Chennai-based Intellect Design Arena Ltd creates technologies that help financial and insurance clients in their digital transformation initiatives. With revenues of ₹1,500 crore and 240 customers globally, it has a diverse workforce of solution architects, domain and technology experts in major global financial hubs around the world. A strong focus on R&D has been one of the major reasons for the company’s success, said Arun Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, Intellect Design, in this interview with BusinessLine .

You have been an R&D focussed company. How much did you spend on research?

We invested over ₹1,200 crore in the last five years that gave a head start for winning deals in developed markets. We are focused on developing solutions that can help banks and financial institutions reduce costs and increase revenue by acquiring more customers and offering more products. Our R&D focus is anchored to address this dual objective.

What sort of head start?

We spotted every technology trend well ahead of the curve – be it the digital wave, cloud adoption, microservices led architecture, API Economy or data technologies such as AI/ML. Our digital proposition Digital 360 – addressed the dual need of experience and efficiency. Our investments in data technologies, AI/ML led to the launch of platforms such as Intelligent Data Extraction that won us deals with major insurance carriers in the US in a cloud model, making our applications contextual.

Can we see a similar investment going forward in R&D?

We will continue to invest at the same pace with ₹200-₹225 crore annually on R&D to enhance technology capabilities. We will also invest in headless offerings wherein our platforms can be adopted by our customers, who can build experience layers using their internal teams, our teams or partner-led implementation. This will make us MACH compliant – Microservices, API led, Cloud-native, Headless. As banks and financial institutions integrate into the larger ecosystem, we will invest further in Open Finance architectures that will accelerate this journey

How has been revenue growth from Software As A Service (SaaS)?

It aligned with the industry prediction of a shift towards cloud-based deployments and the adoption of subscription models. Our SaaS/subscription revenues have grown from ₹80 crore in FY19 to nearly ₹180 crore in FY21. The growth in Q1FY22 was more than 100 per cent when compared to the corresponding quarter year ago. This is also driven by our platform-based revenues.

What is the overall run rate?

While we do not offer specific guidance, we are confident of achieving a mid to high teens rate of growth for FY22. We have also mentioned about a 25 per cent to 30 per cent EPS growth.

How has been your footprint in India as a market?

India has always been critical geography for us. We are proud of our current participation in the national financial technology infrastructure, primarily partnering with institutions of national importance like the RBI, NABARD, LIC, Government eMarketplace, Association of Mutual Funds of India AMFI. We have a significant customer footprint in India for all our lines of business and products. We will soon be launching a series of products designed specifically for the Indian market.

In the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, what were the challenges?

We have had challenges when it comes to talent. With growth coming back, demand for top talent has also increased. So, we will be building some bench strength in this period and will factor an escalation in the cost for talent while simultaneously capacitising ourselves for the next leap of growth. We have stressed this earlier – we cannot be measured quarter-on-quarter as deal closures have become more complex and consume significant time and management bandwidth. Last-minute slippages in closure and documentation of deals may result in revenues shifting to subsequent quarters, in some cases.