HP, the America-based information technology multinational, is betting highly in India on government contracts and the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, with the focus on digitisation and implementation of the GST
levy. Sumeer Chandra
, managing director of HP Inc India, shares his plans with Arnab Dutta
. Edited excerpts:
When do you see the market returning to normalcy and growth reviving?
Of the past few quarters, at least two were unique, with demonetisation and the goods and services tax
(GST) being effected. The market is expected to grow in low single digit for the next few months. I am optimistic that as the benefits of GST
start to shape over the next nine to 12 months, growth will be back in the market. Also, government investments are expected to pick up in 2018, which will also help the market sentiment to improve.
Your consumer business has grown in recent quarters. Where will the next phase of growth come from?
We are doing very well in the consumer side of the business and that is not only due to the destocking ahead of GST.
Also, as MSMEs settle down under the GST
regime, they will shift from outsourced solutions to in-house systems, which will be a huge opportunity for us, as we have already lined up affordable turnkey solutions for GST
HP had said it is getting bullish about the government’s digital drive. What exactly you have done in the past few quarters?
To cater to the growing need that has been arising due to the government’s push for a digital India, we took up a project one and a half years earlier. We formed a separate team of 40 people and started devising a product and solutions strategy. We are executing projects in a number of areas and digitisation is one. We have, for example, digitised the land records in Bihar and are now in talks with a number of courts and many other state governments for digitisation of data. We are also equipping the Central Board of Excise & Customs for implementation of GST.
Delivery and authentication at the PDS (Public Delivery System) store level is also something we are eyeing.
How big is the opportunity and what is the estimated benefit for HP?
The government is willing to invest in digitisation and has released over Rs 4,500 crore through various projects in the past one year. In our assessment, more projects are yet to come up. So, I think from the investment perspective, a substantial amount of money is there and enough projects to chase. Currently, the enterprise and government side of the business generates more than half of HP Inc India’s business. We expect to treble our digital business division by 2022 and it will also help us grow by a healthy double digit figure.
Have you felt the heat of cutdown in corporate spending?
We have not seen any significant cutdown on corporate spending of late, except certain sectors like IT and ITeS (IT-enabled services). Which actually got mitigated due to strong sentiment in the financial sector, with focus on digitisation. Most large enterprises are well equipped and their spending now shifts to the operating level, rather than capital expenditure.