by July 1, 2010 0 comments

If you are looking for innovation, then the IT/ITES segment can’t be ignored.
In our last year’s Best IT implementation survey, we saw IT/ITES segment going a
cut above the rest as far as technology usage was concerned. Many IT/ITES
companies for instance, had moved to Web 3.0 while other industries were still
struggling to even figure out Web 2.0. This year again, we noticed quite a few
interesting trends in the IT/ITES segment. These go beyond project deployments.

Product Trends
One trend we noticed was that there were a lot of companies who nominated
interesting IT products that they had developed. While these could not be
qualified for the Best IT awards, as they were ‘products’ and not ‘projects’,
they were interesting nonetheless, clearly indicating the fast pace at which
technology is being developed by this segment. Many of the products were in fact
from small Indian companies. One of them was Prakhar Devanagari Font Parivartak,
which is a software that converts ASCII/ISCII devanagari text into unicode text
with 100% accuracy. The advantage of doing that, according to the creator of
this software is that unicode fonts can be searchable on the Internet. Many
govt. sites are using ASCII/ISCII fonts, which are not searchable. This software
can therefore do wonders for them.

Another very interesting product was My Mobile TV, which is basically a
Mobile TV application wherein a user can watch live TV on the go. The
application works on both 3G and 2G networks, and has been created by a company
named Apalya.

A third interesting product that was nominated included an interactive kiosk
with audio/video/data connectivity, serving as a self-care and sales channel.
The kiosk has broadband Internet and video telephony, which enables connectivity
with a live executive and a transaction ready card reader with a printer. This
serves as personalized, live-agent services at key customer presence points
without actually having a physical outlet there.

Hopefully, next year, these companies would have some real live case studies
to share of how they deployed their products across various organizations and
nominate those projects for the awards.

Implementation Trends
As far as IT implementations go, there’s a whole range of different types of
projects being deployed by the IT/ITES segment. Of these, the highest number of
deployments we received were for security and risk compliance related
implementations. This obviously makes sense because most IT/ITES companies are
working on sensitive data of multiple customers, most of whom are foreign
clients. Therefore, such mandates for ensuring data privacy and security are
usually governed by the customers. The Indian IT/ITES companies must comply with
such requirements in order to compete in the market.

Security and risk compliance
There were several interesting security related projects, ranging from
access management to license management and control, to content security. On the
risk compliance side, the projects were largely related to automation of
security procedures to mitigate risks associated with any of the processes.
Managing risk is a challenging task for any organization, especially if the
organization has a complex technological infrastructure and is located across
multiple locations. For such companies, improper handling of risks is also
‘risky’, as it can lead to legal issues and liabilities. The problem becomes
even more challenging when you have multiple processes running, which are being
managed by multiple teams. So we found solutions, such as those by IBM Daksh,
being deployed that allow teams to do self-assessment for privacy and security.
The solution has an inhouse web-based self assessment tool comprising of
questionnaires related to commonly expected controls from clients who’ve
outsourced their process handling of sensitive personal information like credit
card numbers, health information, and other financial data. The various business
and functional heads answer self-assessment questionnaires and based on their
responses, the tool automatically calculates the risk rating. After collating
all information, higher risk functions are reviewed in greater detail.

Another risk compliance solution was deployed by the same company was a data
leakage prevention tool, which prevented data theft from insiders. The solution
monitors all inbound and outbound traffic from the network and prevents or sends
off alerts as per the pre-configured policies. The solution has an out of the
box policy template for HIPAA, PCI, GLBA, SOX, and other applicable US/European

Web-based solutions
Here again, the IT/ITES segment is using some very complex solutions. One of
them, the proactive performance risk analysis and remediation project by Infosys,
is also a winner of one of the Best IT Implementation awards. The project
essentially monitors 150+ web applications for their performance. These
applications are being used by internal Infosys employees. In case any
application’s performance is likely to deteriorate, the system automatically
detects it and raises alarms so that the problem can be rectified in time. There
are also a lot of smaller IT/ITES companies, who’re in the process of setting up
simple solutions, such as an online yellow pages, or a travel portal.

