Our fastest growing geography is China

Written by Diksha Dutta | Diksha Dutta | Updated: Jun 18 2012, 07:54am hrs
There is no doubt that NV Tiger Tyagarajan, who took over charge of the countrys largest BPO Genpact a year ago, leads a hectic work life. When I look at my day at Genpact, breakfast is with a pharmaceutical client in the US, lunch is over a meeting with a retail client in Europe, and in the evening, I am on a call with a Chinese client. Not the one to complain, he says that he loves his job, believes in directly interacting with clients in the high growth markets of the US, Europe and China and wants a similar work attitude across all levels in his company. In a candid interaction with Diksha Dutta, he talks about the Headstrong acquisition, what is out-dated and what is new in the BPO sector, changing demands of customers and his gameplan for Genpact. Excerpts:

What has been your agenda since you took over as the CEO

When I took charge as the CEO, we had just announced the Headstrong acquisition worth $550 million. The first quarter of 2011 had shown good results. Headstrong was an important acquisition because it allowed us to enter a brand new verticalcapital markets, which earlier we were not present in.

First six months as the CEO, I literally spent 80% of the time on the roads. From middle of June to early December, I met hundreds of customers, interacted with 80% of the employees and went to every location that we operate in. I wanted the Genpact family to have some agenda and be excited about the growth of the company. Client meetings in different markets were a great way to figure out what are customers trying to achieve and what is happening in their economy.

What structural changes has Genpact experienced in the last one year

Through the initial six months, I drove a set of changes that are pretty much complete now. We reorganised the businesses along industry verticals while continuing the horizontals. We had started this journey somewhere in 2009 but completed it in the second half of 2011. Now we have separate verticals like banking and financial services (BFSI), consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.

The other big change is that I have shifted half the leaders to the markets. There is a fifty-fifty split between the people in the markets and in India. Even now, I want to spend 80% of the time with customers. As a chief operating officer, I did not spend so much time in the markets as I had an operating role also.

Do you see the Chinese market as a threat or an opportunity

Our fastest growing geography is China. There is a lot of opportunity there. Economic growth rate is high and the companies are redesigning all the processes and they want to go global. The Chinese government wants to make the manufacturing industry better and we are helping them in that by retraining millions of people. At present, the size of the market does not matter. You never run your business for today. Ten years from now, if you are not in China you are dead. And we have been in China for the past 12 years. We have local headcount in the country and behave very local too there.

How do you want to add value to the new demands of customers

The most important difference today is that clients do not know what their revenue will be next month or next quarter. They cannot forecast it. Uncertainty is the biggest concern. They want to find ways not to add new costs. Variabilising cost is main on the agenda. Second is that every company has data of all kindsmore than ever before. They need to build intelligence from data. They want to be better competitors. Thats why we spend more time on our analytics businesses.

Third trend is that clients want to penetrate in emerging markets. We help companies enter China and India both. We have been doing it for quite some time but it accelerated post 2008. Customers realised there is no more growth in developed economies. We have helped companies in construction, infrastructure and healthcare industry to penetrate into emerging markets.

Lastly, we want to make intelligence out of social media.

What is it that you would like to change for the BPO sector

Typically corporations spend 12 to 18 months in deciding whom they want to work with. Once decided, they quickly do things and want to complete their task. I believe they have to spend much shorter time in deciding whom they want to work with. As a consequence, two things will happencustomers will have results faster and business will be impacted quickly. The single most important thing is speed. If you have speed, it will work. It is okay to make mistakes so that you can change them quickly.