"We plan to increase our presence in India"

Interview: Frank Heitmann, President, Global Applications Delivery, CSC

samirsachdeva

Samir Sachdeva | April 1, 2012




CSC, a $16.2 billion company with headquarters in the US, is a global leader in providing business solutions and services across key industry verticals such as banking, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing and government. CSC works out of 90 countries including India and has played an important role in the growth of the IT industry here. Frank Heitmann, president, global applications delivery (GAD) at CSC, in an interview with Samir Sachdeva discusses how the firm looks at India. Edited excerpts from the interview:

CSC started operations in Indian in 1999. It has expanded to 20 cities and has over 20,000 employees in India. How has been the journey?
We started our operations in India majorly in financial services and over the years have seen constant and steady growth of our operations. CSC India is our largest operation outside the parent company. For the first six to seven years we focused on financial services and BPO. Gradually we started outsourcing and got into software development and maintenance. Around the year 2000, we started infrastructure services and today we find representation for all the businesses in India.

Will you be expanding your employee strength and business in India?
More than 60 percent of our application business is delivered out of India. We are extremely pleased with everything – with the performance, the quality and there is no reason why we should not invest here. As a matter of fact, we are working internally to reduce our presence at other places on the globe to increase our presence in India.

Why is the Indian market so attractive from the delivery point of view?
Some years ago, it used to be very attractive as Indian engineers were known for their skills and because of the good cost profile that the Indian industry offered. Today, India has market-leading skills. I have 20,000 people in application development of which 14,000 are Indians. My knowledge sits in India. Going beyond cost benefits, it has become more about innovation, capabilities and solution development.

What are the key services CSC offers in India?
The basket of services in India is as full as basket for CSC services abroad. We are doing a lot of work including software development and consulting. So all the services that we provide across CSC internationally, you will find them in India as well. The gravity of these services is application development business which constitutes 60-70 percent of our business. BPO is also developing quite well, especially the financial services. There are new business opportunities coming in as well. I think BPO services are something that is going to grow the most in future.

What has been the focus on the public sector?
When we look at our public sector business certainly it is a challenge, be it data privacy or security of information. Our service integration of public sector business is not as strong as in commercial business. There are various activities relating to software or product but there is not much business engagement there.

What are the challenges in the public sector domain?
They are essentially legal and regulation related issues. We have started working around these issues.

Who will be your key clients when you look at the market per se?
It is difficult to say, considering we have a huge client list in India, about 300 of them. You will find CSC covering all parts of the industry and all parts of the country. Financial services, though, will remain to be the strongest vertical for CSC since its roots are here. The manufacturing and federal services are probably smaller than the other vertical.

Which technology trends are emerging in the industry?
Today the customers are asking less about the specific technologies and focusing more and more on services. It is no more important what technology is used, what is important is to provide flexible and on-demand services.
 
Is cloud emerging as a big tree?
Yes, cloud is certainly one emerging technology trend. The cloud development happens as we speak. Cloud service offerings will save investment in infrastructure like servers and hardware. There will be a second wave of cloud activities which will enable the software. We have a couple of services which we have developed recently but there is still some time before the services come to the market.

You have an innovation centre in India and abroad. What is its role?
The centre of innovation helps us showcase all those developments that we have done. It is really a kind of touch-and-feel for our clients. India is taking on board the lion’s share driving the developments that I have been speaking about. It is also because of the technology skills that we find here. Many of our solutions are developed here.

What is the focus of CSC in India?
The focus is slowly changing from what it was. Again, you need to see our parent company’s backdrop. It has its roots in the federal business in the US. For the past 20 years we have seen CSC India as software development place as we have not invested as much in the India business but that has changed for the past two years as the Indian market has become attractive. We are starting our offerings to the Indian market. We have seen some early results of our efforts and compared to our scale it’s a lot of business.
 
What kind of solutions are you pitching for in the Indian market?
We are not putting any sort of solutions here. We are waiting for opportunities and will jump on them as and when they come. We have a couple of interesting opportunities on the government side.

What are you achievements in ERP domain?
We are operating our business in different practices organised over subject matter expertise. In India we have the largest SAP practice, and then we also have pretty sizeable Oracle practice. I can talk about the kind of solutions we have brought by using such practices. For the SAP side, I think we have over 600 professionals.
 

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