'MNCs now recognise India's capacity for innovation and its pivotal role in substantive contributions to global product development.'
Indian global capability centres (GCCs) are increasingly emerging as a hub for leaders with global roles.
Today, several leaders from Indian GCCs handle strategic global functions, reporting directly to the C-suite at headquarters, as opposed to the earlier days when India was seen more as a technology (tech) outsourcing unit.
GCCs, also known as global in-house centres or captives, emerged in the early 1990s as offshore units of large multinationals (MNCs) such as General Electric, Texas Instruments, Citigroup, and American Express, to perform designated tech operations.
India is currently home to about 1,580 GCCs employing 1.66 million people, according to the latest National Association of Software and Service Companies-Zinnov report.
There are numerous examples of global leaders in Indian GCCs.
A case in point is Goldman Sachs, where Gunjan Samtani, partner and head of Goldman Sachs Services India, was promoted as the global chief operating officer of engineering in August this year.
Goldman Sachs promoted 35 Indian employees to the level of managing director this year, the highest number of promotions in history, reflecting India's contributions to the business globally.
Including the newly promoted ones, there are a total of 92 MDs in India.
MD is the second-highest level at the firm after partner.
The number of MD promotes from India has grown by 16.6 per cent, despite the global MD promotion class size shrinking by 5.4 per cent compared to 2021.
With over 8,000 employees, India is the second-largest presence of Goldman Sachs after its New York HQs. Globally, Goldman Sachs employed 45,900 professionals as of the third quarter of 2023.
"India's world-class talent, growing capital markets, and maturity of services competencies have enabled Goldman Sachs to grow in both scale and sophistication, culminating in 2023 being the largest-ever MD class of India employees," said Deepika Banerjee, MD and head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs Services India.
At Deutsche Bank too, Dilipkumar Khandelwal, CEO of Deutsche India, handles a global role out of the country.
He is also the MD of global CIO corporate functions, and the global head of tech centres for the German investment bank.
Deutsche India runs several such global roles across key functions.
"For example, global operations and operational strategy for some units are driven out of India, as is the analysis for risk functions and key finance director roles for the chief financial officer function, the tech for contextual banking and corporate functions, and the ownership for all our tech centres across the globe. All these functions are driven by large global teams," said Khandelwal.
Ross Mackenzie, head of corporate bank and investment bank non-financial risk, Deutsche Bank, said that over the years, the talent pool in India has grown and matured with strong technical and leadership skills across core banking specialisms such as finance, risk, tech, and operations.
"This has given us the confidence to further build on Deutsche Bank's capabilities in the country, and we now have almost all functions and divisions of our bank represented there. The co-location of various teams not only drives efficiencies in our processes but also helps teams work together on creating innovative solutions," Mackenzie said.
"By having several local leaders in India responsible for global functions, the teams can work in partnership with our businesses to install a strong client-centric approach," Mackenzie added.
In the past four to five years, Indian GCCs have moved up the value chain from being merely order takers to being strategic partners.
"Beyond cost efficiency, MNCs now recognise India's capacity for innovation and its pivotal role in substantive contributions to global product development. This evolution underscores India's maturation within the global information tech industry," said Sunil C, CEO, TeamLease Digital.
"It is no longer merely a cost-effective outsourcing destination but a vital hub for high-quality talent and innovation, Sunil added.
At Fiserv, an American financial tech services company, India is a key talent hub with over 8,000 employees out of its global headcount of about 41,000.
Based out of India, Srini Krish serves as the president, global services, and global practice leader for implementations, Fiserv.
"GCCs in India today have completely reimagined their work, value proposition, and priorities. It has been a journey from being viewed simply as enablers to being seen as strategic business partners," said Krish.
Three things will further strengthen India's global story -- fuelling innovation worldwide, positively impacting business metrics, and driving customer centricity by delivering greater value, Krish added.
"Access to skilled talent and the ability to harness the power of emerging digital tech and build high-performance borderless teams bring these imperatives together."