Indian giant targets new unit at finance

New subsidiary underscores Tata Consultancy Services' renewed focus on banking and finance, and sets ambitions for hosted services.

India's largest IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has established a new business unit to focus on its banking and finance portfolio of IT products.

Called TCS Financial Solutions, the new business unit will sharpen the company's focus on banking and financial services products, said Krishnan Ramanujam, chief operating officer of TCS Financial Solutions. The business unit will also have separate management team, with sales, support and product management offices in New York, London, Zurich, Beijing, Sydney and Bangalore.

"It enables us to behave as a pure products company, with TCS being a preferred partner for [its] excellent systems integration capabilities," Ramanujam said in an interview with ZDNet Asia. "The best of both worlds can now be available to our customers in one package."

Ramanujam said TCS' banking and finance services business is one of the strategic growth drivers for the company. The Indian company already has a gamut of products from core banking to anti-money laundering--a portfolio that it has also beefed up in the last few years through the acquisition of Australia's FNS and Switzerland's TKS.

Ramanujam said: "For a number of years, we've recognized that products and solutions are a way of achieving our growth objective. Now, we believe this new business unit is the next logical step in our journey."

According to Ramanujam, TCS' banking and financial products have "done extremely well" in the last 18 months, particularly in the capital markets and commercial market segments.

During its last fiscal year ended Mar. 31, 2007, TCS' banking and financial products business grew 66 percent from US$120 million to US$170 million. The company touts a financial customer base of 214 companies across 80 countries, including the State Bank of India and Bank of China as key customers in the region.

Ramanujam added that while the revenue contribution from banking and financial services to TCS' total revenues of US$4.3 billion in the last fiscal year is still a "single-digit" number, "our aim is to increase that to a significant number in the next few years".

With the new business unit, TCS has set out "great ambitions" for the ASP (application service provider) delivery model for its banking and financial service portfolio, Ramanujam said.

Despite its limited ASP deployments--two customers in Egypt and one in South Africa have subscribed to its hosted banking and financial services--TCS is confident the business will pick up.

"We have a long way to go, but we've started laying the foundations for doing this on a very big scale in future," Ramanujam said, adding that most customers either license products from TCS with implementation services, or adopt TCS' frameworks and platforms that can replace parts of a core banking system.

TCS will not rule out future possibilities of setting up similar business units for other vertical industries, including retail and travel, Ramanujam said.