Emerging Enterprises

Before I begin, it is important to provide this disclaimer.

Every organisation today’s relies on real-time data and voice transfer to conduct their business. It is therefore imperative for them to stay networked to their different locations and their people on the ground.

This article is not about that scenario.

Let’s look at today’s scenario. Companies are realising that they are spending on two fronts; a full scale service provider or providers (alternately termed vendor or partner based on business comfort) and a full-fledged internal IT team that monitors their progress on a regular basis.

The problem with technology is that it’s destiny’s child, prone more to the vagaries of the next big wave and relegating all previous achievements to the history books. In the process, it also renders much of the capital invested as redundant; especially so those that are Capex intensive. Quite evidently, Enterprises, whose core competency is not Technology, end up losing on two fronts. Capex invested and the refresh cycle of IT.

The early 90s saw Enterprises jump on to the ‘Outsourcing’ bandwagon. Anything that was not core was outsourced. And thus began, Indian Enterprises honeymoon with outsourcing. Now the entire outsourced IT portfolio cost them just a fraction of earlier, reduced their manpower count and refreshed their IT cycles in real time.

The freeing of Capex allowed enterprises to unleased a new growth beyond their traditional geographies, beyond their product portfolio and in some cases, beyond their core industry. So far, so good.

But the byproduct of this growth was the scaling up of their IT infrastructure. More infrastructure meant more people to monitor, internally.

In time, Enterprises were saddled with sizable IT teams to monitor their outsourced IT portfolio. Not exactly the scenario they set out to eliminate.

Towards the end of the first decade, a radical idea was put forth.

Should IT at all be a part of the core business or can it exist, function and flourish as a standalone enterprise?

Recent examples have proved that it is possible to have IT exist outside the body of the primary organisation and yet share a parentage. All this while chasing an agenda, business and profits of its own.

One such example is of the National Power Grid IT infrastructure build. A closer look at their charter will reveal that while executing the primary job of acting as the IT arm of the Power Grid, they are also empowered to run a profitable organisation of their own, thus converting a hitherto socialistic agenda into money spinner; if handled properly.

Let me elaborate.

Besides in a very simplistic sense providing a dashboard for the demand and supply scenario for Energy in the country, it is free to explore options to invest in features that will enhance its working cycle and mitigate the loopholes in the system, this while providing a transparent, simplistic and economical interface for both investors and consumers alike.

And if the bureaucracy can do it, private enterprises should not far behind.

I would, as the clique goes, love to take names here. But business etiquette implores me otherwise. And I can see these handful of companies as the Emerging Enterprises of tomorrow; ones who are not afraid to delist their IT functions from their core.

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