Our success is driven by people, processes and technology

by Sohini Bagchi    Aug 08, 2013

Anantha Radhakrishnan

Anantha Radhakrishnan is the VP and Global Head of Enterprise Services at Infosys BPO, where he leads the business transformation, technology services, quality and transition functions helping clients with differentiated solutions and offerings to deliver enhanced business value. In an exclusive interaction with CXOtoday, Radhakrishnan explains the massive transformation of the BPO industry and the strategic role Infosys BPO in this sector.

How has the BPO industry transformed from its early days? What are the recent trends you observe in the outsourcing industry?

The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in India has experienced key transformations over the past few years, gaining experience, maturity, and moving towards higher-end services and global competitiveness and can be more strategically referred to as the business process management (BPM) industry. The industry has moved from a transaction model to transformation moving away from cost, quality, and productivity in its early days to specialization, process reengineering and technology-enabled platforms in recent times. For example, the sector is now moving to multifaceted offerings, which include data analysis and real-time processing with an increased focus on end-to-end services like consulting, business transformation and optimization. The industry is also providing value-added, domain-centric solutions with process optimization, process engineering, specialization and technology-enabled platforms like cloud computing, social media and mobility. There is also a shift from offshoring to near shoring, offering greater job opportunity to candidates in a specific geography besides offering time and cost optimization. The sector will continue to move up the value chain and positively contribute to the country’s GDP in the coming years.

What role does your internal IT team play in the ever-increasing BPO/BPM sector?

As the sector continues to thrive, we realize technology enablement is the key to our growth and success. In other words, IT is the lifeblood of our company. Since our offerings rely on technology, we have essentially developed a robust technology infrastructure. We have a strong internal IT team that devises new products and service offerings in sync with the customer demand and expanding markets. Today we are delivering complex core functions, with focus on sector and technology-led transformation that drives business process effectiveness. The ‘Business Process on Cloud’ operating model and business platforms created by Infosys BPO are helping drive significant benefits for clients by way of creating more value for the end customer and improving overall effectiveness. We are leveraging knowledge to provide analytics and insights delivered on digital channels and process automation leveraging robotics and artificial intelligence. The tech team is an equal collaborator in product design and development and also an equal partner in selling to the customer. They play a predominant role in our success.

What is your key differentiator? Who do you consider your key competitors?

We do not have a single key differentiator. The success comes from people, process and technology. Of course IT as I said is a huge differentiator.  The way we leverage technology, domain competency, offer training and certification to our people, all play a role here. We invest heavily in people, much more than many of our competitors so that they come up with innovative models, create insight for customers and convert information into actionable insights. Our market expansion strategy is also a differentiating factor in our success. To our customers, we act as a differentiator in terms productivity enhancement and greater domain intensity.Our main competitors are Accenture, IBM, Genpact and TCS in this sector. But our increase in the on-site and near-shore presence have clearly given us an edge. We are targeting a market which was previously the domain of global service providers like Accenture and IBM. Moreover, we operate at a margin of 20-22 percent, much higher than some of our competitors. Finally, we are growing at 17-18 percent, much higher than Nasscom’s projected industry growth rate of 11-14 percent. All this show we are much ahead of the curve.

What impact does emerging technologies have on the BPO industry?

Embracing emerging technologies such as cloud, social analytics and mobile are becoming a norm in every industry, and more so in the BPO where leading players are increasing customer-centricity, deepening focus on new markets, adopting new business models and emphasizing on successful growth strategies. our ‘Business Process on Cloud’ operating model have helped us in driving growth and customer services. I have already mentioned we are offering analytics and insights delivered on digital channels and process automation leveraging robotics and artificial intelligence. In the coming months, we are making our bring your own device (BYOD) strategies even more streamlined. Social media is another area we are bullish about social media analytics to have a better perspective on servicing our customers. Besides, we plan to experiment with context-based services, converging data architectures and social-driven models in the coming months.

What are the new opportunities you are looking at in the next one year?

We will continue to strengthen our Infosys BPO by expanding in multiple geographies and taking work to nearshore centers to countries like Poland and Czech Republic for Europe, Costa Rica and Mexico for the U.S., China for Japan, Taiwan, and Korea; Manila for the U.S and Brazil. We will continue to focus on our core verticals such as manufacturing, BFSI, and telecom and venture into retail, media and healthcare. We will experiment around new and emerging technologies such as the Cloud, analytics and social media and invest in our R&D initiatives. Horizontally, sourcing will be a major area of focus in the coming months and we will increase our focus on areas such as legal process outsourcing, crowd-sourcing and other newer BPM models.