TechBooks Scripts Expansion

New Delhi | Updated: Apr 9 2004, 05:30am hrs
Notwithstanding the US backlash against outsourcing of work to countries like India, TechBooks, a $34 million US-based publishing technology provider is anticipating a steady growth of high-end content development outsourcing to India. The company plans to invest $7 million in its Indian operations and ramp up its head count here by adding 500-700 professionals this year. The company currently employs around 2000 professionals in Indian operations.

The investment will be done through TechBooks International Pvt Ltd, the Indian arm of TechBooks, in expansion of capacity of the companys three development centres in New Delhi by the end of 2004, TechBooks chief executive officer (CEO) Ranjit Singh said. We will add 500 to 700 professionals especially science professionals, PhDs, English scholars and QuarkXPress professionals during the same period here, he told eFE.

Mr Singh said the three offshore development centres in India are engaged in providing content composition and data conversion services to publishers, information aggregators, professional societies, universities and corporations. We are leveraging the offshore model from a time when the phrase business process outsourcing had probably not even been coined. Unlike other BPOs, TechBooks is a high-end outsourcing unit that does complex manual work of editing, composing, designing and programming at its development centres.

Mr Singh said the work includes content development, composition, design and layout of books, journals, financial reports, among others. TechBooks clientele includes publishers like Oxford and Cambridge University Press, Prentice Hall, Pearson and Tata McGraw Hill, among others.

According to Mr Singh, India is slowly emerging as the hub of content development outsourcing as the publishing companies and agencies in the US and UK realise that cost savings due to outsourcing to India works out to as high as 40 per cent. In addition, performance factors like knowledge and analytical skills of Indian professionals, availability of manpower and the ability to move up the value chains are advantages that attract global publishing houses, he added.

Apart from cost savings, overseas companies realise that outsourcing enables faster turnaround of work, high quality, and faster time to market. Currently, at least 15-20 per cent of total publishing work in the US is being outsourced and the activitiy is expected to increase over the next three years, Mr Singh said. At present, large publishing houses do business outsourcing from about $30 to $100 million annually. The business of outsourced publishing in India is estimated to be around Rs 1,000 crore annually, he added.