Education Jul, 29 2011

Make the most of ‘IT’

Continuously growing demands for IT and ITeS professionals in India as well as abroad has led to the emergence of the IT and ITeS education and training sector as the profitable business proposition. Read on to know more...

By Namita Bhagat
Feature Writer
Make the most of ‘IT’

In present times, IT and IT enabled services are an integral part of almost all the sectors including aerospace, automotive, banks and financial institutions, aeronautics, electronics and communication, architecture, entertainment, education, healthcare, transportation, retail, BPO, manufacturing, hotels, travel, engineering, R&D, oil & gas, PSU etc in one form or the other. It eventually has led to consistent increase in demand for IT professionals and thus, necessitated the need for preparing competent and skilled human resources in the field of information technology.

IT Education in India

The IT sector in India can be segmented into IT services, engineering services, ITES-BPO services and e-business. Out of these categories IT training and education form the part of the IT Service industry. Further, the Information technology education can broadly be classified into technical and non – technical domains. An aspiring IT professional can look at careers in the Software industry (programming, analyzing, architecting, configuration, and testing & support) and Hardware Sector (system and/or network administration, data security, backup and recovery, infrastructure support and network security). Also, IT enabled services using telecom networks or the internet (such as remote maintenance, back office operations, data processing, call centres, BPOs etc require training in this field. Realising the growing need, lot of government and non government or private players have forayed into the industry and established themselves in India as well as abroad.

Key Players - IT education providers

IT education is provided in several state run educational institutions and there are several private players which have marked presence and enjoy the reputation of major contributors in the IT education scenario in India. Major private players imparting IT and related education in India are: NIIT, Aptech, Jetking, Karrox, CMS Computers, CADD, HCL, Educomp etc.

Franchising successfully in India as well as aboard

With the objective of broadening their reach and to scale up operations in India brands like NIIT, Aptech, Jetking Infotrain, Karrox , CADD, Educomp etc have adopted franchise model. Also companies like NIIT, Aptech, Jetking and CADD have not only become household names across the country but also have broadened their horizon to the international scale. Some of them have already established franchise presence; others are seeking expansion in the overseas market.

NIIT Limited: Pioneering the IT education franchise model is NIIT Limited. The company has been into education business since 1981 and began franchising 1987. It has a huge presence in India as well as abroad with more than 3,500 operational units. It has presence in more than 32 countries and seeking continual franchise expansion pan India and oversees (Master Franchisees) with number of sub brands in its portfolio like NIIT Imperia, NIIT- IFBI, GNIIT and Element K etc. The company is the largest training company in India and has witnessed strong top-line and the bottom-line growth over the years.

Aptech Ltd: Another leading IT training provider is Aptech Ltd which came into being in 1986 and also has opted for franchise route. As Ninad Karpe, CEO & MD of the company shares, “Aptech introduced its franchise model, as franchising seemed to be the most feasible way for scaling up the business and also spreading the network nationally and internationally. First franchise centre was set up in Chandigarh in 1990. From just one centre of Aptech Computer Education (its first brand) in Mumbai, today there are over 1,000 centres across the globe with 12 company owned centres, whereas the rest are franchised”.

Aptech, today has a total of 846 franchisees in India and 459 franchisees internationally. It has plans to add another 150 centres FY 2011-12 both in India and abroad. Also, such expansion will include the debut of its brand MAAC (MAYA Academy of Advance Cinematcis) in Philippines which, Karpe describes as part of the internalisation of plans. The company already has a total of 80 MAAC centres in India and expecting to have another 20 of its centres this fiscal. The ideal centre location would be space around the student catchment area and the investments would differ with each brand and territory.

Jetking Infotrain Ltd: Also, surging ahead with domestic and international expansion plans is Jetking Infotrain Ltd, a Hardware and Networking Institute. It is mulling aggressive expansion by launching 20 to 25 centres in Southern India and 10 to 15 centres in the eastern part of India to be opened through both ownership and franchise route. The initial capital needed to partner with Jetking as its franchisee in India would be minimum Rs 30 to 40 lakh varying according to location. Jetking has 125 operational centres in India out of which 119 are franchise centres. The company is ready to take on new world markets in South East Asian countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. It is planning grant franchisees in the Middle East region, in countries namely Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and West Africa.

CADD Centre Training Services Private Limited: Another promising franchise opportunity in the IT education sector is by CADD Centre Training Services Private Limited. Though, CAD (Computer Aided Design) is a loose form of   Information Technology. As Shibu Peethambaran, Business Manager – International, CADD explains, “Anyone will agree that the act of ‘designing’ would never come to an end. You will not get into a situation where no buildings, roads, bridges, cars and plans are made. Learning the tools that helps designers will exist and designers will keep learning it! This is beyond time, national boundaries and cultures.”

Currently, the company has 285 centres in India and 12 centres internationally in countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Maldives and Malaysia. It is now seeking to double the business from International Business this year and aiming new launches in especially in South Asia, Middle East and Africa via individual and Master Franchisees model. It would offer franchise model of annual fee with no royalty, trainer deputation and reinvestment for market development. Also, CADD centre has developed exclusive support team for international associates.

Challenges and Profitability

Commenting on the challenges for the IT education and training business Karpe says “The career education selling is almost like a concept selling and thus requires a lot of time and patience. Therefore, the basic eligibility criteria for selecting a franchisee by Aptech include passion for education and excellence. And, Peethambaran elaborates the profitability aspect of IT franchise,” As a business, IT franchise including CAD is a lucrative investment. Low investment and fast returns is the most important feature and Training industry is less prone to economic cycles. Providing the same Quality to the end customer anywhere in the world; taking care of the investment and business Interest and handholding the partner throughout, is not everybody’s cup of tea!”

To conclude, it can be said that the growing demand for IT professionals worldwide will only propel the need of quality and industry relevant IT education. Thus, this scenario would provide abundant lucrative opportunities for the IT education companies. And the brands that have adopted franchise model or contemplating to opt franchising in future will provide profitable entrepreneurial opportunities for the prospective franchisees.

Related: Growing professionalism via franchise way

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