Encore buy

With Encore buy, Wipro eyes DX edge in fintech

by | Oct 30, 2020 | Digital Transformation, IT Services

The technology major has invested over INR 18 bn this year in acquisitions to strengthen its digital transformation capabilities.
Share to lead the transformation

Indian IT Services major Wipro continues its acquisition run this year to strengthen its digital transformation and cloud capabilities. After acquiring 4 companies earlier this year,  Wipro has now entered into a decisive agreement to buy Encore Theme Technologies, a SaaS and Cloud solutions provider in financial services, for INR 95 crores.

Headquartered in Chennai, Encore Theme implements a broad suite of Trade Finance solutions, developed by Finastra, one of the world’s largest fintechs to bolster digital transformation support for financial institutions across the globe. The purchase will enable Wipro to further fortify its capabilities to modernize the IT and digital infrastructure of financial institutions.

Encore buy

The acquisition of Encore Theme is subject to customary closing conditions and likely to close in the quarter ending December 31, 2020, Wipro mentioned in a statement. This transaction represents Wipro’s fifth buyback this year, with an overall investment of INR 18 bn in purchases in 2020.

Businesses are taking rapid transformation routes toward next-Gen integrated cloud technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), and analytics. To successfully overcome the ongoing crisis and emerge stronger in the growing virtual ecosystem, enterprises seek smarter IT environments and accelerating their digital transformation efforts.

IT services companies realize the importance of network transformation-related investments that can help meet growing clients’ needs to construct agile, integrated, and insights-based network architectures. This brings a unique opportunity for the IT Services firm to bring more value to businesses.

Along with Wipro, several other IT Services firms such as Infosys and HCL are on an acquisition spree this year, utilizing their cash reserves to fortify their digital transformation and cloud offerings. (See: Infosys buys GuideVision to boost Dx capabilities)

Supporting networks modernization

Wipro’s aggressive push toward acquisitions is also likely to lead to increased investor confidence in the future. Wipro is now having much more capacity and packaged offerings to deliver its services to enormously investing in IT infrastructure modernization.

This year, Wipro’s notable acquisitions include 4C, IVIA Serviços de Informática Ltd, and Eximus Design. (See: Wipro’s 4C buy to firm up its Europe presence)

Along with the latest Encore buy, Wipro also announced its plan to expand its strategic relationship with IBM to strengthen its Hybrid Cloud Practice. The practice is an initiative led by IBM to support global system integrators and independent software vendors to enable their clients to modernize workloads for any cloud environment.

In its Q2 results announced last month, Wipro posted a 3.2 percent sequential growth in consolidated profits and 3.7 percent QoQ growth in IT services revenue, ahead of the previous industry estimates. The results reflected strong growth across all its verticals.

At BM NXT research, we expect Wipro’s revenues to get a significant boost in the next two to three years because of its strategic investments this year and the organization’s continuous efforts to build capacities for remote working. Wipro, however, will need concrete execution efforts to gain a larger market share than its peers in the industry.

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Tipping point for 5G networks likely in 2023, says Report

Tipping point for 5G networks likely in 2023, says Report

Despite an aggressive push, the 5G technology could take about five years from now to demonstrate compelling use cases. According to a new 5G report from consultancy major PwC, the year 2023 will be a defining year when 5G is likely to hit a tipping point. Titled, Making 5G Real, the report highlights that the networks’ performance will significantly improve in countries like the US where 5G has already been launched.

According to PwC, in the US, 80% of the population is expected to have 5G coverage accessible at home or work by July 2021. However, the performance of 5G networks remains uneven.

This, according to the consultancy major, is mainly because carriers and device manufacturers are facing a massive challenge to push the consumer upgrade cycles and meet deployment milestones.

There is no doubt that 5G will inevitably make deeper inroads into the network ecosystems and open up new exciting revenue streams for telcos and enterprises. However, its snail-paced growth is a big worry that the industry is currently wrestling with.

Multiple factors delaying expansion

There will be several variables that will define the capabilities of 5G networks. The successful use cases of 5G are still minimal and likely to emerge at scale only in the next three to five years. For instance, one of the hyped use cases of 5G, the fully autonomous car, is yet to mature, and most automobile manufacturers have pushed their timelines in this regard.

