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Monday, June 13, 2011

Postal tech upgrade to create Rs 5,000-cr scope for IT firms

IBM, TCS, HP, Wipro, HCL Tech and others to vie for the Rs 1,000-cr system integrator deal.
The postal department’s technology upgrade initiative is expected to create opportunities worth Rs 5,000 crore for information technology (IT) companies, making it one of the biggest IT outsourcing contracts in the domestic market in recent years.
Given the sheer size and complexities involved in the process, the Department of Posts (DoP) has split the project into eight components and has invited bidders. The department has identified Accenture as its consulting partner for the initiative.
Highly-placed industry sources say the department has already issued Requests For Proposals (RFPs) for six contracts, while the remaining two are expected to be issued this month. Despite repeated attempts, officials at DoP could not be reached.
Of the six RFPs already issued, identification of the core system integrator is said to be the biggest one with a contract value of over Rs 1,000 crore. Most leading IT firms, including domestic companies like Infosys, TCS and HCL and global majors like HP and IBM are understood to be participating in the bidding.
The RFP for identifying partners for ‘financial procedure services’ contract saw participation of Infosys, Wipro and TCS other than HP.
“The process of finalising the lowest common bidder for this contract is underway and is expected anytime from now,” said sources from a bidding company. “Looking at the pace at which the department is expediting the process, we expect all contracts to be finalised before October-November,” they added.
The four other RFPs issued are for identifying outsourcing partners in areas of data centre management, network integrator, rural ICT system integrator and change management.
DoP initiated its IT modernisation process last year under the ‘India Post 2011’ plan. The idea was to improve its customer service, deliver new services and improve operational efficiencies.
“The technology modernisation initiative by India Post is an ambitious programme. This should have been done long ago. If we had an efficient postal system with automated post offices, we would not have required setting up common services centres because there are post offices almost in every village,” said Neel Ratan, executive director (e-governance practice), PwC India.
DoP presently has the largest postal network in the world with 155,669 offices of which 89 per cent are in rural areas. But only 12,604 head post offices and sub-post offices have been computerised so far. By the end of 2012, the department wants to computerise all post offices and that would help it offer services seamlessly.
Source: Business Standard, June 9, 2011

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