The Economic Times: May, 2013
Bangalore: India's information technology industry body Nasscom has created a separate unit to drive its newfound enthusiasm for software products, and has set a target of increasing by nearly five-fold revenues from products by 2020.
The product council of the National Association of Software and Services Companies will be chaired by Ravi Gururaj, a serial entrepreneur who is the cofounder of a seed-stage angel fund Frictionless Ventures. The formation of a product council is one of the measures proposed by a committee headed by NR Narayana Murthy, the chief mentor of Infosys. The panel was established to bring Nasscom up to date with the current needs of the industry.
In 2012-13, Indian software products notched up around $2.2 billion (Rs 12,000 crore) in revenue, of which 30% came from the domestic market. The aim is for $10 billion (Rs 55,000 crore) in sales by 2020.
"Product companies and startups are the next growth engines for the industry," said Krishnakumar Natarajan, Nasscom chariman and CEO of software firm Mindtree. Nasscom, which represents India's $108 billion (Rs 5.9 lakh crore) software services sector, has been facing criticism from smaller and newer members for its inability to adequately address the aspirations of software product companies. In February, around 30 product companies formed a separate grouping called Indian Software Product Round Table (iSpirt). "We are a think-tank; we frame policies. As a trade body, Nasscom can lobby with the government to make them happen," said Sharad Sharma, one of the founder-members of iSpirt, welcoming Nasscom's move.
A survey of 100 product companies by Nasscom found that 68% felt market access and customer acquisition were key concerns. Raising funds and other capital related issues came second, followed by finding the right talent and scaling operations. Gururaj said the Nasscom product council would help in establishing large one, with small and medium businesses adopting locallydeveloped software products.
Areas such as cloud, softwareas-a-service, big data and analytics, social and mobility are large global opportunities.
"Technology is getting consumerised and this is where the numbers are," said Som Mittal, Nasscom's president. "If you solve a problem, you have a ready market," he observed, citing InMobi, Zoho and Slideshare as examples.