While the COVID-19 pandemic could be a reason for the delay in 5G rollouts in many countries, it is also true that countries such as India see no immediate need to make heavy investments in the 5G networks. This is mainly because a significant section of their subscribers is from the low-budget category.

The robust networks and availability of mass 5G devices will play critical roles in making this blazing technology available for the masses. The 5G device ecosystem could also take much longer to mature than many industry onlookers may think.

The rollout of different generations of mobile networks has always taken many years to mature. However, with 5G, expectations were rife that the technology would become mainstream sooner because 5G standards were adopted faster due to better interoperability with the previous network standards.

Even in the countries where 5G has been launched, the customer experience is not up to the mark till date and needs a lot more polishing. The devices are a tad expensive and also consumes more power than the 4G devices.

Enterprises should use this time wisely

Most organizations worldwide are currently in various stages of deploying new technologies, enhancing their service delivery, revamping communication strategy, and improving operational efficiency. There is a more significant push toward enabling new industrial applications such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), IIoT, and AR/VR. Evolved 5G networks will be critical for businesses to run applications based on these technologies. (See: Here’s how 5G could be a catalyst for IIoT and Industry 4.0)

While the technology itself could take up to five years for mass adoption, PwC cautions enterprises that they might risk rushing into the wrong 5G investments or failing to act soon enough. They recommend that businesses use this time wisely to transform themselves for new 5G services such as the internet of things (IoT) and monitoring and assurance solutions. (See: CIOs to focus on network transformation for business continuity)

Since most enterprises are already undertaking digital transformation journeys,  it would be a good idea to integrate their 5G strategic goals and brainstorm how 5G could help them improve their products and services once the technology is mature.

Here’s how 5G could be a catalyst for IIoT and Industry 4.0

Here’s how 5G could be a catalyst for IIoT and Industry 4.0

Over the last few years, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), as a key constituent of Industry 4.0, has gained much ground, transforming how businesses manage their manufacturing operations. IIoT includes several advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), analytics, and blockchain to help enterprises move towards lean manufacturing and automated processes. Now, with the advent of 5G, the potential of IIoT could be harnessed even better.

5G has so far largely garnered attention in the consumer market. However, the capabilities of 5G are increasingly recognized in various business markets. There has been a greater push from organizations as well to democratize the availability of digital, especially in the wake of COVID-19 related disruptions.

With reduced latency and blazing speed, the fifth generation of wireless technology has an enormous potential to bring agility, speed, and mobility to many conventional strategies in areas such as predictive maintenance, demand forecasting, and anomaly detection. (See: Telcos eying the edge opportunity for 5G growth)

Need for reliable power

The majority of IIoT use cases are currently based on wired connections, which are insufficient to address manufacturers’ various sensitivities. The quality and dependability of connectivity determine the success of any implementation. Modern production units primarily use Wi-Fi technology to support IoT connectivity, which consumes a lot of power and relies heavily on stable wired connections for backhaul and data offloading. There are limitations to the legacy networks that affect the scaling-up of the manufacturer’s digital transformation goals.

For instance, large-scale IoT transformations cannot be entirely dependent on Wi-Fi. Even cellular technologies such as 2G/3G and LTE are either slow, have latency issues, or use large amounts of energy to support IIoT. This is where a technology such as 5G could be a gamechanger!

When propelled with 5G speed and AI-based analytics, manufacturers can predict problems, analyze them in real-time, and minimize production downtime.

5G enables manufacturers to build high-precision assembly lines where all IoT devices and robotic processes could be perfectly in sync with each other, on a real-time basis. According to Wipro, one of India’s top IT Services firms, due to the high capacity, wireless flexibility and low-latency performance of 5G, IIoT deployments in the manufacturing segment stand to gain considerably. 5G has the potential to enable high-speed connectivity without the cost and complexity of fiber optic cables. And this makes 5G a natural choice for high precision manufacturing environments.

In addition to providing a robust network, 5G’s built-in security features can also help manufacturers integrate covered layers into the basic network architecture and ward off security issues if any.

Not without challenges

Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson, while agreeing with the superior capabilities of 5G to support different manufacturing use case, raises a pertinent challenge of a disconnect between three perspectives among manufacturers: the understanding of cellular capabilities, how they enable different digital solutions, and finally how these solutions address manufacturers’ actual pain points.

