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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2004

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Demand analytics space getting hot

Preeti Pandey

Bangalore , Oct. 25

INDIAN firms have yet another service area to tap into - - the demand analytic services with deal sizes hovering in the 3-5 year and $30 million to $50 million range. Of course, outsourcing providers should be able to source the right combination of skill-sets required. However, as of now, MBA graduates having expertise in programming, mathematics and statistics or computer programmers having business acumen with domain knowledge in areas such as consumer packaged goods, retail, manufacturing and telecom are hard to come by. This has led demand analytics service providers such as Symphony Services and Ugam Solutions to build their teams up from the ground.

"Demand analytics is gaining traction here and already several MNCs in the financial services space have set up captive units to use the Indian talent pool. While we are looking to build up scale here by hiring more people, we have found that there is a dearth (of people) having the skill-sets we require," Mr Srikanth Kannappan, Senior Vice-President, Symphony Services Corp. (India) Pvt Ltd, told Business Line.

Demand analytics is an evolution of business intelligence and picks up where BI ends. While BI addressed the business issues on the supply side, demand analytics looks at issues on the sell side (the consumer), according to Mr Kannappan. While traditionally market research firms and financial institutions outsourced work to Indian software firms, now enterprises in the retail, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing segments as also telecom service providers are expected to opt for outsourcing demand analytics. Demand analytics is estimated to be a $1.5-$2.5 billion market and includes data collection, data integration, data cleansing, data tabulation and data modelling.

While Symphony has chosen to create teams comprising MBA graduates and programmers, Ugam Solutions has brought on board Mr John Taggart, a leading Quantum specialist to train its programmers in Quantum software and also to front-end the company in the US. Quantum software can handle hierarchial data structure, cross tabulations and statistics by analysing multiple data sources and generating WARP (web analysis reports and presentation) reports.

"I have had lots of enquiries about outsourcing market research work to India but we are finding it difficult to get trained statisticians with programming skills," remarked Mr Taggart. As of now both these firms are looking to tap the US and European regions for sourcing team leaders and project managers to overcome the skill shortage.

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