iCreate Software aims to be among the top five players for banking intelligence with 50 strategic global customers and reach revenues of Rs. 250 crores by FY 2015
Business intelligence (BI) and analytics is gaining strategic importance from corporates, especially banks, to make accurate decisions based on facts, rather than just data for smarter business development and better customer centricity. This has created a strong market for companies that develop BI software in India. Operating in such a space, Bangalore-based iCreate Software (iCreate) has crossed several key milestones since we last wrote about them in September 2011.
The company has maintained its triple-digit year-on-year growth rate and has made significant progress in all dimensions like customers, employees, products and markets. Its customer base has increased from 10 to 24 in the last 18 months and it has increased its presence across geographies. Its product portfolio has matured and it has expanded its delivery capabilities manifold, with new offices in Bangalore, Mumbai, Manila and Hanoi.
“There has been a significant positive growth with respect to investor sentiments too,” shares Vivek Subramanyam, CEO. Recently, the company raised US $9.2 million from a consortium of investors led by Sequoia Capital (Sequoia). In 2010, iCreate had raised US $2.7 million from IDG Ventures India to take its value proposition globally.
Expanding its footprint
iCreate’s focus is on the emerging markets of Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East. However, with the series B investment from Sequoia it is poised to enter the developed economies as well. “We will expand our focus in all regions in the emerging markets to include new countries and will also look at mature markets like the U.S. and Western Europe,” says Subramanyam. The second round of funding will be used to strengthen market presence, enter new markets and also to strengthen its innovation capabilities and churn out multiple innovative products.
We aim to build a global banking decision sciences company which helps solve recurring problems through innovative products.
iCreate also aims to gain from its investors’ expertise. “Our investors have helped build enduring companies globally. We hope to gain from the best practices followed by similar companies in their portfolios, by leveraging their global presence to help us get right kind of connect to increase our velocity,” adds Subramanyam.
Meeting the customer’s need
“We are in the business of enabling banks to take better decisions faster,” says Subramanyam. To achieve this, a bank has to take into account five important factors. One: understand really well how its business is performing and identify what areas need to get better. Two: governance, risk and compliance. Three: impact of the solution on the topline and bottomline. Four: engage more meaningfully with customers and five: improve productivity and efficiency. “Our products have to be aligned with one or more of these objectives,” says Subramanyam. So, what used to be an enterprise data warehouse with prebuilt decision support systems has now evolved into a science that helps solve specific business problems that banks face. iCreate has a compliance solution that automates banks’ regulatory compliance. “This solution has fetched us around 12 to 15 customers globally,” notes Subramanyam.
iCreate also has a risk product and is planning a loyalty product. “We have a beta customer for our risk product and will be taking it to the market in the fourth quarter this fiscal. The loyalty product, which will help gauge customer behavior and help in engaging more meaningfully with the bank, will be launched in the second quarter of the next fiscal,” shares Subramanyam.
New trends in the market place
While the customer need is established, there are some new trends that have emerged that will impact the technology road map of BI companies and also how iCreate deploys its solutions. For instance, there is a need to combine the internal structured data with external unstructured data to power better decisions. This apart, the solution needs to be better navigable, interactive and closer to consumption. There are many changes happening on the banking side, especially on the regulatory and compliance front, with more demands being made on the banks. There are newer channels and ways of interacting with the customer like mobile devices and new payment channels. While cloud computing is becoming popular, security is a huge area of focus in the banking space. “This could become popular in the banking space over next 3 to 5 years as security concerns get addressed,” states Subramanyam.
According to Subramanyam, there are three aspects of working with partners in this ecosystem. One is Intellectual Property (IP). “We may leverage the IP of certain supply side partners as part of our overall IP,” he says. Additionally, there are implementation partners who will help deploy specific products. Third, on the distribution side, iCreate has distribution partners who add banking BI and analytics solutions, to their existing offerings.
Recently, Indonesian IT giant, TelkomSigma inked a strategic partnership with iCreate to BI-enable their Arium Financial solution.
TelkomSigma is also leveraging its distribution framework for taking the ‘Biz$core BI-powered Arium’ innovation to the Indonesian market.
“We aim to build a global banking decision sciences company which helps solve recurring problems through innovative products,” states Subramanyam. While the need for data analytics and BI is established in mature markets, the realisation among the banks in the emerging markets has definitely increased. The level of competitive activities is forcing banks to look at smart decisions they need to be making and the areas where they need to enhance investment and better results. This apart, there are mandates and policy changes by regulatory bodies that require banks to have better decision enablement and compliance ecosystems.
However, BI / analytics is still an underpenetrated space across industries and definitely in banking. “This is a unique journey and one needs to sustain, mature and evolve during the journey,” says Subramanyam. He adds, “The number of players in this space is slowly increasing, yet the level of penetration is less than 50 per cent.” The market potential for this industry is quite huge. The Asia Pacific market is likely to be over US $4 billion, while globally it is over US id="mce_marker"0 billion.
To capitalise on this growth potential, the company aims to strengthen its presence in existing markets, add new markets and strengthen its distribution system. While it is currently focused on the banking sector, iCreate is also looking at other segments in the BFSI domain like consumer finance, capital markets, insurance and asset management. “Over the next 3 to 4 years, our category focus will expand from commercial banking to cover the complete BFSI spectrum,” shares Subramanyam.
With a strong focus on the category and solution, iCreate is all set to be among the top five players for banking intelligence with 50 strategic global customers and reach revenues of Rs. 250 crores by FY 2015.
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