Among peers, Wipro uses verticalisation and SAP in “nexus” strategy

Margaret Goldberg, Associate Analyst, IT Services

Ovum analysts attended Nasscom in February and had the opportunity to discuss many of the leading Indian providers’ strategies for 2013 and beyond. The “nexus” of mobility, cloud, analytics, and social media, and the rush to develop strategies around it, came to the fore throughout the event and continues to be a common topic in vendor discussions.

As we noted in our StraightTalk opinion immediately following the conference (Nasscom needs to redefine remit to reflect maturity of Indian IT sector), the market is still waiting for clear answers on how vendors plan to differentiate themselves in these segments. In a later report, we will dive deeper into this theme and how it is playing out among the major service providers.

One example we have seen is Wipro’s effort to differentiate itself by verticalizing its offerings, including its social media suite of services. In addition, we believe it is making a smart move by playing to its strengths in analytics and its partnership with SAP, as well as pushing initiatives structured around SAP’s Business Suite on HANA, analytics, and mobility.

We have, however, heard similar messages from all of the major vendors. We believe there is still a level of confusion around these technologies, especially within the less mature social and analytics spaces.

Merging HANA, analytics, and mobility

During Nasscom we had a chance to sit down with Wipro and talk through its strategy in the social, mobility, analytics, and cloud spaces and how this ties into enterprise application services, particularly SAP and HANA. We noted several innovative initiatives focused on integrating mobility and analytics in SAP Business Suite on HANA, providing a critical use case for the product.

We believe this focus on analytics is a smart move for Wipro. It has a long history of innovation in information management services and analytics, and it continues to bolster its capabilities; it expanded its analytics offerings through the Promax acquisition in March 2012 and is poised to capitalize on SAP Business Suite on HANA.

Its peers are looking to pursue the same strategy, and they see mobility and analytics as key to this. However, Wipro’s strength in analytics, including its “analytics-as-a-service” offering, should provide some level of differentiation from the hype and chatter around social, analytics, mobility, and cloud.

Building up mobile analytics using HANA will allow Wipro to play to its strengths and begin to differentiate in these much-hyped technologies. However, we are still to see any of the Indian vendors clearly articulate their strategies to the market in this space – Wipro included.

Social media comes into vertical focus

One of the key themes at Nasscom was Indian vendors’ attempts to compete with global juggernauts (the likes of IBM and Accenture) by trying to be everything to everyone, and this theme continued across the social, mobility, analytics, and cloud areas. While some vendors have begun to articulate more focused strategies, most still struggle to find their differentiator. We advise Indian vendors to focus and play to their strengths.

For Wipro, at least in terms of its social media offerings, we are seeing the beginnings of a focused strategy along key verticals. These industries are telecoms, financial services, energy and utilities, and retail.

Looking at various social media trends in different industries, Wipro’s initiative is well positioned to take advantage of growing social media uptake among credit card companies. (American Express’s presence on several social networks, particularly Twitter, is a leading example of the evolving social CRM strategies in this industry.)

While retail and telecoms are more mature verticals in terms of social media adoption, there are still opportunities to provide social media services in these industries. We are particularly interested in how Wipro’s social media offerings play out in the energy and utilities sector, as we believe there is significant untapped potential for supply chain management.

The cloud, mobility, social, and analytics segments are still fairly immature on the supply and demand side. In our upcoming report, we will examine Wipro’s offerings in each of these segments. We will also examine how each of the Indian vendors is grappling with the challenges that these technologies present and how they are creating offerings to address customer demands and expectations.

Developing a coherent strategy around verticalization and the nexus of social, cloud, mobile, and analytics is important, but as we have seen from nearly all vendors, it is difficult to do this successfully.

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