Indian SaaS and IT — A Symbiosis that’s Starting to Take Root

SaaSAs Indian SaaS startups gain scale and vie for larger global deals, there’s a growing opportunity for them to partner some of the country’s largest IT services firms to manage and implement digital transformation projects at a rapid scale.

Early signs of such partnerships are already visible.

Building partnerships: Nasdaq-listed Freshworks Inc., which announced a strategic tie-up with Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, in June last year, is partnering with India’s IT bellwether on around 50 projects.

The Chennai- and San Francisco-based firm also has partnerships with Accenture Plc and Hexaware Technologies.

Quote: “What we have seen is services companies realise that the disruption is coming from Cloud and SaaS. Traditional system integrator business models were high-value, multi-year contracts, but companies like TCS actually understand that there is a change coming,” Girish Mathrubootham, cofounder and chief executive at Freshworks, said at the Nasscom Product Conclave on Wednesday.

For healthcare-focused SaaS firm Innovaccer, which has partnered with HCL Technologies Ltd, the next stage of growth will be dependent on partnerships with system integrators and large IT services companies, cofounder and CEO Abhinav Shashank said.

“We are now starting to hit that $100 million annual-revenue-run rate mark, and the next level of growth is going to be very dependent on the partnerships that we create with SI vendors and large IT services companies,” he said.

Big opportunities: Both Shashank and Mathrubootham believe that there is a big opportunity for a symbiotic relationship between Indian SaaS and IT firms. While some of it might be scale-dependent— given the size of the software services firms, small software makers might find it harder to build meaningful partnerships—but as the industry for Indian software products grows, so will the opportunity.

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