India’s digital drive inspires me: Michael Dell

May 1, 2018 0

By Sourabh Kulesh

Las Vegas– Complimenting India on its digital drive, Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, said that he gets inspired by what the country is doing to transform its society and economy.

“IndiaStack, for example, is a world-leading concept and as a techie, I get very inspired by what India is doing. It is an amazing government-led effort,” Dell said in response to a question by IANS, while addressing the media at the Dell Technologies World 2018, one of IT industry’s premier events, here.

Michael Dell (Photo: Dell)

IndiaStack is a set of APIs that allows governments, businesses, startups and developers to utilise a unique digital Infrastructure to solve India’s problems towards presence-less, paperless and cashless service delivery.

“Governments should understand that the Internet, broadband and fiber are really important in next generation of the society,” he said.

Saying that 5G would expedite the digital transformation globally, he said that “governments have to figure out 5G to amplify their productivity or else they will fall behind other countries.”

“5G is a big enabler of the digital transformation process,” Dell said, adding that companies in the future would have to make better use of their data to stay ahead of the competition.

“Success is going forward in a very different way from the past. It starts with company’s data that make product and services better, which in turn generates more data. Companies are now using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to use this data in the maximum effective way. 5G is just around the corner that would expedite this process better,” he added.

He said that the data is the rocket fuel for AI and this technology should be used in an effective way.

Stressing that technology strategy has now become a business strategy, Dell said that consumers globally are using the latest technology offered by the company to amplify their productivity.

“We talk often about technology solving our greatest challenges and we are making progress more quickly than ever before. Customers continue to embrace Dell Technologies as their essential infrastructure company in increasing numbers,” Dell said.

At the event that started on Monday and which is set to attract over 14,000 visitors, Dell Technologies also felicitated its eight industry leaders-customers for their excellence across all stages of the digital transformation journey.

State Bank of India was one of the “Trailblazer Award” winners, along with Volvo Cars/Zenuity, Travelers and Unidad de Conocimiento.

Trailblazers are the customers who are one of the forward-thinking companies making progress in the areas of digital, IT, workforce and security transformation.

“Not only are these leaders realising their digital futures through technology innovation, but they are creating an exceptional experience for their employees, customers and communities,” said Karen Quintos, Chief Customer Officer at Dell.

Besides implementing a converged private Cloud-based data storage, State Bank of India, the largest public-sector bank in the country, also recently opened a major innovation center to explore the integration of emerging technology, such as nlockchain, AI and ML.

The “Innovator Award” winners included Ford Motor Company, Bank Leumi, AeroFarms and Johnson & Johnson. (IANS)

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Infosys bets on digital technology to drive business

Apr 23, 2018 0

Mumbai– Global software major Infosys will invest more in digital technologies to drive business and look for strategic inorganic acquisitions, a company official said on Monday.

“As digital is not just about technologies but driving business outcomes, we will invest more in it as we are well positioned in it (digital),” Infosys Chief Executive Salil Parekh told analysts at a meeting here.

U.B. Pravin Rao

Presenting the company’s strategic direction, Parekh said there was tremendous loyalty and expectation from the clients on digital future.

“As lot of core areas needed digitsation, we are working on them,” he noted.

Admitting that the company had built its strategy on what the clients were telling its executives, Parekh said there was a huge growth in digital, which was a disruption in the IT industry through technology.

“We are not only digitising core areas, but also combining all our services to drive business outcomes for our clients instead of merely selling technologies or services,” said Parekh.

The Bengaluru-based company plans to scale its digital business, which contributed $2.8 billion in fiscal 2017-18, energise its clients’ core technology landscape via artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, re-skill its techies and expand its localisation in Australia, Europe and the US.

“Navigating Your Next’ is our aspiration of how we will partner with each one of our clients”, Parekh said in a statement on April 13 after declaring the company’s financial results for the last fiscal (FY 2018).

