The year 2016 witnessed some of the key decisions taken by the Government impacting consumers, business houses and the overall economy. As projects like Digital India and Smart City continue to bring new opportunities for the corporate, state governments were not much far behind in luring MNCs to invest in their region.
Not surprisingly, IT spending in India, continues to grow at a good clip. DD Mishra, research director, Gartner, states,“India is now amongst a few top countries in terms of IT spending in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan). The opportunities are being tapped by many MNCs such as IBM, AWS, Oracle, MS and Cisco who have a long history of presence in India. We see initiatives by cloud providers to setup data centers in India and bring data centers closer to customers in India. The growing economy, digital transformation, e-commerce growth, demand for cloud, an emerging SMB sector, government initiatives on digitalization brings opportunities for IT players provided they are able to cope with the requirements of price sensitive markets and deal with uncertainties.”
To further get an exclusive insight about last year’s performance and the planned activities for 2017, Express Computer spoke to some leading technology companies to understand their perspective on the year 2016 achievements, and how they foresee 2017 to be.
Symantec: Helping enterprises securely embrace cloud
2016 has been a significant year for Symantec as the company acquired Blue Coat and introduced Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) Cloud – a new solution for (SMBs) to protect them from targeted attacks and ransomware. “Our focus for 2017 and beyond will be to define the future of cybersecurity and provide best-in-class customer and partner experiences by; protecting customers against more cyber threats, helping enterprises securely embrace the cloud and powering a new wave of cyber innovation. We are bringing together a formidable scale of investment in cyber R&D and threat research. These investments span over 3,000 engineers and researchers, as well as nine Threat Response Centers,” says Sanjay Rohatgi, senior vice president, Asia Pacific & Japan, Symantec
Autodesk: Opted for subscription based business model
For Autodesk, the year 2016 has been a game changer as the American software company changed its business model. “The significant change that we’ve done this year is that we have moved everything to a subscription based model so you don’t have to buy upfront, you only pay for the time that you use it. If you don’t need it next year, you don’t pay for it. Hence, the cost of acquiring Autodesk software has gone down significantly leading to higher adoption in India. For us transition of this business model has happened recently,” informs Pradeep Nair, MD, India & SAARC, Autodesk.
Forcepoint: Protecting users, networks and intellectual property
It’s been a phenomenal year for us says Surendra Singh, country director, Forcepoint. “In the beginning of the year, we saw the emergence of Forcepoint by the merger of Websense, Raytheon Cyber Products and Stonesoft NGFW.” The aim of the company was to provide organizations with an ability to protect its users, networks and intellectual property from cyber attacks anywhere – be it on premise, in the cloud or on the road.
Talking about the challenges in the coming years with respect to cyber security, Singh explains, “The rise of voice-activated AI to access web, data and apps will open up new attack vectors and data privacy concerns. Also, the cloud is another expanding vector of attack. It is expected that hackers will increasingly target cloud service providers to disrupt businesses moving to the cloud. They will do so by exploiting underlying vulnerabilities in cloud infrastructure or launching DDOS attacks.”
Avaya India: Focusing on government projects
Vishal Agrawal, managing director (India and SAARC), Avaya India, a global provider of networking and unified communication solutions considers 2016 as the most innovative year in the company’s history, featuring 16 product and solution launches. According to Agrawal, “We have managed the operational aspects of the business while investing for the future, today software and services account constitute for over 74 percent of our total revenues. Also the government projects have been an important focus for us, as 30 percent of our product revenue comes from these projects. We launched Emergency Response System in alliance with government of two states, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.”
HCL Infosystems: Investing in global expansion
HCL Infosystems is on a turnaround transformation journey asserts Premkumar Seshadri, executive vice-chairman & managing director, HCL Infosystems. In 2016, the leading ICT system integrator and distribution company was in the middle of a three year plan that was started in Q1 of 2015. “The turn-around journey was built around six strategic pillars as the overall focus was on internal change and evaluate company’s most valuable assets, digital transformation journey, and expansion through globalization. “We have begun our planning for the next fiscal wherein global expansion is going to be a key focus area, across various geographies including APAC and MEA. In addition we are in the process of implementing a highly granular technology-enabled transformation spanning all our existing service offerings. As a part of this process we have set up and operationalized a state-of-the-art IT Operation Center (ITOC) at Puducherry.”
Quick Heal: Tailored offerings for SMB’s and enterprise
The most landmark achievement for Quick Heal in 2016 has been that of becoming a public company, informs Sanjay Katkar, MD & CTO, Quick Heal Technologies Limited. During 2016, the company also forayed into the cyber security consulting space by launching Seqrite Services. In another move, the security company also launched Quick Heal Academy which aims to work in conjunction with universities, law enforcement agencies, and educational institutions to offer training in cyber security.
Elaborating on the 2017 priority areas, Katkar says, “We are focusing on tailored offerings for our SMB and enterprise customers and reach out more aggressively to BFSI, healthcare and manufacturing industries. Furthermore, we will develop and promote software-as-a-service model and free solutions for mobile devices. We are also working on several new technologies such as IoT and home security automation.”
Acer: Targeting niche segments in IoT
In 2016, Acer introduced “BeingWare” program to meet the needs of people in the cloud era with Acer’s competitive edge in hardware, software and cloud services. Elucidating on the strategies for 2017, Chandrahas Panigrahi, senior director and consumer business head, ACER says “As a part of the broad strategy, we have a plan chartered out for niche segments into IoT. In India, we have seen some of the ecosystem partners reaching out to us. As of now we are evaluating them and intend to take this forward in India. Acer is strengthening its partnership as well as customer outreach program with intensive engagement programmes. It has forged strong partnerships with all the large format retail stores.”
Alcatel-Lucent: New business approach – ‘network on demand’
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise in its endeavor to be in line with the market demand, took three key initiatives in 2016. The enterprise communications solutions and services company introduced ‘Network on Demand’ thereby sharing the risks with its partners. It aligned its R&D to bring enterprises specific communication solution. And thirdly, the company also reinforced its vertical focus. For the year 2017, ALE is forming four regional sales organizations to better serve its partners, customers and their markets. “By placing a focus on our specific market segments for growth and accelerating the shift to new business models, each of these four regions will have its own dedicated sales staff supporting its defined industry-specific sales strategy, cloud sales strategy and channel strategy, with a complementary sales enablement and services delivery, informs,” Amit Raj Bathla, director & head of marketing, APAC- Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.
Manish Choudhary – MD, India Operations and Sr. VP, Global Innovation, Pitney Bowes
Pitney Bowes has been a prominent player in the connected and borderless world of commerce technology and has recently launched its Commerce Cloud. “The launch of Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud effectively broadens our addressable market from the $4 billion mailing market into the growing $40 billion digital commerce and shipping market. It is a strategic milestone in the evolution of shipping, mailing and digital commerce,” informs Chaudhary.
He further explains, “We have collaborated with leading cloud technology companies, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Salesforce.com, GE, Microsoft, Apigee, MongoDB and Okta, to deliver a reliable, modern digital client experience. We’re building greater awareness about our solutions in software and in digital commerce, which are our growing businesses that the world is not as aware off.”
The company is focusing on its cross-border commerce strategy as one of the growth areas. Last year, it acquired Borderfree Inc and has been working with over 200 brands, retailers and marketplaces to help them deliver a consumer experience that meets constantly evolving consumer demands, in around 200 markets around the world.