user licenses of StarOffice 7.

Apart from its lower price, another advantage of StarOffice 7 over Microsoft Office is its cross-platform support. Where Office 2003 will run only on Windows 2000 and XP, StarOffice 7 supports Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP, as well as Linux and Solaris. The software offers functionality to enable export to PDF, and the Macromedia Flash format, and supports 10 languages.

With yet another enterprise walking the non-Microsoft way, Sun is quickly eroding the resilience to change mindset seen during the early days of launching StarOffice.