Symantec India to identify products for global market

Symantec Corp.’s product development center in Pune, India, has been assigned to identify new products for the company’s markets worldwide, according to an executive of the company.

The Pune development center, which has been mainly into product engineering, is now assuming product management functions, including identifying new products that the Cupertino, California, company can bring to market, said Sharad Sharma, Symantec’s vice president for product operations and general manager for India.

The Pune center, set up by Veritas Software Corp. in 1992, became part of Symantec after the merger of the two companies in July this year. The center currently employs about 1,100, and accounts for about 20 percent of Symantec’s development staff worldwide, Sharma said.

The center has so far taken full responsibility for the development, maintenance and enhancement of some of Veritas’ products, but the product management for these products typically continued in the U.S. because of the proximity to the customers, Sharma said.

As the market in India and the rest of the Asia Pacific region grows larger and becomes more sophisticated, there is now an opportunity to identify product opportunities and do the product management in India, according to Sharma. “We will be focused on global markets, but with customer access and insight coming from regional markets,” said Sharma, adding that it was premature at this point to predict how many new Symantec products would come from the Pune center.

This year, the Pune center is experimenting with a number of ideas that may lead to new products. For example, it is looking at offering availability and performance products for customers using enterprise business software from SAP AG of Walldorf, Germany, and is working on this with Wipro Ltd. of Bangalore, which has a large global SAP practice. The center is also looking at a product for the disaster recovery (DR) market.

“We figured that in some pockets in India there are sophisticated DR customers who are good proxies for sophisticated DR customers anywhere in the world,” Sharma said.

An upshot of the transformation of the Pune development center into a location for identifying new product opportunities is that engineering managers at the center are getting into business-facing roles.

The Pune center is exposing its senior engineers to field operations to ensure that they can make the transition from technology innovation to product innovation, according to Sharma. “We want them to get insights into customer requirements by this move,” he said. “We want our engineers to do the market and business analysis.”

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