Other interesting implementation trends
Besides security, risk compliance, and web-based solutions, we also observed
many other interesting types of projects. One IT/ITES company deployed an ERP
solution to completely automate their financial and many other processes,
resulting in increased & authentic statuary conformance, elimination of
reconciliation efforts, etc.

A few companies also took green IT initiatives to become more eco-friendly by
reducing carbon footprint, as well as saving costs. For instance, iGate, the
well known IT company deployed a simple printing governance solution to save
paper. Essentially they used a reduce/recover-reuse-Recycle (3R) methodology to
make the environment a better place to live & work in. This initiative would not
only help in saving trees & environment, but also a lot of cost to the
organization. They implemented it on a pilot basis and based on the print
statistics collected across the printers they observed that the high utilization
was due to lack of awareness about paper conservation among employees. So
various options were implemented that helped in reducing non-business related
printing including educating employees, encouraging digitization & designing a
continuous control, etc. So after a thorough analysis across various business
groups, an allocation limit was put in place for each business unit & its
members. Not only this, they choose a comprehensive printer accounting and
management suite which provided quota management for printouts and security for
prints sent by the users.

Vivek Gupta, Head, Application Compliance & Information Security

What according to you are some of the key challenges that your
industry faces today, which haven’t yet been resolved by using IT?
For an outsourcing organization, information security and data privacy
is absolutely vital for business. Our clients place their trust in us and it
is critical that our controls posture is such that our clients are
comfortable in doing business with us.

Some of the key challenges are Classification, storage & handling of
personal and Sensitive personal information (credit card numbers, PAN/SSN,
Health information across the enterprise. Technologies available that make
possible the commission of frauds and security incidents by circumventing
security tools and controls. For e.g Fixes available on the internet to
bypass content filtering tools. Insider threats to business for eg
disgruntled employees who use their knowledge of internal controls to cause
damage to the organization. Ensuring compliance to various regulatory and
contractual requirements in relation to data Privacy & Security for e.g  –
ISO27001, PCI, BASEL, BITS, HIPAA . Identification and mitigation of
business risks in processes, technology and people, across a large diverse
organization handling various kinds of business verticals.

Another green IT project was deployed by Infosys to address the business
needs, by leveraging existing investments. A virtualization solution was
deployed across their storage & server stacks. More physical servers were
consolidated into high end blade servers. The benefits of this are quite
obvious-savings in power & cooling, lesser real-estate, faster provisioning,
better utilization, and reduction in the overall TCO.

Future Outlook
After a detailed analysis we found out that Cloud Computing seems to be a
key technology/focus in the IT/ITES sector and many enterprises are keen to use
it as a platform. Implementing Cloud computing as a platform will help
enterprises save capital cost as it would direct them towards operational costs.
There might also be some challenges faced by the enterprises as when they plan
to move their IT infrastructure to the cloud, and then some control over their
information infrastructure and processes gets relinquished.

An approach known as secure the cloud, which is a risk-based evaluation of
the cloud environment can help in identifying gaps in security measures. This
approach encompasses, security, privacy, compliance, scalability, data leakage,
etc. Talking about security, its assessment includes data encryption, risk
management, user access, data storage location, incident response, etc. Also
it’s very important for an organization to know that the cloud supplier can
adhere to all its risk-management practices.

Moving to scalability and speed, a lot of time can be easily cut down by
enterprises in buying and setting up of hardware, software, etc which are
necessary to support a new application. Moreover as per their requirements they
can do faster deployments, scale up and scale down their usage of services
during peak hours of activities.

Another interesting trend we found was that many organizations are keen to
adopt mobile and GPS based solutions. As 3G is making news all over the country,
so the trend is more towards the mobile based solutions that can easily run on
GPRS/ 3G enabled mobile phones.

From the above facts & information we can say that cloud computing is gaining
momentum & the cloud will become a mainstream solution in the coming years.

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