Persistent Systems “DNA” behind Cloud, Mobile, IoT & Digital Transformation


Persistent Systems (PSI) has in recent years acquired properties from the likes of: Intel, HP and Citrix – companies that dwarf this Indian-based, $400 million revenue, growth company. PSI is following a multi-dimensional strategy that has involved it in: Cloud, Mobile and IoT, as well as Digital Transformation services for a range of ISVs (independent software vendors) and enterprises.

PSI has also combined this with a fairly novel approach of creating a business unit, called Accelerite, to act as somewhat of an incubator, product growth engine and financial leverage optimizer.

The company recently appeared at the @ThingsExpo in New York, where we had the opportunity to speak with three executives, including: Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of PSI’s Accelerite business unit, Hemant Ramnani, VP Enterprise Sales; and Sandeep Ashtekar, Client Partner.

PSI is a growth company focused on enabling the digital transformation of businesses. At the heart of PSI are sets of agile software development skills that the company refers to as its “Product Development DNA.” Ramnani and Ashtekar enumerated a range of software products and services that the company provides for ISVs as well as enterprises, with a strong focus on the healthcare and fintech segments.

Healthcare Initiatives

In healthcare, PSI is attempting to tackle issues such as: creating a more comprehensive patient-friendly set of software tools, as well as improving healthcare institutions’ operations through mining of data already resident in major EHR (electronic health records) systems and other efficiencies, as healthcare progresses into an era of results-based rules and economics.

Ashtekar cited clients such as a leading hospital in New York and a well-known Medical Center in New Jersey. He pointed to the fact that PSI has been aggressive in partnering with other technology providers, and, in the case of the hospital, this resulted in Salesforce’s approaching PSI to assist in developing a patient relationship software solution for the hospital.

How does PSI fare in dealing with the major EHR providers, who have a history of maintaining closed garden data universes? Ashtekar explained that the entire issue of interoperability of health information systems is a major problem, being addressed in part by the emerging FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standard for health record exchange. He stated that in one case, PSI had secured cooperation from the major EHR provider, which was Epic, however, there would have to be a separate contract addendum with Epic for each hospital.

While dealing with hospitals and entrenched EHR providers is a stumbling block, Ramanai pointed out that the company believed that health insurers were a promising entry point for new healthcare software. Their interest is heightened by the fact that insurance reimbursements are increasingly tied to results, which incents hospitals and other care providers to consider adopting new technologies and other efficiency measures.

Fintech – Banking & Financial Services

Ramnani explained that PSI’s focus in financial services is aimed at improving the consumer experience as well as increasing operational efficiency. While they address a wide range of financial institutions in Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI), one area they are currently strongest in is Tier 2 banks.

The company has considerable experience in developing and implementing mobile banking solutions. Ashtekar also mentioned that they are working with credit unions, including development of customer kiosks.

IBM & PSI – IoT Solutions

PSI has had longstanding relationships with IBM. Moreover, in early 2016 the two companies announced a partnership – which PSI’s CEO stated “will define our future” – to pursue IoT developments.

The essence of the agreement was to add PSI’s engineering, analytics, and enterprise development expertise to help IBM and its customers develop and continuously upgrade Internet of Things applications. The parties will use IBM’s IoT Continuous Engineering Solution (which, according to IBM is “designed to help manufacturers create smart, connected devices for the Internet of Things.”)

PSI’s CEO described the objective as enabling “things,” i.e., sensors and other devices, with software so that they “will reconfigure themselves in the field, and will monitor, measure and share their parameters to the global cloud in real-time.” The Watson analytics engine will be used to “optimize the performance of these things in the context of millions of other objects (things) in the field.”

PSI already has had over 1000 employees devoted to their various relationships with IBM. It states that it will add over 500 more employees for this new business line.

Accelerite – Products Business

PSI set up Accelerite in 2014, to manage its “products” businesses. Accelerite includes: Radia (EMM), Aepona (IoT); a number of Cloud products; and disaster recovery products.

CEO Rajagopalan told us that PSI had decided to put properties that it had “productized” into a separate business unit. He described an innovative financing strategy, whereby the company will consider selling major interests in some of the businesses to institutional investors, if it will accelerate their growth. He stated that this would be done if PSI felt that a specific business had very big growth potential but was going to require a great deal of financing.

Aepona – IoT

In 2015, PSI acquired Aepona from Intel. Aepona was a pioneer mobile cloud company, which we had written about in 2012. It was a leader in developing a platform for carriers to capitalize on their network assets and information to create new revenue-generating services. The company was subsequently sold to Intel.

In late 2015, PSI’s Accelerite unit announced that it was employing the Aepona technology to launch an IoT apps development business. According to Accelerite, this includes, “service enablement from creation, orchestration to execution while supporting developer APIs, monetization and settlement, onboarding, sensor/controller connectivity and analytics.”

HPCA Acquisition – Mobile: Radia EMM Offering

In 2013, PSI acquired from HP the exclusive rights to develop the HP Client Automation (HPCA) technology. This was basically an endpoint management system, which was then limited to desktop devices.

Now part of Accelerite’s products, the system was extended by the company to cover mobile devices. The offering, named Radia, is basically an EMM (enterprise mobile management) product line. We have written numerous articles about the EMM market and competition. As Ramnani and Ashtekar told us, Radia competes directly with better-known offerings such as VMware, AirWatch and Mobile Iron. (See Mobile Cloud Era EMM articles: 5/8/16; 9/12/15; 1/28/14; and 12/5/13.) HP is also selling the Radia product line.

Ashtekar and Ramnani explained that PSI has one advantage in selling Radia against competitors, which is access to PSI’s existing customer base.

Citrix – Cloud Platform

In early 2016 Accelerite acquired the Citrix CloudPlatform and CloudPortal Business Manager. CloudPlatform is used to create and run public and private clouds, while CloudPortal Business Manager automates provisioning, billing, metering and user management.

Our Take

For a $400 million revenue company PSI has created so many interesting opportunities that we have admittedly had to be selective in our description.

It appears to us that the creation of Accelerite allows the company to remain true to its software engineering core, while exploiting products it creates and using them not only for growth, but also as sources of future financing.

PSI could evolve into a very interesting, somewhat unique, tech company that uses high level software skills to produce, in effect, a complementary portfolio management business.

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