Animation, engineering services will be in focus: Nasscom chief

By Papri Sri Raman


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Chennai : Lakshmi Narayan, the new chief of India's IT body Nasscom, is fascinated by the animation industry and says this sector along with engineering services will be key focus areas in the future. .

"There will be no shift in priorities, but the area I want to emphasise is leveraging the existing strength of the industry," said Narayan, who was in April appointed chairman of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) for the year 2007-08.

"The future areas are going to be engineering services and the animation industry," Narayan, 55, told IANS in an interview. "As we go toward greater convergence, I would like to focus on new and emerging technologies."

"Companies from India can provide support services in design, drawing, architectural services, auto component designing, aircraft component designing…we have to look at new opportunities," he said.

Nasscom has said Warren brothers and MGM are looking at outsourcing some of its technology to India. "I am fascinated by animation technology," admitted the vice chairman, board of directors, Cognizant Technologies Solution.

Narayan holds a BSc, an MSc and an MBA degree from the Indian Institute of Science. He joined Cognizant in 1994 and has worked in the IT sector for 25 years in Europe, India and the US. He began his career at Tata Consultancy Services and became its regional head.

The U.S.-India Business Council recently appointed Lakshmi Narayanan to its board of directors. He is interested in cars and films – perhaps that explains his fascination for the animation industry.

"What Nasscom can do is make India's nascent animation industry aware of investment in quality, software and innovation so that we can compete on a global stage."

More than 1,000 IT companies in India are Nasscom members as are several multinationals operating in India.

"This industry is creating the new middle class. It has behaved in a responsible manner, being the highest taxpayer. It has been transparent. The Nasscom Foundation has helped many bright young people from the weaker sections of society to ladders of success."

Nasscom is a chamber of commerce set up in 1988 that serves as an interface for India's software and outsourcing industry with the state and union government playing advisor, consultant and coordinating body for the ITES/BPO industry.

It also helps research and has a social responsibility wing. It is a non-profit organisation funded by its members.

"Nasscom has built a great reputation for itself, lobbying successfully with the state to make the IT industry truly global," Narayan said. "Now its job is to see that India manages to retain the competitive advantage it has."

Nasscom's focus "will continue to be data protection", he said, recalling that in the earlier years, creating awareness about data theft and software and content piracy was one of its objectives.

The association played a key role in impressing upon the industry the need for innovation. As a result, this year the prime minister has given six innovation awards to IT/ITES companies, he noted.

"Nasscom has moved from being an organisation in the context of the license raj into a world-class promoter of innovation," he said.

By the year 2008, the Indian IT sector is expected to employ over 1.5 million people in customer care, financial services, HR services, payment services, administration and content development.

"We are still not a dominant player in the IT/BPO segment. The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have to be roped in…many of our SMEs have the capacity to turn into another Infosys…we have to tell them how."

Nasscom members also promote social development through the application of information and communication technology (ICT).

"We have been successful so far because of our focus on education. But East Europe, China, Malaysia, Singapore have all taken national stands on getting ahead in the IT sector," said Narayan who is not in favour of reservation in the private sector.

"I would like to see India's IT software and services exports grow to $60 billion in the next three years and for that we have to maintain our lead in education," he said.