Soon after launching ISTS Worldwide Inc. in 2002 as a general technology consulting company, Chief Executive Officer Viren Rana realized the optimal space for ISTS was in retail payments. He felt his company possessed the requisite capabilities to help retail organizations and their service providers with their payment needs, so ISTS set out to become the most successful information technology (IT) solutions provider in the industry.
ISTS said its array of offerings includes delivery of global applications; broad-based technology solutions; potential to reduce labor-related and other costs; scalable delivery capabilities; and the gamut of IT outsourcing, from limited to all inclusive.
According to Rana, a core strength of ISTS is its ability to help ISOs with any of their technology needs. He pointed out that once an organization's requirements are identified, the technology can be executed and a significant portion of the IT work can often be transitioned offshore. Rana has found that using highly trained and educated staff in India means a significant cost savings to ISTS customers, while still providing the highest levels of technology expertise and services.
ISTS offers customized application development and integration using complementary enablers, people, processes, technology and global delivery capabilities to help its customers optimize retail and payment technology.
The ISTS Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and IT Outsourcing services include technology strategy, architecture services, application outsourcing, development, outsourced quality assurance (QA) and testing, post implementation support, and global execution.
ISTS stated that its fundamental strengths in software application development and enterprise integration have enabled it to ride a wave of rapid technology adoption in traditional retail, for both the payments front-end and back-end applications.
As technology continues to evolve, ISTS endeavors to employ consultants who best understand newly emerging payment solutions. "We believe it's our business to know what MLSs and ISOs need," said Mustafa Shehabi, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing.
He added that the company brings together subject matter expertise, including "payment processing experts; compliance specialists; security experts; and high-transaction, low-latency application developers to deliver effective payment solutions.
"Our team consists of business and technology process specialists across the entire retail and payments vertical," Shehabi said. "They work together at our state-of-the-art global delivery center in India to deliver solutions with reduced time to market."
Chandan Mukherjee, Vice President of Retail Payment Applications for ISTS, offered the following perspective: "We believe in delivering innovative products with low cost of ownership and a high level of flexibility to meet the immediate as well as future needs of our customers."
The company described its consulting teams as retail payment experts who work in conjunction with highly skilled and experienced technology specialists to develop turnkey solutions; often these professionals work within ISTS customer organizations to achieve desired objectives.
ISTS stated it has developed an effective, comprehensive solutions delivery model that combines the benefits of local engagement, using high-level solution definition and design in the United States, and solution execution, using highly skilled and trained talent offshore in India. ISTS believes this agile development approach provides its clients with an efficient delivery framework that allows for flexible, cost-effective and rapid solution development.
"At ISTS, we see a huge opportunity in the world of retail and payment systems, specifically to build custom applications for the larger retail and payments community," Rana said. "We have been able to successfully bring three key enablers to outsourcing - namely domain capabilities, technology expertise and global execution - to deliver value in terms of cost and skills for our customers."
ISTS has found that in this world of diminishing margins and competitive pricing pressures, merchant level salespeople and ISOs must work hard to maintain customer loyalty by leveraging technology to build differentiation, lower their operational costs and help their merchants drive customer foot traffic.
The ISTS team claims a depth of retail experience and solution delivery expertise that spans the entire retail enterprise spectrum. Thus, ISTS believes employing a technology partner that can assist retail customers in defining a strategic vision and implementing tactical solutions will have an immediate positive impact on any payment company's operations.
ISTS' custom application development and integration expertise enables it to deliver cost effective, tactical and scalable solutions for distinct retail environments - from mom-and-pop storefronts to multilane, multilocation retailers, and from the POS to the back-office.
ISTS works with clients on retail store technologies, multipayment applications, POS systems, gift and loyalty card applications and self-service solutions. ISTS reported that it draws upon its understanding of technology and practical knowledge to provide frameworks that can be built and customized to reduce a client's time to market, deliver custom end-to-end solutions or build components that can integrate into a client's existing infrastructure platform.
ISTS offers a comprehensive selection of custom application development and delivery solutions, including application architecture and development, test strategy development, automation, execution and deployment, and post production application support.
The company provides what it says is a unique blend of technical excellence, innovative development methodologies and metrics-driven application support models, which can be deployed in diverse IT environments.
The company focuses on application development in the retail payments domain, including several areas of emerging technologies such as mobile payments, embedded POS systems and large-scale transaction processing.
The company also boasts niche development capabilities on embedded platforms, including applications for mobile and countertop payment devices across a variety of embedded operating systems. It also claims a range of unique quality assurance processes and methodologies that can deliver tremendous value during internal and partner initiatives alike.
In addition, ISTS augments postproduction application support with what is reportedly a unique approach that allows for seamless transition of application ownership from development to support teams.
This framework makes it possible for generic application support teams to manage, monitor and enhance multiple applications with lower support incidences, high quality and full compliance with configuration and change management processes, ISTS noted.
ISTS provides consulting services in various areas of enterprise development and support, including infrastructure design and management, enterprise security standards design and enforcement, enterprise application architecture, and domain-specific solutions development.
The company reported that its consultants belong to various industry bodies and standards committees, so they provide access to the latest compliance and regulatory standards. The ISTS team has developed best practices and best-of-breed implementation frameworks across all of these domains.
ISTS pointed out that it can implement a complete solution as a turnkey initiative or augment existing project teams with domain-specific expertise. It can also provide staffing assistance for organizations wishing to put together their own team of technologists, as well as put together architectural recommendations and models for technology solutions on an as-needed basis.
ISTS can develop a core team that specializes in providing QA services for each client. ISTS' QA and test automation assist clients in building secure software products and sophisticated tools for performing comprehensive software testing.
ISTS believes that independent verification and validation are to software quality assurance what third-party financial audits are to corporate finance, because unbiased testing efforts yield the best possible quality software. ISTS also reported that its customers achieve superior quality because ISTS, as a third party, is doing software testing and validation.
ISTS also specializes in deployment and management of global enterprise solutions for large corporations across the payments industry worldwide.
According to ISTS, its team of industry experts helps clients automate their enterprises and speed up transactions, and its application management services can assist clients in maintaining their existing applications, as well as add new functions or create and implement new applications to support an organization's growing needs.
The embedded systems group at ISTS provides software development and testing services for embedded and real-time systems. The team has expertise in retail terminals, kiosks, entertainment electronics, the mobile and handheld industry overall, and mobile payments. ISTS develops embedded software on multiple platforms and has experience in interfacing and driving software development for designed systems.
ISTS can supply business intelligence and data warehousing assistance and infrastructure management services. It focuses on providing IT infrastructure solutions and services to a global customer base and covers such technology areas as data center management, network administration and enterprise system management.
The global information technology sphere is rapidly moving toward the deployment of open, online, readily available modular systems, ISTS has observed. The explosive growth of such systems has contributed to a situation in which huge amounts of critical data are exchanged over a medium (the Internet) that has minimal protection. A small loophole is all it takes to compromise the security of a company's systems. A break-in by an unauthorized intruder can cause irreparable damage.
ISTS security services can help with planning and design of security architecture, policies and public key infrastructure; implementation and setup of security products (hardware and software); security monitoring and management; and security audits.
Looking to the future, Mukherjee said, "I think companies will be hungry for a technology partner. ISOs would benefit greatly from this type of partnership."
ISTS said that most of its clients are based in the United States, but other global markets are emerging. In 2011, ISTS plans to start doing business in Europe. Time will tell whether ISTS will indeed become the dominant IT solutions provider in the payments industry.
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Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
ISTS Worldwide Inc.
39420 Liberty Street, Suite 250
Fremont, CA 94538