Bangalore: Sun Microsystems Inc. chairman Scott McNealy’s visit to India, beginning Wednesday, comes at a time when the country has become an important cog in the computer server company’s global strategy.
Not only is India among the fastest-growing markets for Sun products and services, it is also adding around 40,000 software developers trained in Sun technologies such as the Java programming language every quarter.
In 2006, Indian enterprises such as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Reliance Industries Ltd, Bharti Airtel Ltd, Reliance Infocomm Ltd, and ICICI Bank Ltd bought Rs1,500 crore worth of products and services from Sun, and 51-year-old McNealy’s trip will focus on back-to-back customer meetings.
“Mr McNealy will be meeting several key customers apart from addressing CEO (chief executive officer) forums in Mumbai and Bangalore,” said K.P. Unnikrishnan, director strategic alliances and teleweb sales, Sun Microsystems India.
Indian software exporters Infosys Technologies Ltd and Wipro Ltd are some of the other clients using computer servers, workstations and data storage products from Sun.
The company has its largest pool of software engineers outside the US in Bangalore, which currently has around 1,400 professionals.
“We have been growing our business at 35% on an average every year,” Unnikrishnan added.
The growing importance of India as a market comes at a time when the company is witnessing sluggish sales in the US, and is attempting to increase revenues from emerging markets.
Chief executive Jonathan Schwartz admitted last month that Sun faced the tough US and UK markets in the company’s third quarter to March.
Customers such as New Delhi-based Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) K.S. Bajwa said it was concerned about “Sun’s ability to understand the overall IT system, which requires adequate expertise in business applications and different databases”.
Bajwa is the former technology head of the bank and now heads PNB’s operations, payments and settlement division. The bank, which has bought over 150 servers from the company, was one of the early adopters of Sun’s Sparc range of servers.
McNealy will be delivering the keynote at Sun’s Technovate event in Mumbai on Thursday and address around 200 chief information officers in the city later in the evening.
“On Wednesday, he will be meeting with several key customers in Delhi, apart from calling on officials in the government,” Unnikrishnan said.
In the past few years, Sun has restructured its product lines many times in order to position itself as an end-to-end provider of tech infrastructure to the businesses. The strategy included acquiring storage firm StorageTek in 2005 for $4.1 billion.
“As a hardware vendor, Sun is a very strong company and we actually had no problem there,” Bajwa admitted.
For the fiscal year ended June 2006, Sun had net revenues of $13.1 billion, and more than 38,000 employees in around 100 countries.