TCS eyes running Massive Open Online Courses, holding parts of driving test on iON


TCS is looking at organizing MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) and managing the written component of driving tests as it grows its iON cloud platform.

The growth plans set a new milestone for the platform that was initially developed for small businesses in India. TCS already sets questionnaire for iON and runs, the Common Aptitude Test (CAT) that administers entry into the Indian Institutes of Management (IIT) and manages the Railway Recruitment Board exams.

Venguswamy Ramaswamy, Global Head of TCS iON said “We are using Ion to build a Digital Learning Space, a form of a content marketplace. And the idea is that we are uprising content. We consider this a MOOC++ concept because we are adding a layer of e-commerce on top”. He also said that the company was already in talks with publishers and professors from the Indian Institutes of Technologies to place content for online courses. He further added that TCS will earn a percentage of the sales from the platform.

The company is also looking at potentially administering the written test for receiving a driving license and running multi-country assessments conducted by universities such as Cambridge.

Though he has not revealed the revenue contributed by the unit, or how many employees it has, he said that the growth was “absolutely in double digits.”

In 2011, TCS wanted to create an easier and far cheaper version of the enterprise resource planning product which large companies will be used and expected the cloud-based product to generate around $1 billion in sales by 2016, with a target market size currently pegged at more than 30 million SMBs. But working with small and midsized business in India was challenging and the revenue target was dropped. “The growth potential is high from from a market segment point of view. But nearer to the ground, SMBs in India do not have standard ERP procedures.There is significant variation with SMBs in the same segments and the companies themselves are entrepreneurial and change things very often, ” Ramaswamy said. “It needed a significant investment of customization.”

TCS saw greater success in manufacturing and in education.

Along with the CAT and Railway exams, the company also administers various other exams, including the All India Engineering Entrance Exam, the IIT-Joint Entrance Exams, Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering, and LIC (Life Insurance Corporation of India) recruitment exams.

The company has added around 1.75 lakh computers in their centers, and it also has tied up with colleges to use their computer centers.

“The business model is per candidate assessed and last year we assessed 85 million candidates. We have also managed the assessment of 1.94 lakh candidates, the largest ever amount, in a single sitting,” Venguswamy said.

The platform is being sold in Ireland and Japan, and TCS is now planning to enter new markets also.

“We need to look at what the conditions are in the local country. Now we are deciding whether we want to expand to developed markets or those that are still developing first,” Venguswamy said.

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Himani Sharma, From ITvoir News Desk