Besides bandwidth, the other major challenges that any IIoT deployment faces is interoperability, lack of compliance on the part of IoT manufacturers, and limited user awareness. In 2021, as we see 5G rollouts expanding in major countries, telcos worldwide would explore various collaboration routes to address the above-listed issues as well.

Globally, mobile network operators such as AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Sierra Wireless, China Mobile, Verizon have been collaborating with manufacturers to test and showcase 5G capabilities for IIoT manufacturing and improve the overall factory environment. 

Rajesh Aggarwal joins Aamor Inox as Head of IT

Rajesh Aggarwal joins Aamor Inox as Head of IT

Rajesh Aggarwal

Rajesh Aggarwal

Aamor Inox has roped in Rajesh Aggarwal to head the company’s IT department in India. Aamor Inox is a leading maker and exporter of cold-finished long products in specialty stainless steels in India.

In his new role at Aamor Inox, Rajesh will be responsible for designing and implementing the cybersecurity policy and executing the ERP.

Prior to Aamor Inox, Rajesh Aggarwal was with the JBM Group, where he was responsible for designing and executing the IT business strategy. He has earlier worked with companies such as Jindal and Jagsonpal Pharmaceuticals.

Rajesh has more than three decades of rich IT management experience in developing, designing, and implementing IT business solutions, and has a deep understanding of ERP systems.

In his earlier role, he has carried out a re-implementation of SAP ECC (6.0), implementation of Industry 4.0, and upgradation from SAP ECC(6.0) to SAP HANA, among other things.

Rajesh is an MBA in Finance from IGNOU. In his free time, Rajesh enjoys reading spiritual books and listening to music. Better World wishes him every success in his new role.

About Aamor Inox

Aamor Inox claims to be India’s most advanced producer of “specialty stainless steel” long products. It produces materials in a wide-ranging steel grades like Austenitic, Ferritic, Martensitic, Heat Resisting, Duplex and 17-4ph steels in various heat treatment conditions including Quenched Tempered, Annealed, Solution Annealed, etc.

A capability to manufacture 60,000 tons stainless steel bars per year makes the company one of India’s largest privately held stainless long products companies,.

For other recent C-Track movements, click here.

AI, ML see rapid uptake in measuring customer loyalty

AI, ML see rapid uptake in measuring customer loyalty

The COVID-19 has transformed the way businesses function. In the wake of social distancing measures that are likely to remain in place for an extended time, a large pool of customers are swiftly moving toward new-age digital and mobile marketplaces. Moreover, the tendency has transitioned from just brand to purchase experience, quality of service, and customized needs. This has driven top CRM players to realign their AI-based offerings in line with the growing enterprise need to measure customer loyalty effectively.

According to a McKinsey report titled “The Quickening,” e-commerce has experienced the same amount of growth in three months during the COVID that would have erstwhile taken ten years. Due to this, consumers are going with fitting, reliable brands and have the products and services they are looking for.

Microsoft has also echoed similar sentiments in its blog. According to Microsoft, COVID-19 has greatly changed consumer behavior, and consumers are now buying more online and gravitating toward contactless pickup of purchases. It adds that retailers who invest in digital technology are better positioned to deal with this new shift and stay connected with existing customers while also attracting new ones. Use of AI and ML to measure customer loyalty has become increasingly relevant for businesses.

Battle of the giants

Understanding this new shift in consumer behavior, global CRM leader Salesforce has introduced a new brand loyalty management solution that will enable its customers to strengthen customer trust and engagement. The latest offering has been introduced, keeping in mind the rapidly evolving unique enterprise needs to reward and retain their customers amidst the global pandemic.

Starting in February 2021, Salesforce will integrate the new brand loyalty solution with Salesforce Digital 360Service Cloud, and Tableau, allowing enterprises to offer a customized loyalty experience across the entire customer journey.

Salesforce said that the solution would help enterprises of all scales and sectors to launch more customized experiences. According to the company, enterprises can leverage this solution to expand their loyalty programs to stay current with customer expectations. It can also help drive business value by creating loyal, lifelong customers. (See: How will AI impact enterprise ecosystems in 2021? )

Salesforce, though, is not the only CRM leader trying to capitalize on this new opportunity. Microsoft too is continuously looking at making its Microsoft Dynamics 365 more evolved and enable its customers with deep, intelligent insights.

