For some KPOs, Kolkata is talent pool, not base station

Written by Indranil Chakraborty | Kolkata, Aug 17 | Updated: Aug 18 2007, 07:37am hrs
Kolkata still remains a pariah for some IT companies when it comes to setting up development and service centres, even though these very same companies come down every year to recruit large numbers of high-end talent.

Chennai-based Irevna, one of the top knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) companies that is now a division of Crisil, has 550 employees, mostly chartered accountants and MBAs, of whom 200 are from this city.

The company has three centres in Chennai from where it services US and European investment banking companies, according to Arghya Banerjee, who is a co-head of Irevna's India operation.

Over the next five years, Irevna will continue to recruit 200-250 people every year with up to half to come from Kolkata.

But the city's domination in employees number does not mean that Irevna will set up a KPO centre here.

"We don't have any plan for Kolkata. If we decide to move out of Chennai, we will probably go to Mumbai where Crisil already has a large unused space, said Banerjee.

Banerjee says the issue with Kolkata is its image of work disruption. "In the last five years we did not have a single day of work disruption in Chennai. In equity or derivative research, any disruption has a long term impact for our clients," Banerjee said.

When it comes to recruitment, Banerjee says the city and the state have a depth of talent that few can match. In the lastfew months, Banerjee has come here more than once to recruit CAs and MBAs.

Debesh Das, the state's IT minister, feels that Kolkata has a better record compared with cities like Bangalore and Mumbai when it comes to work disruption.

"Last year we did not have a single day's work stoppage at the call centres. We believe that if one talks to companies like Cognizant and TCS one will feel the difference." Das says.

Das says the state is taking initiatives for more road shows and direct contacts with companies to remove negative images.