Digital offerings contributed 25.5 per cent ($2.79 billion) to the company’s annual revenue of $10,939 million in fiscal 2017-18.

The company added 73 clients during the quarter, taking the total to 1,204 for the year from 1,191 quarter ago and 1,162 year ago.

Parekh also spoke on the four pillars of the company’s new business strategy — scaling up of its agile businesses, which brings more relevance to the future of its clients; energising core of AI; re-skilling employees to move into data and cloud andA localisation into its markets such as the US, Europe, Australia.

“We are ready with a digital framework for clients and have built a pentagon of 5 dimensions for digital business,” said Parekh.

According to the company’s estimates, market opportunities in digital are at about $160 billion and growing at 15 per cent or more.

“We are going to first scale our agile digital, helping our clients go on their digital journey, which is a large market,” he added.

The company has drawn a three-year road-map to achieve its digital goals — to stabilise the company in the first year, start the momentum in the second year and accelerate where it can have more share of clients’ relevance in the third year.

Infosys has projected a robust revenue growth of 9 per cent in dollar terms for the fiscal 2018-19 despite its net profit declining 28 per cent sequentially in the fourth quarter of the fiscal 2017-18.

“Consolidated revenues are expected to grow 7-9 per cent in dollar terms and 8.2-10.2 per cent in rupee terms for fiscal 2018-19,” the company said on April 13 while announcing its financial results for FY2018. (IANS)

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TCS first Indian company to touch $100 bn in market cap

Apr 23, 2018 0

Mumbai– Riding high on robust quarterly results and a weak rupee, IT bellwether Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Monday emerged as the first Indian listed technology company to cross the $100-billion mark in terms of market capitalisation (m-cap).

The IT major — whose shares rose over four per cent to a new high of Rs 3,557 per share on the BSE during market hours — overtook its global peer Accenture, which has a market value of $98 billion dollars.

“It is a very proud moment for all of us. TCS has been able to create value consistently by making the right investments not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of creating capabilities, building leadership and talent, seeding new markets and developing scalable world-class solutions,” N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, said in a statement.

Tata Consultancy Services (Photo: Twitter)

“I would like to thank our shareholders for their continued support,” he said.

During market hours, the m-cap of the company touched around Rs 675,934.95 crore or some $101 billion ($1=Rs 66.395) on the BSE (around 11 a.m.).

On closing (at 3.30 p.m.), the m-cap of the company stood at Rs 653,767.50 crore or roughly $98.47 billion. Shares of TCS closed at Rs 3,415.20 per scrip, up 0.26 per cent.

“TCS crossed $100 bn in m-cap in trade today, becoming the first Indian company to do so. In the process, it just got ahead of its global peer Accenture. TCS continues to execute dependably for a company of its size,” Deepak Jasani, Head, Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Though the number one company Apple — with a marketcap of $840 billion — is much ahead of TCS, India has reasons to be proud of TCS. Having delivered over 22 per cent CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) returns over its 14 years of listing, it has made many Indians wealthy in its journey,” he added.

On Friday, the IT major’s shares had surged over 7 per cent to Rs 3,419.80 per share, taking its m-cap to over Rs 6.50 lakh crore or around $98 billion — close to the $100 billion mark.

The company’s shares had surged a day after its quarterly results announcement, which reported a net profit for Q4 at Rs 6,925 crore — up 4.6 per cent — from Rs 6,622 crore in the same period in 2017 and up 5.8 per cent sequentially from Rs 6,545 crore a quarter ago.

It also announced 1:1 bonus shares of Re 1 face value to its investors at the end of fiscal 2017-18.

“TCS had surged by nearly 7 per cent on Friday, making investors richer by over Rs 40,000 crore in a day. TCS, part of the salt-to-software conglomerate Tata group, reported Rs 32,075 crore as income from operations — a rise of 8.2 per cent from a year ago,” said Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls.

