India a speciality hub for Accenture

Date: 03-12-2007
Source: Hindustan Times

Global consulting and IT service giant Accenture has enhanced its Indian operations from a source of cost-effective technology work to a hub for specialization and innovation on the basis of which it keeps its edge in a highly competitive industry.

It is also ready to fan out into smaller towns in India after building up a work-force of 36,000 technology and BPO workers who now span Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad.

"We are going to look at different locations," Accenture's chief operating officer Stephen J. Rohleder told Hindustan Times in an interview in New Delhi, where he was attending the India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum. "India continues to be the crown jewel of (our) operations."

Accenture, which competes with US-bred leaders like IBM Global Services and Electronic Data Systems (EDS) on the one hand and emerging global challengers such as Infosys and Wipro on the other, has developed a clutch of India-based "centres of excellence" in speciality areas like SAP software, Oracle applications, service-oriented architecture, business intelligence and life sciences.

"It is really important," Rohleder said. "The R&D operations are going to evolve away from commodity skills to specialised industry skills. India will continue to be a centre of investment."

Accenture follows s an "asset-based" strategy - a reference to backing on specialised skills, industry knowledge and transferable intellectual property on the basis of which it is able to build higher profit margins. Centres of excellence are critical components of the strategy.

Though Accenture has been in India since 1987 as a consulting operation when it was called Andersen Consulting, it was in 2001 that it began a modest operation in global delivery of software services at Bangalore, bracing up to fight companies like Infosys on their home turf by hiring away Indian engineers and programmers. The operations have multiplied in size since then.

The company is also eyeing big chunks of business from domestic businesses as Indian companies fan out to world markets and look for the global footprint of the kind Accenture has, Rohleder said. About 60 per cent of Accenture's services now come from consulting services, and 40 per cent from outsourced services.