Creating world class IT infrastructure in India

Som Satsangiin conversation with Dr Ravi Gupta, outlines his vision for the growth of HP’s business in India. He points out the work that HP is doing for  major government departments in the country

Som Satsangi

Som Satsangi
Vice President, Sales, Enterprise
Group, HP India

HP is the global leader in IT. The company also has a significant presence in India.What is your outlook on the government market in India?
For our enterprise business, the government plays a very significant role. We look at the government from many different verticals. There are projects that are being funded by the Central Government. There are those that are the initiatives of the State Government. There are also the Public Sector related initiatives. Major PSEs like IOCL, NTPC or BHEL and others have different kinds of needs that we are ready to provide. In fact, we are engaging with many different governments globally. If we look at the US Federal Government, whether it is the US Navy or the US Armed Forces, we are doing a lot of work in those organisations. Providing cutting-edge technology to government organisations has always been a huge business for us. In India, we have started from the Compaq days. HP PC continues to be very popular in the country.

The e-Governance field has made lot of progress during the last few years. What kind of work is HP doing in the e-Governance area?
In e-Governance area, we have done fairly extensive amount of work. We look at the e-Governance vertical from the state perspective, centre perspective and the PSU perspective. We distinguish between the three verticals because different kinds of solutions are required for each. In the centre, we have organisations like the UIDAI, the NIC and many e-learning portals that are doing excellent e-Governance work. The centre decides the policies and framework in accordance to which the e-Governance solutions are developed and implemented. The power reforms that have been undertaken during the last few years have led to a lot of e-Governance happening in the sector. The Accelerated Power Development & Reforms Programme (APDRP) has been very  successful.

The banking and insurance sector is also growing very fast in the country. The  government is also taking lot of new initiatives in the name of financial inclusion. How is BFSI sector doing for you?
In the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) area we enjoy a pretty good market share. We are doing lot of hard work in this area. We would appreciate if the government could speed up the process of new solutions development and deployments. There are some large tenders that we got more than one or two years ago, and now we are waiting for them to take off. We are the lowest bidder for these projects. The price at which we are prepared to
work is highly competitive.

Please tell us about the ways in which the rupee-dollar fluctuations are having an impact on your business?
Some of our government bids were placed when the dollar was hovering in the range of Rs. 44-45. Manpower can be managed, but on the customs duty we have no control. We are struggling due to the dollar-rupee price fluctuations. We are working in various government ministries to find out ways by which we can manage the rapid currency fluctuations. It is not only us; no OEM can absorb such high fluctuations. That is one of the reasons that some of the large and complex projects we execute take a lot of time and the organisation goes into making losses. The PSUs are more manageable. It is rare for any PSU tender to go on for more than one year. Even in states the projects get executed in a more timely manner, probably because there could be lot few pulls and pressures being faced by regional governments.

In the last two years we have seen lot of new initiatives coming up. We have projects like the UIDAI and many others being launched by the government. What are the ways by which such projects have contributed to the growth of the government market?
Earlier we used to have small teams based out of Delhi. Now we have multiple teams sitting in each of the geographies helping us in doing our work for various government departments in centre and states. There is healthy growth in the work that we do for both–the centre and the states. In the next couple of years this business is going to be big. Some of these projects, like Aadhaar, will get implemented. Today, we can’t even imagine the kind of e-inclusion and financial inclusion that Aadhaar can lead to. Every department will have some kind of connect with Aadhaar, so many organisations have started working on those things. In the next couple of years we are going to see big investments from the government happening.HP will be playing a very critical role from technology standpoint and from enablement perspective.

What is your view of the kind of work that HP is doing? 
HP is the only organisation which has such a wide range of products and solutions. We are offering a range of devices, technologies, desktop to laptop to handheld devices, server, storage, networking and much more. So we are the only company that has all the software tools, which can be managed and optimised to the last dot. Then, we have technological services and enterprise services to ensure our delivery capability to deliver from a normal project to most complex project, which may be required in government. We are in a position where we can work it out and help the government.

What is the impact of your solutions? Can you give us some examples where your solutions are at work?
We have executed the e-Procurement Project for the Government of Karnataka. We have done the entire e-Procurement for them. Karnataka is the first state in the country to have the e-procurement system. We did implement this project and the impact today is so paramount that this is rated as one of the best e-auction and e-procurement sites across India. The system is leading to a lot of savings every month for the state government and that is why other state governments have started demanding such solutions.

In the BFSI space, creating the core banking solutions have been the thrust area. It has created bid e-inclusion. We have done work for Bank of Baroda and Bank of India. Another project that I would like to mention is the one that we have done for the Director General of Employment and Training (DGET). This is a vocational training programme, one that is dedicated to creating skilled workforce for crop mixing and other things. We have also worked with the NIC very closely for the completion of large and complex IT projects. The projects that we have done with the NIC are now being used by government departments at the centre and in the states.

Going forward, how do you see the business outlook changing in India?
Currently our population is close to one billion; it could even be more than one billion. To cater to the needs of so many people you need high-end technological solutions. We need to develop and implement technologies that will enable us to make a difference in the life of every human being.