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NCS outlines regional expansion plans

IT service provider NCS is going after the high-growth markets of Australia and the Greater China region with core technology and industry-specific offerings as it pits itself against global rivals

Singapore-based IT service provider NCS is expanding its footprint in Asia-Pacific (APAC) to capture the growing opportunities in cloud computing, 5G and key sectors such as healthcare and financial services across the region.

Speaking at a hybrid event to outline the company’s new growth strategy, NCS CEO Ng Kuo Pin said the regional expansion will be targeted at high-growth markets such as Australia and the Greater China region, where NCS has already established local teams.

In Shenzhen and Melbourne, for instance, NCS has built up teams for Next, a service organisation that was formed to deliver digital, cloud and platform services. And in Australia, it has hired former Accenture executive Andre Conti to head the local Next business.

“Despite a year marked by lockdowns, travel restrictions and economic recessions, our plans for expansion are not done,” said Ng, singling out Australia as a key market.

Noting that the Australian IT services market is the third largest in APAC, Ng said NCS will tap into its diversity of talent and technology to grow its Australian business through organic and inorganic means.

As for China, Ng said NCS’s strategy is to make “clear and deliberate choices surrounding the type of clients, solutions and leadership it takes to win in that market”.

He added: “Our focus is in growing our enterprise business in communications, media, technology, financial services, healthcare and transport, as well as manufacturing.”

As part of the Singtel group, Singapore’s largest telecoms provider with significant minority stakes in several telcos in the region, NCS is also eyeing the telecoms sector, with operators racing to transform their networks and back-end processes to deliver new 5G services.

Together with Singtel, NCS has set up a strategic business group called Telco+ to help telcos improve operational efficiencies and leverage data-driven insights to improve customer experiences.

By combining the 5G capabilities of Singtel and NCS’s expertise in digital and technology services, Telco+ will develop a full stack of 5G-enabled solutions to help enterprises capitalise on the applications of 5G.

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The plan is to go after Singtel’s affiliate telcos – a list that includes Telkomsel in Indonesia, Globe Telecom in the Philippines and AIS in Thailand – as well as operators in the Greater China region, Ng told Computer Weekly on the sidelines of the event.

“If we go to a telco in Hong Kong, Taiwan or mainland China, I think our promise is very strong as we are practitioners,” he said. “And with the Singtel brand, which has credibility and strong backing, we will be able to differentiate ourselves from general systems integrators.”

With its regional expansion, NCS is pitting itself against global technology service providers such as Accenture, Infosys and DXC, which may have deeper expertise, partnerships and scale.

But Ng believes NCS has what it takes to make an impression, at least on the regional stage. “Not many system integrators or tech services firms can do what we’re doing, ranging from the core services of applications, infrastructure, engineering and cyber security to unique services around digital cloud platforms,” he said.

Ng said NCS is also of the right size, neither too big nor too small, to devote resources and attention to its clients in the pan-Asian market compared with global providers that may have priorities elsewhere.

As a specialist in government services that started out as one of the Singapore government’s key IT service providers, NCS also has an upper hand in the public sector business, which it is doubling down on with a new government business group led by former Accenture executive Sam Liew.

“Our technology solutions and innovations developed in Singapore are valued by other governments across Asia-Pacific,” said Liew. “We will also be harvesting diverse ideas and innovations from other markets to refine and enhance our solutions.”

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