Chennai, July 6, 2015:
“Intellect Design Arena is like a start-up for me,” says its Chairman and Managing Director Arun Jain, describing this software products venture formed last December, after being de-merged from Polaris.
“Technology companies that don’t reinvent themselves are doomed. We need to re-invent ourselves constantly. And, that’s what we have done in the past and will continue to do,” said Jain. Jain started the Chennai-based Polaris Software Lab in 1993 and since then has had an eventful journey. In 2014, the software service (PolarisFT) and product business (Intellect Design) were de-merged, with both as listed entities. Excerpts from an interview:
After the de-merger, how are things shaping out?
With separate management everything has gone peacefully from all perspectives such as market, customer, stakeholder and investor.
We took a major step and at that time many were apprehensive about how the Intellect brand would survive and how the customer would accept Intellect. But now six months later, it is doing good for both customer and investor. So, that’s the current state.
Was the de-merger timing right?
I think the timing was right when the business was $100 million. We kept a milestone that to sustain as an Indian company it should be a Rs. 600-crore company. It is a viable company and for two years in a row doing around Rs. 600 crore, we said it was the time to take a major step on the de-merger. If these two companies (now Polaris Consulting and Intellect Design) were together, we could not have invested $20 million because the investor profile of the two companies is different.
There were concerns about the de-merger. Has it settled down?
Since we did the de-merger announcement, the combined stock has almost doubled due to investor confidence.
What is the foundation on which Intellect Design was started in terms of equity, investment and people?
It started with 3,400 employees, initial cash of Rs. 300 crore and around 125 clients in 45 countries. Top clients include Lloyds Bank and Bank of Montreal in Canada.
What’s the USP of Intellect Design?
It is product quality and new technology. In the banking technology space, in the last 10 years, no new product company has emerged because it requires a huge amount of investment. With the background of Polaris, we were able to invest Rs. 100 crore every year. In the US and Europe, there is no such company with the latest technology. Most of our competitors have products that are 20 years old and now technology has changed substantially. That’s why we are in the best position in the digital space. Our products will have fundamental technology that is digital ... while they (competitors) have an old legacy architecture on which they are overlaying the digital architecture.
What are the challenges that you may face?
Our challenge is to grow substantially and faster without making any delivery error. What we are promising to the market is that we will deliver 100 per cent to that agenda. So, delivery on time in full is our key agenda because whatever we are promising is the most critical thing in this space.