Interview

IKF Technologies: Expanding horizons

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Since its inception in 2000, IKF Technologies Ltd been a consistent growth story in fields as diversified as IT, ITeS, ISP Services and Alternative Energy Resources, says Group CFO Mukesh Goyal

 

Tell us about the genesis of IKF Technologies and its journey so far.

IKF Technologies Ltd was incorporated as a Public Limited Company in February 2000 with the objective of promoting IT, ITeS, ISP Services and Alternative Energy Resources across the globe. It is one of the fastest growing IT companies and has successfully maintained its leadership status in catalysing renaissance in the Indian IT arena.

In 2006, IKF entered into a strategic alliance with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for technical and marketing collaboration, and the year next, it went into Jatropha plantation in the state of Meghalaya, which won it “Excellence Award” and “Rashtriya Udyog Ratna Award” by IES/ICSME for the company’s commendable efforts in the field of bio fuels.

In 2008, IKF signed an agreement with Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) for managing their calls from post-paid connections. In 2009, the company’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) Department initiated a number of VOIP-based and some other products and services in India, including Internet Broadband plans on WI-FI network.

The following year, we offered services to Bharti Airtel, Dish TV, Metlife India Insurance, Kotak Mahindra and Aircel Limited for providing the various IT and ITeS-based products and services. We also signed an MoU with Telecommunication Consultants India Limited (TCIL) to collaborate for taking E-Shiksha and E-Swasthya programmes to the masses.

The expansion story continued in succeeding years, as we tied up with Idea Cellular Limited, Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited (MTS), Virtual Global Education Limited (VGEL), Dishnet Wireless Limited and with BSNL for providing call centre services. In 2013, IKF won the prestigious Fourth Inc. India 500 Business Excellence Award as one of India’s Fastest Growing Mid-Size Enterprises.

The Telecom business has seen major changes in terms of technology and support. Brief us about the role played by IKF Technologies in this space.

IKF offers “A” class ISP services, which are licensed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India. The company has consistently pursued its strategy of providing a range of communication services to enhance the reach and leadership of its customers in the wholesale, enterprise and retail segments across different geographic locations. IKF Technologies Limited provides guaranteed bandwidth for critical business usage, reliable internet connection (24×7) with redundancy, resilient network, round-the-clock network/security monitoring and technical helpdesk, uptime guarantee 99.5 per cent, competitive SLA. Also, IKF Technologies-managed VoIP service is a reliable, high-quality, IP-based solution ideal for your international calling needs. We provide assured voice clarity on global network by leveraging our network to ensure superior backup and restorability, centrally managed, proactive, 24x7x365 support, mission-critical dependability and end-to-end service delivery. IKF provides special features like one-stop shop, reliable, premium internet access with superior call quality.

What are various verticals which you dabble into and how that changes the effectiveness of the sector?

Verticals we are present in are Telecom, IT, BPO, ITeS and Alternative Energy Resources. Indian ITeS-BPO segment continues to register strong year-on-year growth. In the last decade, India has strengthened its leadership position as an offshore destination. The   ITeS-BPO sector has become a major growth catalyst for the Indian economy given its multiplier effects on income generation and job creation. IKF Technologies Limited focused on addressing the specific needs & constant development of the industry. However, the industry faces a set of challenges which, if not addressed, may impact the current growth rate in the long run. It faces a challenge in talent management both in terms of its suitability as well as its attraction, development and retention. IKF continuously takes the initiative to maintain its position by addressing these challenges and sustaining the growth trajectory of this sector. We have adopted different policies and principles like employee-friendly policies, code of ethics, and safety and security of employees.

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With IT and ITeS businesses facing constant ups and downs, what challenges does the company face?

The Indian IT market has become a focussed market for several large Indian IT and BPO firms as well as various global IT giants. However, a highly competitive scenario creates pricing pressure in the market, which may affect gross margin of the company in the long run. Both the sector and, in turn, the company is facing challenges like low visibility, delayed decisions and different growth rates of various verticals, among others.

We overcame some significant challenges in 2013, particularly with trading suspension. As we move to 2014, we continue to lead the industry in expanding the business activities and continue to work with our all valued clients and gain confidence of all stakeholders. We have set high goals for 2014, and we expect to achieve those to continue to be able build value for our shareholders and maintain our position in the industry.

Nonetheless, we continue to look forward and utilise the resources at our disposal. This aids to further strengthening and expanding our operations, crystallising our growth plans and pursue excellence in terms of training and development, leading to better quality of service offered and perked-up customer satisfaction.

Please share a real case of an initiative undertaken at IKF Technologies.

IKF Technologies Limited has signed MoU for e-Mitra project with RISL (RajCOMP Info Service Limited), a company owned by the Government of Rajasthan, which owns, runs and manages the e-Mitra portal on behalf of the Department of Information Technology & Communications (DoIT&C), Government of Rajasthan. IKF Technologies will provide a host of IT and non-IT related services to the citizens through e-Mitra kiosk network.

IKF will deliver various G2C services—Government to Citizen services including services provided by various government departments to citizens, such as services of Aadhaar, Election Department, RGDPS (Rajasthan Guaranteed Delivery of Public Services), Right to Information, State e-Governance Services Delivery Gateway etc—and B2C (Business to Citizen) through e-Mitra kiosk network in urban and rural areas of the districts allocated to the service provider by RISL. Basically, under this project, IKF Technologies will help the state government collect across the area assigned by them. Initially, we have selected Jaipur, Sikar, Bhilwara and Chittorgarh districts in Rajasthan.

Company has many other plans to expand its business. However, at present we are focusing to expand our telecom business.

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