IBM to focus on banking, infra sectors in India

IBM to focus on banking, infra sectors in India

Bangalore: IBM will focus on providing its services to the banking, infrastructure and public sectors along with its key telecom sector in India, a significant market for the world’s largest technology services firm, the chief of its Indian unit said.

Last month, IBM topped expectations for first-quarter profit and revenue, partially driven by strong performance in the red-hot markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, where revenue was up a combined 26% over a year earlier.

The company already has a strong presence in India’s telecommunications sector with clients including Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular.

“We are also now focusing on several other industries like banking and public sector and in the infrastructure space, particularly in the airports and energy utility area," IBM India’s managing director Shanker Annaswamy told a media briefing on Thursday.

IBM has already won contracts from State Bank of India, the Indian Railways, the Delhi and Hyderabad international airports among others, he added.

The company will also look to build its presence in the smaller cities of India, where it sees growth, he said.

“Another area where we see very big potential and is yet to be tapped is outside of the metro towns," he said. “The next level of towns are big enough for creating business opportunities."

IBM provides strong competition to home-grown software services exporters -- Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies Ltd and Wipro, who lead India’s near-$60 billion IT outsourcing sector.

The Indian companies have planned wage hikes of up to 15% to keep employees from being poached by firms like IBM and Accenture, even as they battle the technology giants for contracts.

Last year, IBM won a 10-year contract from Bharti to manage the computing technology and services that run the Indian firm’s mobile networks in 16 African countries. Bharti acquired the networks last year from Zain.

IBM also manages Bharti’s IT infrastructure in India in a 10-year deal, which began in 2004 and had an initial value of about $750 million.

IBM’s operations in India include providing hardware, middleware and technology services, back-office services, consulting and research and development.