Massey's India link sets up five deals

By Simon Hendery

Massey University says its partnership with a leading Indian IT company is reaping rewards for local technology companies and five have signed potentially lucrative export deals in the first six months of the relationship.

Massey's Albany-based business incubator, e-centre Limited, formed a partnership this year with Indian technology services business CMC aimed at brokering export deals for New Zealand IT companies.

The joint initiative, called the CMC Technology Export Centre (CMCTEC), has so far resulted in agreements between CMC and five local businesses: Jade Software, QLBS, Sonar6, SMX and Digital Learning Systems.

Massey's own graduate school of business has also penned an agreement with CMC aimed at developing management education opportunities.

It is not possible to put a value on the deals because they have been based around building "strategic relationships" or agreements with CMC to resell the New Zealand companies' technology in India.

However, Hamish Coop, CMCTEC's head of commercial, estimated revenue from the three latest deals involving Sonar6, SMX and Digital Learning Systems would be in the millions over the next year.

"We started CMCTEC to give New Zealand technology companies better and easier access to a critical international market.

We are delighted to see these very positive results so quickly," Coop said.

"What we've got here is an opportunity for New Zealand companies to get involved with India in a relatively low-risk way. In a couple of years the whole world is going to be piling in. I think there is a window here of a year or two for Kiwi companies to buy their ticket on the Mumbai Express, if you like."

Coop said India's annual GDP growth rate was an impressive 9.2 per cent and the country's domestic ICT (information and communication technology) sector was growing even faster: about 25 per cent a year.

CMC's parent company, Tata Consultancy Services, a leading IT consulting, service and outsourcing company which is part of high-profile Indian conglomerate Tata Group, improved its revenues by 41 per cent last year, he said.

"We're partnering here with a large conglomerate so you're straight away much more able to build up trust and to build the relationship with that partner, whereas if you are trying to go across the market more broadly you're into competitive issues. It's often said, but the power of having that in-market partner really works."

Jesse Ball, managing director of anti-spam and anti-virus company SMX, said his business had identified India as a key market and was now finalising a licensing agreement under which CMC would sell the SMX's technology in India, Asia and the Middle East.

"[India] has always been on our roadmap but a company our size can't go global in a matter of months. That's why the strategy of working with a company like CMC is so well fitted for our growth," Ball said.

Trade and Enterprise ICT sector director Hans Frauenlob said partnering with multinationals such as CMC made sense.

"It enables Kiwi companies to overcome the classic barriers of size and distance."

Road to India

Companies doing business through CMCTEC, Massey University's venture with Indian IT firm CMC:

* SMX: Anti-spam and anti-virus software.

* Sonar6: Graphics-based "talent management" software.

* Digital Learning Solutions: E-learning platforms.

* Jade Software Corporation: Business software.

* QLBS: Management measurement systems.

* Massey University's Graduate School of Business: Management education.

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