Building a hub

Building a hub

“India has been core to our global operations as it is an offshore destination that handles most of our undertakings from the U.S.,” says Satyajit Bandyopadhyay, president and managing director, Ness Technologies India (Ness). With global headquarters in Tel-Aviv, the provider of end-to-end information technology (IT) services and solutions considers its Indian operations vital to its growth plans. “At the moment our work is split into thirds, one-third is handled in Israel, Europe and India respectively, but, we hope to grow our business in such a manner that India handles 45 per cent of our work load,” adds Bandyopadhyay. Even with regard to employee strength, the Indian operation is the largest with a tally of 3,000 people out of the global head count of about 7,800.

Bandyopadhyay attributes the success of Ness’ Indian operations to the quality of the work processed from here. “There is a maturity shown in the software skills that are available in India, both in terms of concept and capability,” he says. The main focus area for the outsourced product development done out of Ness’ ‘Software Product Labs’ in India is high-end research and development for several sectors including financial services, healthcare and life sciences. “We follow an extension model where our operations are transparent and our clients feel that the outsourced division is an extension of their own operations, facilitated by Ness,” says Bandyopadhyay. In fact, in addition to its Software Product Labs in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad, Ness has established an extended development centre in Slovakia where close to 300 people are being trained by its Indian workforce. Plans to build a similar centre in Israel are in the offing. Bandyopadhyay shares that Ness’ long-term plans include India being the hub for all offshore work and the steps it is taking are in line with that vision.

Strategic growth

“As we were not pioneers in the IT services sector, we adopted the two-way strategy of either being a leader in a geography or a vertical,” says Bandyopadhyay. Ness is the largest company in its sector in Israel and Bandyopadhyay elaborates by saying that it is a “big fish in the small pond of Eastern Europe.” “In the U.S., we are leaders of the software product development vertical,” he adds. And its Indian operations can take much credit for this success. Bandyopadhyay sees more work coming India’s way as accountability and ownership of work has come into existence. “Five years ago, only the peripheral work was outsourced to India, now, close to 50 per cent of IT work is done out of India, for most organisations,” he says. At Ness, the strategy is to move towards an outcome based model where it helps client get the optimum results for the money spent as opposed to just meeting deadlines.

 

“As we were not pioneers in the IT services sector, we adopted the two-way strategy of either being a leader in a geography or a vertical”

 

Even when the times were difficult, as was the case during the recent global recession, Ness’ Indian operations were not adversely impacted. “As we are involved in research and development here, companies cannot afford to pull out despite an economic slowdown,” explains Bandyopadhyay. He also states that the Indian operations grew in the last eight quarters whereas Ness’ global operations in Israel and Europe did suffer setbacks. Bandyopadhyay says, “This year is our return to growth year where we will be back on track, globally.” However, he is quick to caution that one cannot expect to achieve the same level of growth seen pre-recession as clients remain cautious in their spending.

Fun at work

Interestingly, one factor that sets Ness apart is its work culture. “We spend more time in office than at home, so it is our responsibility to create an enjoyable atmosphere,” reasons Bandyopadhyay. “Research and development as a field is demanding and to get the best out of our people, we have to involve them in creating an open work environment. For instance, even our corporate social responsibilities include several ventures where employees are required to devote their time as opposed to money,” he adds. And this is something Ness espouses globally. When asked about the relationship that Ness’ Indian and Israeli operations share, Bandyopadhyay says that they get along very well. “We share many similarities in our culture and more importantly, Tel-Aviv does not look to micro-manage us,” he says. The Indian operations is manned by Indians and headed by Indians, with the headquarters acting as a guide.

As for the future, Ness looks to consolidate its growth in the geographies that it currently operates in. “We have added central Europe to operations in Eastern Europe, but, moving to other countries does not figure in our immediate plans,” says Bandyopadhyay. His parting note is a promise to bring more glory to Ness’ Indian operations, “Last year, out of our global topline of about U.S. $550 million, we contributed U.S. $200 million. This year, we will hopefully do more business.”

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