Knowledge Services Cos Take Outsourcing Up Value Chain

New Delhi: | Updated: Nov 10 2003, 05:30am hrs
Contrary to the common belief that business process outsourcing (BPO) is all about roping in graduates or undergraduates for a few quick bucks, here is a different trend set by a few knowledge processing or knowledge services companies.

With as many as 2,500 domain experts from top learning institutes in the country, the knowledge services space is already generating revenues to the tune of $25 million.

These companies have rewritten the profile of the (IT-enabled services) ITES industry while moving up the value chain by hiring advanced degree holders from Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), chartered accountants (CAs), lawyers and even doctors.

Most research and analysis work is being outsourced to India with the help of companies like JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, OfficeTiger, Evalueserve and marketRX, among others.

This high-end knowledge processing work translates to over 50 per cent cost reductions for the companies outsourcing their research or analysis to India through these KPO companies.

Our clients get a cost advantage of 50 t0 60 per cent by outsourcing their research and analysis work to us in India. They also get an access to a high-profile talent pool, Evalueserve country head Ashish Gupta said.

Of the 2,500 professionals in the knowledge processing space around 70 per cent of these are either MBAs or engineers or accountants. By 2008, knowledge services companies in India are likely to employ 50,000 professionals with revenues between $200-250 million, says National Association of Software and Service Companies vice president Sunil Mehta.

OfficeTiger and JP Morgan are working in the area of financial research for global companies. A $20 million financial research and analytics firm, OfficeTiger has set up two centres in Chennai with 1,200 people. Among the 1,200 people, OfficeTiger has 40 CAs and around 300 MBA-degree holders. Moving ahead, the company intends to hire another 300 people (MBAs and CAs) within 12 months.

We work with large investment banks, financial institutions and corporates. We do equity research, corporate financial analysis, financial document servicing and accounting for our clients requiring high skills, OfficeTiger co-chief executive officer Joseph Sigelman said.

Evalueserve offers high-end research in market research, equity research, business (benchmarking, research on strategic decisions, business plans, etc) and technology (patent writing) research.

It has around 90 customers with 230 people working out of India, of which 25 per cent are engineers and rest MBAs. The company intends to double its team in the coming 12 months with the ratio of engineers and MBA degree holders remaining the same, Mr Gupta said. We also have around 4 to 5 doctors in the company and are in the process of hiring more of doctors, he said.

Fairly young, marketRX has 25 people in its team in India, of these around 7 are from IITs and the rest from business schools including IIMs. The company has received $10.25 million from Westbridge Capital in its third round of funding.

marketRX offers research and analysis in sales and marketing for pharmaceutical companies. Some of its clients include Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Meyers, Glaxo Smithkline, Eli Lily, etc.

We are looking at adding around 80 more professionals in the coming six months, of this 30 per cent will be engineers and remaining will be MBAs, marketRX president Subinder Khurana said.