Another CRM major SAP has been quite aggressive in leveraging AI and ML learnings to improve customer interactions. In October last year, it launched a new SAP Customer Data Platform to connect every data source in an organization and external data to create unified customer profiles. SAP claims that the tool enables enterprises to provide a complete understanding of customer preferences and behavior.

Technology to play a big role

Most businesses are looking at leveraging advanced technologies and solutions to understand customers’ specific needs. There has been a growing focus on smart solutions based on artificial intelligence and analytics, which can help organizations determine the best ways to engage with specific customer needs and include promotions and offers based on real-time data. For example, a retailer can identify which of his customers are near a store, using geolocation-based notifications or whether customers have used their bonus points or can be offered some new incentives to get them back.

In 2021 and beyond, enterprises, especially, retailers will see the growing adoption of tools based on artificial intelligence to deliver unique customer experiences and drive impactful brand engagements. Top CRM players such as Salesforce, Microsoft,  Oracle, and SAP are expected to add new machine learning capabilities in their CRM offerings to enable their users to automate the customer loyalty measurement process and deliver more incredible customer engagement benefits.

Telcos eying the edge opportunity for 5G growth

Telcos eying the edge opportunity for 5G growth

Top telecom operators are rapidly building strong foundations for future 5G networks. The next-generation wireless technology, which is ten times faster than the current LTE networks, has the potential to transform people, processes, and policies innovatively. Given that many global service providers have turned to bolster telco edge capabilities and putting them at the core of their 5G infrastructure goals.

According to a GSA report, as of December 2020, 140 operators in 59 countries/territories have introduced commercial 3GPP-compatible 5G services. In the next couple of years, 5G is expected to make substantial inroads in many countries, including India.

However, to leverage the real potential of 5G, telcos need to develop new structures that can provide continuous support for high bandwidth and low-latency applications and effectively execute their administration. This is where the Telco edge could help win big!

Evolving business needs

As 5G moves to the mainstream, Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as autonomous cars, connected appliances, and robotic processes, gain the necessary fuel to communicate and share data faster than ever. Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson estimates around 5 billion IoT connections by 2025, up by the existing 1 billion connections today. That’s huge! Such a spread connected network will also result in an explosion of data that could strain the existing cloud ecosystems.

The biggest challenge will be: how to manage, process, and deliver this high volume data and support low-latency based real-time applications using prevailing communication networks in a secure, reliable, and efficient way.

Telco edge enables enterprises to lessen reaction processing to milliseconds, thereby eliminating the need to transfer data to the centralized cloud. By taking cloud services and resources together, edge deployments provide benefits such as latency reduction, bandwidth scale, and mobility support, imperative for the next-Gen time-sensitive applications and services.

Edge will enable mobile network providers to move the value chain upward and unlock new revenue streams. It adopts cloud-native technologies to distribute the network infrastructure cost, just like Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering.

Collaboration route for ample opportunity

With 5G services growth inevitable in the near future, top Indian telecom service providers, such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and VI are also gearing up to further their edge clouds and leverage it as a new revenue opportunity. India’s service providers can take a cue from many global telcos who are aggressively building a distributed cloud approach.

While ‘edge’ may be uncharted waters for telcos to date, the year 2021 is likely to be a defining year from the telco edge deployment perspective. South Korean wireless telecommunications operator SK Telecom and Japanese Telecom operator KDDI recently launched 5G edge cloud services. American multinational telecom company, Verizon as well is exploring the potential of AI at the Edge of the network to locate and provide necessary real-time support to relevant IoT resources. Companies like Renovo, a connected car startup, and electronics giant LG are among the organizations testing telco edge services on Verizon’s network.

Many other telcos worldwide are screening the automated environments and investing in AI and machine learning capabilities to save OPEX and open-up new exciting revenue streams in the 5G networks.

However, telcos are not the only ones battling for their share in the edge computing market. Global hyperscalers such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon are building their edge capabilities and have their unique strengths, such as global reach and high investment potential for R&D.

The year 2021 is likely to see both Hyperscalers and mobile network operators forging strong partnerships to enable AI and Edge use cases.

 

The new WhatsApp policy has stirred up a hornet’s nest

The new WhatsApp policy has stirred up a hornet’s nest

Pavan Duggal

Dr. Pavan Duggal, Indian Cyber Law Expert

“I’m surprised that WhatsApp has done this even though India is their largest market. Effectively this means that WhatsApp, apart from sharing personal data, also discloses your transaction-associated information, which means including your credit card number, your debit card number, and your bank details. At the same time, they will share the IP address of users. It’s a very perilous situation, especially in a country that lacks a strong legal ecosystem around cyber laws and data security. Such policy changes can upsurge the probabilities of misusing users’ data by anti-social elements.  I strongly believe that people should count on more secure platforms such as Signal and Telegram for their messaging needs now.”

