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Indian-Delivered IT Services in 2020: Innovation in Many Forms

 

NelsonHall was recently invited to present at NASSCOM Technology & Leadership Forum 2020, one of my last foreign trips for some time, I suspect. While in India, in addition to presenting, participating on panels and conducting interviews, we had an opportunity to sit down with leaders from across the IT services landscape as well as venture beyond the Grand Hyatt Mumbai to delivery locations in Pune and Bangalore. And in all our interactions, innovation was a key theme.

In this blog, we look at several examples of ways in which leading IT services providers are enhancing their offerings through innovation.

Expanding the remote delivery services offered

In its 50-building campus in Bengaluru, Infosys has stood up their Experience Design Studio to support the delivery of experience design services globally. In addition to its acquisitions of WONGDOODY and Brilliant Basics to expand its client-proximate creative design capabilities, Infosys has created this dedicated studio to deliver design services housing ~160 designers (other locations that house the Infosys XD studios, WONGDOODY and Brilliant Basics bring the total Experience Design team globally to ~600). Capturing all of the necessities of design space, including open meeting spaces, client collaboration areas and plentiful white boards covered in the most artistic notes you will ever see, this dedicated space is co-located with the broader Infosys global delivery capability while also being set apart in a standalone space.  The studio houses multi-disciplinary teams which aim to apply skills of traditional design to broad systemic challenges; questioning, reframing and addressing issues through the combination of design, technology, and industry skills.

Significantly, the Infosys XD studio does not necessarily play a supporting role to designers located at client sites. It has its own client relationships, in particular for long-term engagements, such as with a U.S.-based logistics company that in 2017 engaged Infosys to help reimagine its business model. Another example is the work done for a tennis governing body, designing and shaping a new understanding of the sport that benefits fans, players and the media. The group is also working with the Indian Income Tax with the aim of simplifying the filing of tax returns.

These design capabilities provide Infosys with the ability to deliver end-to-end services to clients rather than ceding up-front strategic and creative services to consultancies and agencies; particularly at clients where it already possesses strong relationships.

Narrowing the focus

Wipro, with several years of S/4HANA services under its belt, has centered its SAP offerings around enabling an enterprise’s digital transformation journey, at the same time prioritizing SAP services in industries where it can be a top-two provider. These include:

  • Leveraging its recent digital/design acquisitions, process and business consulting capabilities to facilitate clients on design-led transformation projects
  • SAP products: S/4HANA, in particular hosted on hyperscale cloud, provides AWS, Azure and GCP and SAP SaaS products SuccessFactors, Ariba and Cloud for Customer (C4C)
  • Industries: energy & natural resources, manufacturing, consumer industries, and retail. These are areas where it already possesses strong capabilities: it acted as SAP’s solution partner on SAP Model Company for Utilities and is now partnering with SAP on its food and beverage model company offering based, in part, on Wipro’s work with a large U.S. food manufacturer. Wipro is also a co-development partner for fashion & retail with SAP and the newly developed solutions will offer a range of functionality from fashion manufacturing to in-store merchandising
  • Geographic markets: Wipro is narrowing its focus to mature markets where large historic SAP clients have yet to migrate. In addition to the broader North American and continental European markets, primary focus areas include Germany (where Wipro acquisition Cellent provides a strong local capability), Japan and Saudi Arabia. 

This allows Wipro to continue focus on large transformation engagements while targeting its innovation, partnership ecosystem, and offering development where it feels is best positioned competitively.

Developing assets to enhance service delivery

Another approach, and one demonstrated by two other services providers we visited, is to apply innovative technical assets to enhance well-established service offerings.

LTI has developed a platform called METIS to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the software development and testing process. METIS connects with underlying SDLC tools to automatically create a knowledge fabric across the IT landscape. METIS then applies machine learning to create relationships between business functions, actions taken, the calls to associated applications and APIs, defects, production tickets and performance logs.

This mapping allows for better visibility on how changes to business functions impact the IT and business landscape. This improved visibility improves the efficiency of test execution and the coverage available for automated testing while reducing defects by identifying related defects. METIS also helps in improving developer productivity by providing architects and developers with analytics on running code. In addition to using METIS to improve its own application development services, LTI is also offering it as licensed software to provide a parallel revenue stream.

A similar approach is being taken by CSS Corp. Its largest business segment focuses on customer experience and enterprise support and it is applying intelligence to enhance these labor intensive services. Positioned as the first touchpoint with customers has enabled it to capture significant data which it is looking to leverage to better align IT and business and improve its service delivery. As an example, CSS Corp is creating an integrated digital service management and support ecosystem for a networking company where it delivers customer support services. For this company’s healthcare clients, CSS Corp was able to use automated tools to streamline the process of assessing and replacing equipment that has failed, accelerating delivery and reducing ticket resolution.

Further aligning IT offerings with business value

Leading services providers are also looking to be innovative in directly aligning their IT services with the client achieving its business objectives.

As part of its ADMNext offerings, Capgemini has developed a model which aligns the delivery of its application development and maintenance services to specific technology transformation and business objectives. The approach places these services as the foundation of a client’s transformation, freeing up client resources (budget and employee time) through the application of automation to allow for greater focus on transformation initiatives that evolve the client landscape. This transformation is positioned across three levels of internal change: technological transformation from modernizing the IT landscape; business transformation through transforming service delivery processes; and disruptive services by applying new and innovative technologies to fundamentally change business models.

Innovative offerings

TCS has had a dedicated innovation facility located in Pune, housing ~300 dedicated researchers separate from its broad service delivery campuses (further details on TCS’ research and innovation function is described here). This center looks both at building assets directly applicable to service delivery and broader research topics. Examples of current research topics include:

  • Developing a digital twin for an enterprise that leverages machine learning to model how to optimize enterprise operations
  • Machine learning targeting workforce management, fraud and money laundering detection and information and knowledge extraction
  • Developing digital twins of human organs to eliminate animal testing
  • Real-time recipe analysis of steel content to ensure optimal strength
  • Cybersecurity for both cloud workloads and IoT
  • Applying cognitive capabilities to tailor media to customer needs.

Summary

In our visits to the India campuses of these IT services firms, we were impressed with the level of investment they are all placing on innovation, both in developing new offerings and in transforming their core services.

Leading IT services providers are taking a range of approaches; all have a clear sense of direction as to how they are building differentiation and also gaining credibility in positioning as thought leaders with their clients.

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