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Published on: April 5, 2021, 7:40 a.m.
Newgen, the enabler for remote work
  • Nigam: helping our customers achieve their digital transformation objectives

By Lancelot Joseph. Executive Editor, Business India

“The ongoing pandemic has propelled the journey by making government agencies adopt a digital-first approach that supports remote processes,” explains the 62-year-old Diwakar Nigam, CMD, Newgen Software Technologies Limited (NSTL). “There has never been a greater need for e-governance and so governments across the globe are undergoing digital transformation to ensure effective service delivery, transparency and better accountability to their citizens.”

Niigam has a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Allahabad; a master’s degree in science (mathematics) from IIT, Delhi, and another master’s degree in technology (computer science) from IIT, Madras. He was one of the founding members of the National Association of Software & Services Company (NASSCOM) and a member of the anti-piracy task force of NASSCOM. He expounded the slogan ‘one world - one workplace’ and has been a key promoter of Newgen since 1993. “We do remote working,” Nigam affirms. “We scan documents and process them at the back office – what is called enterprise content management for imaging and workflow.”

Today, Newgen’s client list consists of some of India’s and the world’s largest banks, insurance companies, BPOs, MNCs and big corporate houses. Under Nigam’s leadership, a team of highly qualified software professionals develops software which is totally indigenous. Prior to joining Newgen, along with a few colleagues, he had incorporated (in 1978) Softek Limited, a product development company specialising in compilers, operating systems, office productivity tools, etc.

Newgen was listed on National Stock Exchange and BSE in September 2017. It went for an IPO and got listed. The total size of the IPO was Rs425 crore, which included a fresh issue of Rs95 crore – at Rs245 per share. The promoter holds 65.73 per cent of the stock, while 33.16 per cent is with the public through marquee capital market players like Malabar Capital and IDG Ventures. The script is traded at Rs288 today and touched a 52-week high of Rs332 earlier.

''Nigam is the earliest software product entrepreneur from India,” says Sudhir Sethi, founder & chairman, Chiratae Ventures. “I have known him for over two decades and am impressed by his vision to build a global company – Newgen. We invested in Newgen to help it launch an IPO.”

“The banking software business, though lucrative, is hard to break into,” observes Sumeet Nagar, MD, Malabar Investments. “Not only does a company have to build high quality, reliable products, but it is also required to exhibit high service levels to meet the unique requirements of each financial institution and pass the test of time. It takes grit, perseverance and enormous patience, which Newgen has shown successfully for multiple industry segments, including banking. As a result, Newgen has become a mission-critical and indispensable partner to many leading enterprises in India and abroad, and the scope of its products and services, including cloud-based SaaS offerings, continues to expand. This is what attracted Malabar to invest in Newgen and become its largest external investor.”

Mission-critical solutions

Newgen provides business process management (BPM), enterprise content management (ECM) and customer communication management (CCM) platforms, with large, mission-critical solutions deployed at the world’s leading banks, governments, BPOs and IT companies, insurance firms and healthcare organisations. It is a global provider of a low-code digital automation platform, which helps enterprises manage processes, content, and communications.

“Our platform integrates the various capabilities needed to build business applications across the spectrum, through our proven products in BPM, ECM, and omni-channel CCM,” says Arpan Bansal, global head, centre of excellence (government), Newgen. “Given the increasing need for remote operations and business agility, the demand for our low-code digital automation platform has witnessed a significant surge. Government organisations are leveraging technology to bridge silos between government, businesses and citizens, by fostering a digitally connected ecosystem. Our products and industry-specific applications, including e-governance, records management, grants management and citizen services, are enabling government agencies to deliver intelligent, citizen-centric, and responsive governance. Additionally, we are supporting the digital India initiative with our solutions for eVidhan Sabha, eCourts, secretariat automation, and smart city development.”

Bansal heads Newgen’s centre of excellence and delivery for the public (government) sector. He leads a team of 150-plus professionals responsible for scaling business and delivery across the US, Canada, India, EMEA and APAC and has 20-plus years of IT experience across business development, consulting, large scale software project and program management, software development, solution architecture, pre-sales, partner alliance and analyst relationship management.

As of March 2020, Newgen serves about 560 active customers from multiple industries. “Our global footprint spreads across 69 countries, spanning the Americas (30 per cent), EMEA (30 per cent), India (30 per cent) and APAC regions (10 per cent),” Nigam points out. “Globally, banks and financial institutions (like ICICI Bank), insurance (such as LIC), government, healthcare and shared services organisations rely on our industry-recognised products and applications to solve their mission-critical needs. RAQ and Mashraq Bank in the Middle East, as also several banks in Singapore and the US, are our customers. We are focussed on helping our customers achieve their digital transformation objectives, while delivering value to their own customers.”

Newgen closed 2019-20 with revenues of Rs661 crore – up 6.5 per cent over the previous year.  “Our annuity revenues continued to remain strong — they constituted 56 per cent of the revenues and witnessed a growth of 22 per cent year on year (y-o-y) of the annuity revenues,” contends Nigam. “SaaS (software as a service) revenues too grew rapidly at 60 per cent y-o-y. Most geographies are increasingly showing acceptance of our SaaS solutions, as they are easy to deploy remotely and should become a key element for us in the ‘new normal’. Profits and margins were impacted during the year, on account of slower growth in the top-line and continued investments in research & development and sales & marketing efforts. In Q1 2020-21, profit after tax was up by 196 per cent at Rs9.1 crore (from Rs3.1 crore in Q1 209-20), based on the strong cost rationalisation initiatives undertaken by us.”

