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A quiet revolution

Zafar Anjum | July 12, 2010
Indian IT company HCL, focused on 'transformational outsourcing', is trying to break the mould and shape a new destiny for itself as the brain behind new technologies, and in a seemingly historical move, is helping the ailing Japanese electronics giants to stand up on their feet once again. How is HCL doing this?

How are Indian tech companies helping the Japanese corporations in this renaissance? Can you give us some examples?

Japanese companies have abandoned their previous mandate to closely guard their home-grown technological expertise and are leveraging the expertise of global IT service providers for high-level engineering solutions. They have quietly turned to India for engineering solutions like embedded software, electrical, mechanical engineering services. The strategy, long advocated in the US market, is to have the in-house team focus on product innovation and new product strategy and leverage the partner to own product engineering.

One such strong example of HCLs engagements with a leading Japanese name is its successful relationship with Konica Minolta (KM), a global corporation in the field of imaging from input to output. HCL develops, maintains and performs R&D for the application and embedded software of KMs complete range of MFPs (multifunction peripherals) and printers. Further, in 2007, HCL announced the opening of an Offshore Development Centre (ODC) in Chennai for KM. The ODC works on the development of application software for MFPs and printers, development tools for customisation, and software to be built in computed radiographyKonica Minoltas major medical product. This helps KM enable an acceleration of its development activities and allows more qualified launch of innovative products to the worldwide customers.

What does it say about the Indian tech companies? Have they come a long way, from just being back-office support to the role of brainy innovators for international corporations?

Absolutely yes. It would be very accurate to conclude that Indian companies are fast evolving into brainy innovators of business and technology for international corporations.

HCL Technologies has been developing products over the last three decades with the last decade for global customers. US and European companies have explored the advantages of partnering illustrated by our 15-year relationship with a leading Telecom OEM where we run the largest third party development centre outside their headquarters. Japanese customers have opened up to outsider service providers like Indian ones in the last few years only and  the Indian IT industry, in general, and HCL, in particular, are seeing an  acceleration in strategic tie-up requests.

This encouraging shift in the outsourcing trend reflects that Indian IT service providers are no longer doing software support but developing advanced solutions powering various high-end consumer products like Plasma TVs, smart phones, heavy duty printers, cameras and diagnostic medical equipments coming out of Japan.

How will a company like HCL maintain its edge over its competitors in the innovation market?

Moving forward, HCL foresees a shift towards clients preferring outsourcing companies to share their long-term vision, risks, and rewards in developing product-based ecosystem to impact client experience. As part of this initiative, HCLs Engineering and R&D services (HCL ERS) is investing heavily in developing its own IPs and solutions to help customers impact the overall product ecosystem faster and better.


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