“It also announced a 1:1 bonus of shares and a dividend of Rs 29 a share, taking the total payout to shareholders at Rs 50 for the year. TCS has given out close to Rs 26,000 crore to the shareholders in dividends and bonuses in the year,” Desai told IANS.

In a regulatory filing to the BSE, the global IT services, consulting and business solutions organisation on Monday said it has been positioned in the ‘Winner’s Circle’ in HfS Research’s “Enterprise Artificial lntelligence(AI) services 2018 Blueprint”.

“The digital era is going to be a large opportunity for TCS. Organisations are transforming into real-time enterprises driven by data, analytics and automation irrespective of its business and TCS is well positioned to make an impact and continue to deliver value,” added Chandrasekaran. (IANS)

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At 190 mn, India has second largest unbanked population: World Bank

Apr 19, 2018 0

New Delhi– About 190 million Indian adults still don’t have a bank account, second only to China, despite the account ownership more than doubling from 35 per cent in 2011 to 80 per cent in 2017, a World Bank report said on Thursday.

The Global Findex Report released on Thursday said there has been a rapid increase in financial inclusion with the number of account holders in the country having risen from 35 per cent of the adults in 2011 and 53 per cent in 2014 to 80 per cent in 2017.

It said at 80 per cent coverage, it was comparable to the number of adults in China who have an account.

However, it added, despite having a relatively high account ownership, India — along with China — claims a large share of the global unbanked population because of its sheer size.

It said while China is home to 225 million adults without a bank account, India has 190 million. They are followed by Pakistan (100 million) and Indonesia (95 million).

“These four economies, together with three others – Nigeria, Mexico and Bangladesh – are home to nearly half the world’s unbanked population,” the report said.

However, it also noted the “dramatically increased account ownership” in India and attributed it to the Jan Dhan Yojana policy which has used biometric identification to expand access to financial services.

The report states that about 51.4 crore accounts have been opened globally from 2014 to 2017.

According to the government data, the total number of Jan Dhan account holders has risen from 28.17 crore in March 2017 to 31.44 crore in March 2018.

The total number of current and savings accounts have risen from 122.3 crore in March 2015 to 157.1 crore in March 2017.

The report also notes the reduced gender gap in ownership by 6 per cent compared to 2014, with 83 per cent men and 77 per cent women now having an account. (IANS)

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Facebook not yet ready with digital payments on Messenger in India

Apr 19, 2018 0

New Delhi– Facebook has no plans as of now to bring digital payment facility to its Messenger application in India, informed sources said on Thursday.

“There are currently no tests planned for recharges or peer-to-peer payments on Messenger in India,” the sources told IANS.

Mark Zuckerberg

Factor Daily had reported that Facebook has begun a beta version of recharge payments for mobile phone and other prepaid services on Messenger.

“Mobile recharge option is a Facebook ‘Marketplace’ offering — which is actually going on as a pilot test which is right now available to only Android users in some regions,” the sources added.

Launched in 2016, Marketplace is a user-to-user exchange platform for buying and selling goods with others within the community.

Currently, the peer-to-peer payment service on Messenger is available for its users in the US and the UK.

More than 1.3 billion people around the world are now using Facebook Messenger every month. The growth of Messenger now puts the app at par with Facebook-owned WhatsApp which also has over 1.3 billion monthly active users (MAUs).

WhatsApp, however, has rolled out the testing phase of its digital payment feature in India — a first such move globally — which will be officially rolled out to its over 200 million Indian users in the days to come.

When launched, the new payments feature is set to give a tough competition to Paytm and other digital payment services like Google Tez. The payments feature would take advantage of UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and include support by a number of banks, including the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank. (IANS)

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Fuel price: Pradhan wants petroleum under GST

Apr 2, 2018 0

New Delhi– Petroleum products should be brought under GST so that consumers can get the benefit of price rationalisation, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday, a day after transport fuel prices in Delhi hit record highs, even as cleaner Euro-VI grade petrol and diesel supply began here.