Proven products

On the digital automation platform, Newgen competes globally with peers that include IBM, Pega, OpenText, ServiceNow and Appian, to name a few. Additionally, for industry-specific applications, nCino, Nucleus Software, and Bottomline Technologies are some of its competitors. “Our uniqueness lies in our low-code digital automation platform, which integrates various capabilities needed to build business applications across the spectrum, through our proven products in intelligent digital automation (BPM), contextual content services (ECM), and omni-channel customer engagement (CCM). Our product suite and applications compete with players across categories and geographies. However, what sets us apart from our peers are our homegrown solutions and our capability to deliver end-to-end implementation. Our customers have been relying on us for nearly three decades and consider us as a technology partner of choice,” elaborates Bansal.

Newgen has been positioned as a visionary in the report Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms, dated 16 November 2020, authored by Michael Woodbridge. The report evaluates 18 different vendors offering content services platforms (CSPs) based on their ability to execute and completeness of vision. The report also recognises Newgen’s ECM platform for the 12th consecutive year.

“Content is the backbone of every organisation,” acknowledges Nigam. “Empowering employees with contextual information can help organisations in informed interactions with their customers and other stakeholders. We believe this inclusion by Gartner recognises our efforts towards enabling enterprises in streamlining their content and ensuring remote, secure access to relevant information.” Nigam is continuously working on expanding across various mature geographies, such as the Americas, Canada, the UK and Australia.

“As a part of our focus on sales and marketing beyond our existing territories, we are investing in building a global system integrator network,” claims Nigam. “We hope to achieve a significant part of our revenues in the next five years through this channel. In the next phase of the new normal, working remotely has become a necessity for enterprises. Enterprises are now accelerating their digital transformation initiatives to create an integrated environment to enable anytime, anywhere operations. With our low code and cloud capabilities, we provide agile, resilient, and quick implementation solutions to our customers. We are working towards releasing new products and updating our current offerings to stay competitive in a dynamic environment.”

Covid-19 made it urgent for government agencies to accelerate their digital initiatives, for ensuring effective service delivery, transparency, and better accountability to their citizens. There has been a surge in the adoption of e-office — a solution for paperless and automated administration — in Indian government agencies. “Many departments have advanced and prioritised the go-live of e-office ahead of other applications, due to its increasing usage and relevance in the current circumstances. The application has been instrumental in allowing employees to work remotely in a secure environment,” discloses Virender Jeet, senior vice-president, sales & marketing/products, Newgen, who manages the overall strategic and operational responsibility for the entire portfolio of Newgen’s offerings. He oversees product development, global sales & marketing and business enabling functions.

Digital first approach

“Our digital automation platform has been a great enabler for remote working,” adds Jeet. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, the platform has been instrumental in helping our government and public sector customers maintain business continuity. The customers were able to rapidly shift to a remote working environment without disrupting operations and customer service. Government organisations are leveraging Newgen’s e-governance and digital-first approach to facilitate a digital workplace. They are managing both inward and outward correspondences with electronically driven note sheets and realising a paperless office.”

“Today, due to Covid-19-related shutdowns or slowdowns in business and closure of physical workplaces, business operations involving document processing have come under severe pressure,” observes Bansal. “There is anecdotal evidence that people are not comfortable working with paper, due to the threat posed by the virus. As a result of this, digital transformation has suddenly become one of the top business priorities. Since many government-centric processes are driven by documents, digital document processing can be a great first step towards digital transformation. A comprehensive and cloud-based digital document processing strategy can enable government agencies to digitise, import, store, and archive paper and electronic documents while facilitating a secure and collaborative work environment.”

In India today, digital transformation can reform administrative processes to realise a paperless office and deliver a consistent, omni-channel citizen experience. It enables government agencies to collaborate in real-time across geographies for quick resolutions for evolving citizen needs. “The pandemic has made the government agencies offering funding and grants realise that they need to offer relief measures at a rapid speed,” adds Nigam.

“They were prepared to manage disasters at specific geographies but managing the scale of Covid-19 required reliance on technology. Digital transformation is critical to ensure that the relief funds are disbursed quickly while adhering to regulatory norms and securely managing money transfers.” He expects the government business to grow in the next two years due to the new digital wave.  

The pandemic has provided a great push towards digital transformation and Nigam sees acceleration in the government’s information & communications technology programs. “We are also experiencing expansion in the scope of usage of our digital automation platform within our existing customer base. Our platform and industry-specific applications, with low code capability and cloud-based deployment, are empowering government organisations with agility and anytime, anywhere operations”. Nigam feels that in the post Covid era, technology will play a vital role in the core sectors in government.

Covid-19 has made it imperative to automate all processes across multiple government departments and enable remote operations. Digitisation is the need of the hour across industries, including health, education, and agriculture, among others. This presents enormous opportunities to build a modern workplace with improved efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

“We are helping government agencies go paperless by automating their core processes, citizen and business-centric services, document and record management and case management,” comments Bansal. Newgen’s offerings can essentially create a connected enterprise, enabling government sector employees to operate remotely and securely access critical information anytime, anywhere. The dynamic business environment requires governments to be more intuitive, agile and responsive to opportunities, challenges, and ever-evolving citizen needs. Accelerating digital is imperative to empower employees, thereby enabling them to be more efficient in serving citizens in 2021 and beyond.” It is important for government institutions to build a connected enterprise that provides omni-channel engagement, contextual communication and anytime-anywhere access, thereby meeting and exceeding citizens’ expectations, he points out.

Some digital imperatives to achieve this include implementing mobile and cloud-first technologies, leveraging a low-code digital automation platform, establishing a digital workplace, and providing security tools. According to Nigam: “Public administration bodies must boost their digital initiatives and utilise new-age technologies to ensure effective service delivery while enabling transparency and accountability.”

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