Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Nov 16, 2002
Corporate - Outlook
MindTree sees huge healthcare prospects
BANGALORE, Nov. 15
MINDTREE Consulting is preparing to become a niche player providing IT services to the healthcare segment.
``Right now, this is an area, where there is no clear leadership,'' said Mr N. Krishna Kumar, President and CEO, Enterprise Business. Healthcare is expected to become one of the more strategic verticals for the company and "very large in terms of size," he added.
At the moment, an intensive training programme is on in the company's Bangalore office to give 22 of its professionals a "strong understanding" of terms, business concepts and IT systems related to healthcare.
"We are taking a slightly different approach," said Mr Eric Mann, Vice-President, heading the healthcare practice.
The company is building up domain expertise first so that it can speak to healthcare customers in their language, instead of waiting for customers to come.
Domain expertise is very important for this segment, where there are a lot of legal and other issues, Mr Mann said. As of today, there is a shortage of people with knowledge of the industry in India, he said. MindTree is on the lookout for people at middle and senior levels with domain expertise and experience.
The idea is to offer a range of solutions in the healthcare area. HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act), the legislation for standardisation of the healthcare industry in the US is now being described as the Y2K of the healthcare industry. Everyone in that space has to radically update and standardise their systems, which could open up a huge market for integration.
Typically, the healthcare industry would require solutions for claims, clearing house, redesigning of systems, and integration. The biggest volumes of business come from the insurance and claims processing sector, Mr Mann said. MindTree plans to be in the integration space, making interface between the old and the new systems seamless. The other end, the BPO part, is most likely be done by a partner and the company is in talks for a tie up. "We are looking at maybe two partners to offer BPO," Mr Krishna Kumar said.
In the healthcare sector, MindTree already has Aventis, a multi-billion dollar pharma major as customer. It is developing Web-enabled applications, handling brand related work, and offering content management for the company.
The company is optimistic about organic growth. Earlier this year, there was a slowdown with war fears. However, since July-August, growth had been month-on-month, Mr Krishna Kumar said.
Healthcare is a $1.3-1.4 trillion industry, and the largest expense sector in the US. Apart from healthcare, MindTree is active in three other verticals - finance, automotive and the high tech product market.
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