847RA Tata Cloud Initiative Could Signal Global Business IT Shift
In New Delhi on Feb. 15, 2011, Tata Consultancy Services (India’s largest IT services firm) formally unveiled iON, a cloud computing platform-based business and IT “solution” aimed at SMBs. The iON portfolio includes such business management applications as business analytics, HR, finance, inventory, and ERP, as well as baseline IT applications (e.g., e-mail, document management and Web site services). The business analytics and ERP software has been developed by Tata; many of the other applications are either open source or open-source-based. The offerings will also include vertical solutions for manufacturing, textiles, education, retail, quick-service restaurants, wellness and professional services. The basic offering is pre-configured with on-premises hardware (including PCs and notebook computers), network services, and software, and supported with Tata business and technical services. iON will initially be marketed and sold to SMBs in India; Tata plans to expand marketing and sales to other Asia-region, developing economies over the next two to five years. The company expects to realize more than $1B in revenue from iON over the next five years.
Cloud IT is not new in India or in Asia, or even to Tata. Sister company Tata Communications Services announced a Cloud infrastructure platform and IaaS services offering late in 2010. Competitor Infosys Technologies offers the “Flypp” platform for delivery of mobile applications, enabling mobile network services operators to set up branded “app stores.”
What makes Tata’s iON announcement most interesting is that it could signal a massive surge in Asian IT investment that could, in turn, position the region’s business IT use to leapfrog western markets; or it could fall flat. Based on our regional and global IT buyer and adoption research to date, we see it unlikely that there will be much of a middle ground. If it succeeds, Tata’s iON will be an example for current and would-be Cloud IT providers globally in how to succeed in (small) business.