Monday, January 4, 2010

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TCS, Infosys, Wipro give local flavour to foreign operations

India's large software service providers are going increasingly local with hiring in overseas markets, part of a drive to position themselves as truly global players and polish their image in advanced economies reeling from job losses.

Beginning with employing foreign nationals for junior and mid-level positions, companies such as Tata Consultancy (TCS), Infosys and Wipro – together these three account for about a third of India’s IT exports – now have a number of foreigners in their top echelons.

“There’s a transition in mindset to grow out of the Indian mold and aspire to be like an Oracle , IBM, Accenture, SAP. Also, as Indian companies have gained scale they can tap the best foreign talent; earlier they had to settle for just about anyone,’’ says K Sudarshan, managing partner at executive search firm EMA Partners International.

In the past year, many of the top positions at Wipro Technologies have been filled by foreigners. American Martha Bejar left Microsoft to join India’s third largest software exporter as president, global sales and operations. Ralf Reich, a former Unisys executive in charge of strategic outsourcing in continental Europe, was appointed head of German operations. And Wipro’s centres in France and Japan are also headed by non-Indians.

Infosys’ German, French and Australian operations are managed by locals. Jackie Korhonen, ex-vice-president of managed business process services for IBM Australia and New Zealand, is now head of Infosys Australia.

“They want to be true multinationals. Besides, if you want to really penetrate a local market, bagging business from not only big companies but also small and medium, you better have a local face,’’ says Diptarup Chakraborti, principal research analyst, Gartner.

At TCS, India’s largest technology services company, foreign nationals comprise nearly 12% of the senior management. Among the key executives are John Lenzen, global head of marketing, Gabriel Rozman, global head of emerging markets and Carol Wilson, global business unit head, Hi-Tech solutions unit.

Amit Singh, head of the IT practice at Avendus Capital, says that Indian companies, used to expanding at 30%, are now seeing growth decline. “They want new avenues to maintain growth and hence the geographic expansion and local faces to drive it.’’

Indian software providers have also been expanding into new geographies in the past year. Infosys opened an office in Brazil in mid-December and in recent months Wipro started operations and ramped up investments in strategic development centres and near-shore centres like Atlanta (US), Bucharest (Romania), Wroclaw (Poland), Curitiba (Brazil), Chengdu (China) and Cebu (Philippines).
Continue reading on: EconomicTimes


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