'Our focus is to embrace growth in small towns'

Written by Debojyoti Ghosh | Debojyoti Ghosh | Updated: Oct 18 2010, 05:43am hrs
Aditya Birla Minacs, the BPO arm of the $29 billion Aditya Birla Group, is seeing increasing opportunity in the rural BPO segment. We have started an innovative proactive response to this evolving business scenario that is reliable and cost effective called Connect India, says Milind Godbole, president (operations, Asia Pacific), Aditya Birla Minacs. Our focus is to embrace the growth taking place in the tier three and four towns.

With 28 years of experience in serving many Fortune 500 companies, Aditya Birla Minacs offers global corporations in the banking, financial services and insurance; telecom, infrastructure, media and entertainment; and manufacturing industries a comprehensive and seamless suite of IT and IT-enabled services. Minacs has about 10,000 seats and more than 14,500 employees at locations in North America, Europe, and Asia. These facilities span Canada, Germany, Hungary, India, the Philippines, the UK and the US, and provide services in over 40 languages. In an interview with Debojyoti Ghosh, Godbole shares the companys growth strategies in the domestic and foreign markets and its focus in the tier III and IV towns. Excerpts:

How are you planning to grow your rural BPO business

We have started an innovative proactive response to this evolving business scenario that is reliable and cost effective called Connect India. The model comprises hubs in tier I and II cities, connected to smaller centres as spokes in neighbouring tier three and four towns, to form a mesh for decentralised but integrated BPO service delivery integrating disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity planning (BCP).

We have already set up four centres in Chennai, Baroda, Aurangabad, and Kolkata, that act as hubs for their respective regions and now are in the process of rolling our spokes that connect to these hubs. We set up the first spoke in Ranchi recently.

What will be the strategy going forward, in this regard

Our focus is to embrace the growth taking place in the tier three and four towns. Tier three would be centres that have the capacity to provide a workforce and a potential resource pool to a BPO. Such centres will have college education, electricity, infrastructure available locally. The customers product potential or demand may also be high, although in all likelihood it is yet to be tapped. Aurangabad, Lucknow, Goa, Mangalore and Mysore would be examples of tier three towns that have yet to establish footprints as BPO centres but have substantial locally educated population and related infrastructure.

Tier four would be towns like Davangere, Belgaum, again substantial locally educated population who migrate to larger urban centres for jobs. The resource pool is not as large as tier three but can be effectively harnessed to the 100-seater concept, which refers to the size of low cost yet economically sound rural BPO.

We are continuously exploring plans to tap the potential of rural BPOs under our Connect India initiative.

What are your plans for the Asia Pacific region

Currently our focus is to expand the existing Philippines operations. We employ around 400 people which we plan to scale up to 3,000 in the next couple of years and also have plans to establish a new unit beyond our existing Manila facility. By the financial year-end, we expect our headcount in Manila to grow to 1,000. We see huge potential in the Asia Pacific region, and are working on growing the business in this market.

How are you targeting business from the domestic operations

Our focus is to continue to expand portfolio of services in the core value chain of our customers industries by partnering with our clients, working with our Group companies to develop these capabilities and acquiring targeted capabilities through inorganic means. We are targeting verticals such as healthcare, insurance, banking, telecom, retail and public sector in the local market.

We see good momentum and the company is chasing deals with a total value of more than $1 billion. Today outsourcing service providers have a unique opportunity to dive deeper into the core processes of their clients and move up the value chain.

What is current footprint of Aditya Birls Minacs

Aditya Birla Minacs has established industry practices at locations in North America, Europe, and Asia with clients in the manufacturing and automotive, banking, financial services, insurance, telecommunications, and technology verticals. North America contributes about 65% of the companys total revenues and the rest is from the APAC region.

We are just 18 months old in domestic operations. We have centres in Bangalore, Mumbai, Aurangabad, Vadodara, Chennai, Kolkata and Ranchi that are focused on telecom, insurance, education and manufacturing client base.