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

Speaking at an event here to mark Sunday’s launch in Delhi of the “cleanest available” Euro VI emission norm-compliant BS VI fuels, in place of the earlier Euro IV grade, Pradhan recalled how the Central government had cut excise duties on fuels last year in the face of rising global crude prices and some states had followed suit by cutting local taxes.

“On prices we have nothing to hide… petrol, diesel are international commodities and whenever there is a hike or fall in global rates we pass it on to the consumers,” Pradhan said, noting that prices change on a daily basis under dynamic pricing.

“India is a consumer sensitive country and the government has cut excise duties last year… some states also reduced VAT on fuels. States should now respond accordingly and responsibly.”

“In this regard, I appeal again to the GST Council, finally this product has to come under GST (Goods and Services Tax) so that the consumer can benefit from price rationalisation,” he said in a reference to states not being in favour of including petroleum in the new indirect tax regime for fear of losing excise revenue.

The price of petrol in Delhi on Monday was at Rs 73.83 a litre, which marks a four-year high, while diesel was at an all-time high of Rs 64.69.

Pradhan also noted that the price of the Indian basket of crude oils had gone over $70 a barrel by the close of trade on the weekend.

State-run IndianOil Corp (IOC) Chairman Sanjiv Singh said though massive investments had been made to supply the improved BS VI fuel, Delhi consumers are not being passed on any of the additional cost of production for the time being.

He said a mechanism for recovering the cost would be worked out when the entire country shifts to Euro-VI grade fuel.

The April 2020 deadline for the country to implement BS-VI grade fuels had been advanced for Delhi to April 1, 2018, in view of the extremely high levels of air pollution.

Singh also said the Euro VI fuel combined with the lesser grade cars and two-wheelers, presently available, would result in 10-20 per cent reduction in particulate emission in Delhi but for full benefit, the vehicles too need to have Euro VI engines.

In this connection, Pradhan suggested that auto manufacturers can make the minor remodifications required for the domestic market to the Euro VI compliant vehicles that they are currently exporting.

“It would require that they change the left-hand drive of these export cars to the right side… but are SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) prepared to do so,” he asked. (IANS)

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US-based Conduent expands India operations, to create 5,000 jobs

Mar 29, 2018 0

Visakhapatnam– New Jersey-based Conduent Incorporated on Thursday announced to expand its presence in India by opening a new location in Visakhapatnam that will help create 5,000 jobs in the city in the next two years.

A global leader in digital interactions with operations in 35 countries, the Visakhapatnam site will be the company’s ninth location in the country.

“The entry of global businesses like Conduent to the city is a sign of the city’s growing stature as a business hub. It is yet another example of how investing in a highly-skilled, educated workforce boosts the local economy, creates jobs for the youth and strengthens the State,” said Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu at an event here.

The new site will become a key business location, helping Conduent India deliver innovation globally, in technology, transportation, healthcare, public safety, human resources, process automation and operational excellence.

Conduent India employs nearly 12,000 people across nine locations in the country.

“India is a strategic growth region for Conduent. As a digital interactions business that serves Fortune 500 companies and government entities around the world, being a part of this dynamic geography is the right move for our clients and our people,” said Dave Amoriell, President, Conduent Inc.

The launch came less than six months after the company announced a three-year timeline for setting up a development centre in Visakhapatnam’s fintech valley.

“Visakhapatnam provides access to a new professional labour market focused on technology, innovation and research,” Amoriell added.

Conduent is the world’s largest provider of diversified business process services with leading capabilities in transaction processing, automation and analytics. (IANS)

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Idea-Vodafone merger in final stages of approval: Telecom Secretary

Mar 27, 2018 0

New Delhi– The merger between telecom majors Idea Cellular and Vodafone India is in the final stages of approval, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on Tuesday.

Aruna Sundararajan

“The Idea-Vodafone merger is in the final stages of approval. Because they have got the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) and Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) clearances, but there are some FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) approvals that are involved, there are some liberalisation of licences,” Sundararajan said on the sidelines of an event organised by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

“So, there are a number of clearances, it is not a one-step clearance,” she added.

