US-based IT services provider Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) aims to start operations in Hungary and Philippines soon.
"Cognizant will start operations in Hungary next month. As of now, we have not decided on the time-frame for Philippines but we expect to kick off our operations in the island nation soon," N Chandra Sekaran, president and managing director of CTS told reporters on the sidelines of Intaglio, an international B-school meet, hosted by the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata.
CTS is also scouting for acquisition of overseas firms, especially those who specialise in analytical and problem solving skills, he added.
"Cognizant's revenue from its Europe operations has gone up from 13% in the first quarter to 17% in the third quarter of this fiscal. The growth in the company's Europe revenue has been on account of the dip in its US revenues, triggered by the sub-prime crisis," Sekaran claimed.
He hinted that Cognizant is poised for a major expansion in the European market but refused to elaborate further.
Cognizant, the customer-centric IT firm is now focussing on delivering quality services seamlessly from multiple geographies across the world.
According to Sekaran, India will witness a shortfall of about 2,00,000 IT professionals by 2010 and Indian IT firms need to look beyond the country for recruitment.
He admitted that around 25% of the IT professionals in India are employable and felt that the existing course structure and the lack of quality faculty in the lower rung engineering institutes is responsible for the scenario.
Talking on the ingredients of building a globally competitive business, Sekaran said, "To build a successful global business, one has to forge distinctive capabilities, transfer these capabilities seamlessly across the world, build a global organisational structure and also groom a global cadre. Today, India needs to focus on providing higher value added services and shift gear from cost competitiveness to intellectual arbitrage, which implies providing high quality and efficient services."
He further said that India's strength lies in its ability to drive and leverage technological progress and also in its diaspora who have helped create and develop 'Brand India'.
In a parallel development, Cognizant has tied up with Singapore-based linguistic services provider Nihongo Bashi to offer training in skills suitable for the Japan market to some of the company's 2008 batch of campus recruits.
The first batch will consist of 25 third-year engineering students from Kolkata's St. Thomas College of Engineering and Technology, who will avail of a six-month Academic Japanisation Programme (AJP) in Japanese language, business and management, designed specially for the business needs of the IT industry.
Short-listed by Cognizant, these students will take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), an industry-standard test conducted by Japan Foundation, a body of the Japanese government, in December every year.
Successful students will attain JLPT Level 3 and also receive Nihongo Bashi's 'Maven Level 3' certificate. Japanese Consul General in Kolkata, Noro Motyoshi, said, "This course will enable students to attain the third level of proficiency in the Japanese language. High academic excellence combined with Japanese language skills will greatly increase their opportunity to engage with Japanese companies. In India, the interest in the Japanese language is at an all-time high with the number of students doubling from 5,400 in 2003 to 11,000 in 2006. We have set a target of 30,000 bilingual students by 2010."
According to Siddhartha Mukherjee, Vice President and Head of Kolkata operations, Cognizant, "Language is an important part of our endeavour to provide our Japanese clients with high-value IT outsourcing solutions. This collaboration will help create a pool of bilingual professionals through intensive Japanese language and culture training. By the time these students complete their graduation, they would also have acquired a certain level of proficiency in the Japanese language."