Tata Consultancy Services is creating a product brand for its artificial intelligence (AI) product Ignio and has hired from US companies to drive sales of the standalone product, a move that analysts say is akin to building a software company with a different model to its traditional services.
The company is working to ensure the Ignio brand is a standalone with a separate website that has minimal TCS branding. Digitate, the unit that houses Ignio, is only once referred to as a TCS venture.
If you want to sell Ignio as a product, you have to create a product brand. TCS as a services brand is humongous. We have to make sure that the product can stand on its own. It is deeply embedded in TCS, but from sales and branding perspective, you have to create an identity, Harrick Vin, global head of Digitate, told ETin an interview.
Vin added that initially clients were not necessarily clear about whether they would be locked into a services contract if they chose to use Ignio. The branding strategy, together with a revamped sales organisation, is meant reduce that uncertainty.
We have created a sales organisation that is driving a lot of direct product-led sales. We are going to customers where there is no service RFP and where TCS is not a service provider. We are entering those organisations with Ignio, Vin said.
Currently, there are at least 10 sales executives from US product companies at Ignio.
Vin said the pipeline for Ignio as a standalone product was much larger than that for a services contract. He added the company was also focused on patents as a driver of valuation.We have filed for 80 unique patents globally. Any product company will build a significant portfolio of patents. If you look at valuations of startups and product companies, they are often driven by IP portfolio. Strategically, it is an important thing to do.
Indian IT companies have so far always sold their AI platforms as part of services and TCS is among the first to sell it as a standalone product. TCS has taken a different approach to automation and cognitive computing than its competitors in the amount it is spending and that it is building its own software from the ground up and then attempt to sell it independently of its services,Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO at IT advisory firm Everest Group, said.
Bendor-Samuel said TCS, together with InfosysBSE -1.93 %, was the first Indian IT company to invest in intellectual property, but that its stable leadership over the years had helped it be consistent in its strategy and investments. We will stabilise at this level in the near future. It is a product organisation, not a services organisation. The unit is also in the process of making Ignio a cloud-based product, which will be sold on a software-as-a-service model.When we put Ignio on cloud, we are also opening up Ignio studio, using which you can build apps for Ignio and make it do different things. We will open everything up. It will become much of an open platform, Vin said.
Analysts also say TCS will have to better explain its vision for Ignio, even though it ranks among the top of the industry. Clients are confused by all of these IT services platforms and the service providers are struggling to articulate their value and align them to real business needs and Ignio is no exception. Our research shows TCS is really pushing the envelope, recently ranking as high as fifth in the industry for its AI capabilities for enterprise operations, Phil Fersht, CEO at HfS Research, said.
Source: Economic Times