Gagandeep Kaur

Gagandeep Kaur, Indian telecom market observer and commentator

“This policy change will force users to re-think their use of WhatsApp. WhatsApp users need to change their usage patterns, and if possible, find other messaging platforms that have stricter data privacy policies. I’ve been using WhatsApp since its inception for virtually every aspect of my conversations. But with new integration and privacy policies, I plan to filter my conversations, particularly regarding my banking details. WhatsApp and Facebook should stop taking people for granted.”

If you are a WhatsApp user, it is quite likely that you would have seen a notification from the messaging application that it has updated its privacy policy. WhatsApp has said that it will inevitably begin sharing users’ data with Facebook in a month’s time. According to WhatsApp, all WhatsApp users need to read and accept the new terms before 8 February to continue using its services. Those who do not accept the policy will have to give up access to their accounts.

The revised policies will allow WhatsApp to share various forms of user data with the Facebook platform. What is more concerning is that the data could be accessed by multiple third-party applications that a WhatsApp user may use on Facebook.

While the cross-platform messaging solution remains end-to-end encrypted, which implies no one can access the content of WhatsApp’s messages and calls, the new policy means sharing a host of critical user information. It includes information about a user’s location, IP address, mobile operator, timezone, phone number, and receipt of a Facebook or WhatsApp account. Additionally, conversations associated with business accounts will now be shared with Facebook.

A step change

The social media giant has backtracked from its earlier stance as an advocate for user privacy. One must recall that in February 2014, at the time of WhatsApp’s acquisition, the US-based Facebook maintained that it would keep the messaging company autonomous, discarding any overlap concerns with Facebook or Messenger app.

That apart, Facebook’s past record, when it comes to user privacy, has been far from stellar. The social-media giant has often been accused of surveillance and data-mining by internet watchers.

In early 2019, data of 49 million Instagram users and 419 million Facebook users were disclosed. In 2020, another hacking scandal erupted where cybercriminals leaked personal details of 267 million Facebook users. As per media reports, the leaked database was available for sale on the Dark Web without any password for just under $600, intensifying concerns around SMS spam and phishing.

The business case for new-alternatives

Facebook-WhatsApp integration may not be brand new since WhatsApp had been in one form or the other was sharing user information throughout its corporate family. However, compared with what has happened previously, the user does not have the option of not sharing his personal data.

There is no doubt that the new WhatsApp policy will dilute users’ privacy and trigger intense debate around data security and finding new alternatives to the social messaging app.

The question is: should users search for a more secure alternative to WhatsApp? At present, there are various alternatives such as Telegram, Signal, Snapchat, and Hike, for Indian users. Telegram has an upper edge explicitly since it was developed to contest WhatsApp’s dominance and has already gained a substantial presence in the Indian market. It also claims to have the multi-data center infrastructure and encryption policies superior to WhatsApp.

“Use signal,” Tesla Founder Elon Musk had tweeted in response.

Better World has designed a quick survey, aimed at garnering a consolidated view of users’ response to the policy change announced by WhatsApp.

Please click here to take the survey. 

Your participation matters. On the survey’s completion, Better World will share the link to the report 

Deepak Kumar

Deepak Kumar, Founder Analyst and Chief Research Officer, Better World | BM Nxt

“This policy change has the potential to trigger a longer-lasting debate than being envisaged now. It raises a fundamental question: does a service provider have the right over user data just because it is being shared or stored with the platform? The ramifications could be wide and deep, and regulators will likely step in to redefine the finer contours of privacy.”

 

Jatinder Singh

Jatinder Singh, Director – Strategy and Insights, Better World | BM Nxt

“Given the history of privacy breaches faced by Facebook, it is understandable that WhatsApp users should get concerned about sharing their personal information. However, it needs to be seen if WhatsApp’s abandonment is a viable option, especially for a country that has become heavily dependent on its use. Overall, the move could cause a dent in the growth aspects of WhatsApp in India and give an opportunity for competiting messaging platforms to expand their presence in the Indian market.”

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