Outsourcing industry will continue to grow: Cognizant head (Interview)

August 17th, 2008 - 12:07 pm ICT by IANS  

By T.S.V. Hari
Chennai, Aug 17 (IANS) Despite the global economic slowdown and bad publicity against the industry, India’s outsourcing sector would retain its high growth rate, says R. Chandrasekaran, president of Cognizant India, a leading global and business process outsourcing (BPO) company. The number of foreign companies outsourcing jobs to India is increasing geometrically, the industry leader told IANS in an interview.

According to him, lower salaries, compared to the global standards, is the unique selling proposition (USP) of India. However, he added: “On the global GDP linked purchase power parity grid, India is the fourth country ahead of Germany, the UK, Italy, Canada etc, according to the listings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Doesn’t that indicate something?”

Chandrasekaran also expressed confidence that India would catch up with the global pace in the IT industry and technological advancement.

“From mobile telephony that helps us keep track of vehicles that ferry our associates from home to jobs, to application of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), Nano and virtualisation methods, all in their infancy globally, our research is on a par with the world,” he said.

Asked about the computer hardware prices, he said prices would come down further in two years as all “aspects of life will depend on computing per se” by that time.

While he pointed out the crippling shortage of electricity in the country and particularly in Tamil Nadu, where Cognizant has units, Chandrasekaran said: “No matter what the world says, we are happy here. Further, shortages in some form or other are a global phenomenon.”

Despite humble beginnings from a Tamil medium school, Chandrasekaran has built an empire whose last balance sheet showed an annual profit of $2.13 billion.

Cognizant is the second company in India to have been accorded the honour of ringing the Nasdaq (US stock exchange) bell for the start of trade March 5, 2007.

“In 2006, we grew 60 percent but the rising rupee, the global slowdown and competition have trimmed it almost by half. Yet, our profits are close to $2.8 billion and we are India’s fastest growing services company in IT,” Chandrasekaran said.

Asked about the company’s efforts to reverse brain drain, Chandrasekaran said he was one of those who started the process successfully. “Roughly 70 percent of our top people are the best examples of reverse brain drain,” he said.

Chandrasekaran said Cognizant was against making too many attractive offers to students before graduation as these result in dropouts.

“We invest in R&D in educational institutions, rewarding faculties for cutting-edge results and encourage systems of education like technical writing, content management, e-learning to prepare students for the future. Our collaborative ventures in Manipal have resulted in a new course in pharmacological methods,” he said.

Asked about bad publicity against the IT industry, he said: “While our strict controls, sensitisation methods, constant monitoring have prevented any wrongdoing, some sections of the media play up minor aberrations as it’s fashionable to titillate underachievers by blaming the smartest guys and girls of India.”

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