Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the country’s biggest software exporter, is ready to bring out an ambitious project which is also being talked about as group chairman Ratan Tata’s next dream project. The ‘Nano Of IT’ as company’s senior management likes to call, is a cloud offering and is expected to be launched in mid-September. The aim of this project is to make information technology affordable to the country’s 35 million small and medium businesses (SMBs).

Developed by a 250-member TCS team, the cloud offering promises to lower the cost of ownership by 35-40%, compared with the traditional licensing model. Expensive capex investments required in IT will be converted into a monthly subscription model. Pricing per user for the entire IT stack will be Rs 8,000-10,000 per month. The stack includes hardware, networking and software. New customers will be locked in for three years, according to the reports.

The service is expected to be a major growth engine for TCS. Executives expect to raise up to $1 billion a quarter in the coming years from the service, though it is early days yet. Initially, the focus will be on the domestic market, but the firm plans to take the offering overseas later. To begin with, TCS is confident of adding 100 customers every quarter or 400 in a year’s time.

Cloud services, delivered over the Internet, are an on-demand paradigm that can disrupt the way IT services are delivered today. Cloud computing uses virtualisation technologies and can potentially make an enterprise shed all of its IT assets one day — servers, storage, and applications can all be rented as per the requirement from cloud service providers.

The TCS service has been piloted with 75 customers and Ratan Tata is likely to review the project later this month. When officially launched, this would be one of the biggest cloud rollouts in the world, and perhaps Ratan Tata’s last big-ticket project before he retires in 2012 as Tata group chairman.

In the last few weeks, TCS has stepped up partner activities and concluded channel strategy meetings in New Delhi and Mumbai. The company has also hired a branding firm to coin a name for the service.

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