Sundararajan said the National Telecom Policy was in its final stages of drafting after which it would be taken to the Telecom Commission for approval and then to the government.

The Secretary expressed hope that the roadmap for the fifth-generation (5G) network in India would be ready by June.

Addressing the COAI event on ‘Catalysing 5G launch in India’, Sundararajan said: “The 5G technology evolution is expected to enable new services, connecting new industries, various forms of devices, and empower new user experiences, to support expanded connectivity needs for the next decade and beyond.”

Said Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, COAI: “The new standards finalised by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) and this meeting of experts will enable Indian telcos to transition to new technologies while ensuring that the demands of various sectors is well met.”

The 3GPP is a mobile communication industry collaboration that organises and manages the standards and development of mobile communications standards.

“It develops standards for many of the mobile communications standards from GSM through UMTS and LTE to 5G now,” the COAI said in a statement. (IANS)

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UP opposition slams BJP’s government’s go ahead to power privatization

Mar 26, 2018 0

Lucknow– The Uttar Pradesh assembly witnessed an uproar on Monday as opposition legislators protested against the Yogi Adityanath government’s recent decision to privatise electricity in five major cities of the state.

Terming the decision “unfortunate”, the opposition accused the BJP government of playing in the hands of the corporate houses.

Yogi Adityanath

Protesting against the cabinet go ahead for privatization, Samajwadi Party members walked out of the House.

The state government however justified its decision, saying that this would lead to better and adequate power supply to the people. Power Minister Shrikant Sharma said that the move stemmed from the commitment of the BJP government to provide better power supply to the people, while clarifying that private companies would only be involved in revenue collection and minimizing line losses.

He also categorically denied that production and transmission of power was being passed on to private players.

The minister also assured the house that the power arrears of state government departments would be cleared and deposited within one year and informed that a process of installing prepaid meters in all government offices and buildings has been initiated.

Leader of the Congress Legislature Party Ajay Kumar ‘Lallu’ however said that the decision of the state government was very unfortunate. He also drew the attention of the minister and the state government that power employees in the state were demonstrating on the streets and had snapped the power connection of the Darul Shafa complex, where many MLAs live.

He also said that the threat by power employees’ organizations that they will go on a statewide strike on March 27 was a worrying signal, as this could plunge the state into chaos. (IANS)

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Vodafone-Idea merger: Kumar Mangalam Birla to be Non-Executive Chairman of new entity

Mar 22, 2018 0

Mumbai– Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla will be the Non-Executive Chairman of the merged company which will combine the business of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

Kumar Mangalam Birla

According to a BSE filing by Idea Cellular on Thursday, the current Chief Operating Officer of Vodafone India Balesh Sharma will become the Chief Executive of the combined business post merger.

The BSE filing said that Sharma will be responsible for the combined business’s strategy and its execution as well as driving integration.

Aditya Birla Group, Chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Vodafone Group, Chief Executive, Vittorio Colao were quoted in the filing as saying: “We are pleased to announce the proposed management team for the new company to be created through the merger of Idea and Vodafone India.”

“The team has extensive operational experience and is an excellent blend of expertise from both companies. We look forward to the completion of the merger and competing as one company in the marketplace.”

As per the filing, current Chief Financial Officer at Idea Akshaya Moondra will be the CFO of the merged entity, while Deputy Managing Director at Idea Ambrish Jain will become its COO.

“Vodafone and Idea continue to make good progress in securing the required regulatory approvals for the merger, in keeping with the Modi Government’s commitment to improve the ease of doing business in India, and completion is expected to be in the first half of the current calendar year,” the filing said.

“The existing leadership teams of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India will continue to manage their separate businesses and be accountable for each company’s operational performance until the merger becomes effective. It is only upon completion of the merger that the two businesses will cease to operate as distinct and competing entities.” (IANS)

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