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Issue of June 2005 

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Enterprise Packaged Software

Packaging business processes

Although investments in Enterprise Packaged Software have declined, dependence on these tools remains strong. The Infrastructure Strategies 2005 survey focusses on several trends in this regard. by Soutiman Das Gupta

We can expect EPS products to be more tightly integrated into business in the future

Whether it is an office suite, a relational database, application server or troubleshooting tool—Enterprise Packaged Software (EPS) is something all large businesses use.

Executive Summary
Packaged business processes

Enterprise Packaged Software such as databases, office suites, application servers and troubleshooting tools are used by most Indian enterprises, but the number of companies investing anew in EPS is lower as compared to the last year.

Power pill

Businesses rely heavily on EPS and the drop in the number of companies investing in this software does not mean that it has outlived its usefulness. It is just that revisions of EPS applications in the recent past have been less than impressive.

The IS 2005 survey pays special attention to this software which has been around since enterprises took their first steps in the world of computers (Remember dBase, Lotus-123 and Tally on DOS).

Although EPS is inseparable from an enterprise’s business functions, the survey reports that fewer companies will invest in it during the present fiscal (44 percent this fiscal vs. 54 percent last fiscal). See graph: Investment in technology areas - FY 2004-05 vs. FY 2005-06.

This does not mean that EPS has outlived its utility, because a company’s dependence on EPS will grow as businesses become more complex in terms of customer interaction, locations, workforce and product lines.

Fewer takers

Sagar Sule
Cyquator Technologies

It is perhaps because of their universality that tools such as Network Operating Systems (NOS), Web/proxy/mail servers, application servers and RDBMS have fewer Indian companies investing in them during the current fiscal.

Now, before we conclude that this spells doom for EPS—and subsequently a drop in India Inc.’s reliance on tools and platforms that make life easier—consider what one heavy user of EPS has to say.

According to Sagar Sule, President of Cyquator Technologies, a data centre in Navi Mumbai that caters to clients nationwide, “The drop in investments among Indian companies doesn’t mean that they see less value in these products. There haven’t been too many notable improvements and advancements in these technologies over the last fiscal. So companies don’t have a good reason to put more money in it. Lesser investments will suffice."

EPS usage

Enterprise packaged software is critical because it is an integral part of the business functionality,and a part of organisational practices

Among the respondents who have invested in EPS in the past, relational databases top the popularity rankings (85 percent). See graph: Existing enterprise packaged software.

Consider that large enterprises will use enterprise-wide tools such as ERP, CRM, core banking, SCM and customised applications—a database is a compulsory foundation for all of these. A startling 100 percent of the oil/power companies surveyed use databases, which clearly manifests the need for an RDBMS to support an ERP system.

Office suites, Web/proxy/mail servers and NOS are used by most businesses; they complement the infrastructure required to support an ERP system or other enterprise-wide applications.

Application servers are used by a significant number of companies (68 percent). Testing and troubleshooting tools are not quite so popular, being used by companies across verticals but not by government/PSU firms. 100 percent of companies in the services sector use application servers to keep their businesses—and customer-focussed functions—running smoothly.

EPS at work

Milind Khamkar Head of IS,

The use of EPS among companies in the pharmaceutical/chemical industry is high. 85 percent of respondents from this vertical use Web/proxy/mail servers, and 79 percent have deployed relational databases.

Pharmaceutical major Sanofi-Aventis uses EPS such as SQL Server, Oracle, MS-Exchange, MS-Office and Documentum, as well as a customised ERP solution. The company’s primary business is manufacturing and trading. Information systems are considered critical automation enablers for business. Business continuity and change management are essential in this industry.

Sanofi-Aventis’ Head of IS, Milind Khamkar, says, “These applications are critical because they are an integral part of the business functionality, and a part of organisational practices. Users are comfortable with these tools and they use them as a matter of habit.”

Still strong

Research highlights
  • Relational databases are the most popular EPS products in use (85 percent). Office suites and Web/proxy/mail servers are preferred by a significant majority of the companies (79 and 78 percent respectively).
  • The use of NOS is highest among companies in the services sector. 94 percent of the companies in this sector who have invested in EPS use NOS.
  • All oil/power companies that have invested in EPS use relational databases. 92 percent of BFSI companies use databases and office suites.
  • The use of testing and troubleshooting tools is generally low with none of the government/PSU companies using them.

The trend towards lower investments in EPS is marked by a 10 percent average decrease. That said, enterprises continue to rely on EPS.

Take the case of Cyquator that uses three different databases on its network—Oracle, MS SQL Server, and the open source MySQL. In addition, the company uses EPS such as mail servers, proxies, different server operating systems for each of the above databases, and application server platforms.

Sule feels that EPS will be the basic underpinning on which his business will grow. Khamkar believes that his company will continue to rely on EPS tools as it is tightly integrated with the business.

Telecom will make the highest investments in RDBMS this fiscal with 83 percent of surveyed companies planning to deploy a database. Companies in the oil/power sectors will be the highest investors in Web/proxy/mail servers (82 percent).

The future of EPS

The current crop of EPS products has matured over the last fiscal. There has been a rise in the use of anti-spam tools, and the GUIs of most software products have become feature-rich and sophisticated.

In the future, EPS will evolve into more intelligent and mature products and hardware. “We can expect EPS products to be more tightly integrated into business in the future,” opines Sule.

NM recommends
  • Optimise the use of the existing EPS solutions.
  • The role played by EPS is crucial to businesses, so it should be easily scalable.
  • EPS can form an underpinning for enterprise applications such as ERP, particularly in recent release of software such as office suites that hook into enterprise-wide applications using XML-based tools and connectors. These should be piloted.

Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached at

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