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Home > Business > Interviews

The Rediff Interview/

He takes care of security at KPOs

March 10, 2007

The KPO sector has had to rely on extensive training programmes to offset lack of insurance domain knowledge that is warranted to manage any related process in the North American and European geographies.

However, L S Ram, president & executive director, Crossdomain Solutions Pvt Ltd, does not think that it's an issue. He speaks to Shamni Pande about how the company invests heavily in training.

After all, enough care had been given to security issues so crucial to the financial domain.

Clearly the financial and health domain is a sector where some privacy issues are involved, what is your take on the implications for the KPO/BPO industry?

The financial and health domains touch upon critical information such as personal lives of individuals or key information pertaining to companies. Consequently, privacy has to be necessarily respected. Western economies have addressed the issue with robust legislation.

BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) contributes around 38 per cent of the total back-office work being managed out of India in the BPO/KPO industry. Progressively, Indian companies by moving up the value chain are getting to mm anage high-end, critical processes for clients across geographies.

Hence, privacy issues need to be necessarily addressed by every service provider. While the service providers implement a series of measures, the government on its part must strengthen the environment through necessary legislation.

The expedited proceedings that we have witnessed in the recent times, in the few sporadic incidents, is encouraging and shows the seriousness and intent of the government to provide an environment conducive to the BPO/KPO sector. With dreams of becoming the back-office to the world, India has to address areas that that could otherwise become a hurdle in our pursuit.

At your level, how do you deal with these issues?

Crossdomain addresses the challenge through a series of measures that span across HR, facility and technology:

  • The screening process in recruitment is key to ensure that we bring the right kind of talent on board; the process includes rigorous background check that is carried out by a specialist on all credentials such as academic, work experience and criminal background.
  • On the facility front, we have implemented a series of policies such as restricted access, identification at all times, escorted visitors, no cell phones, CCTV, etc among other
  • Technology infrastructure limits our staff to only necessary requirements; we have invested in infrastructure to provide mitigation measures such as restricted/controlled net access, strong firewall and IDS

Insurance is an area that is just beginning to develop, to what extent are Indian companies able to provide expertise to their clients?

Insurance as an industry, though was in existence for a long time in India, the knowledge has started getting better only since the time the industry was thrown open to private sector a few years ago. Needless to say, insurance is an integral part of any economy and India is no exception. The specialised courses being offered in Insurance by educational institutions is encouraging.

However, the BPO/KPO sector has had to rely on extensive training programmes to offset lack of insurance domain knowledge that is warranted to manage any related process in the North American and European geographies. Having said that, I must hastily add that the lack of such deep understanding of Insurance Industry is not being considered as a limitation by global insurance players.

Indian companies today are known for capabilities such as world-class technologies and facilities, rock solid processes and most importantly, highly intelligent talent pool. These capabilities with extensive training programmes in insurance suffice to manage processes for global players.

As an SME what are the issue you face in your sector and what is it do you think the forthcoming Budget will change?

Our company is a specialist KPO services provider in a few, chosen processes in the BFSI sector; the biggest challenge is talent acquisition. I believe that if India has to sustain and ride on a good growth run of 9-plus per cent, the government has to start investing in education and infrastructure.

While I have personally been disappointed with the outlay for my favorite areas in the past couple of years, I hope to see better outlay for the said sectors in the coming Budget.

How are you dealing with attrition that plagues your sector?

Attrition is a typical challenge in any growing economy and India is no exception with the extraordinary growth seen in the past decade. Every sector is facing the challenge as supply is short of meeting the demand. The irony is that the country with a billion people is struggling to feed the growing sectors with required talent. This demonstrates the urgent need to address the education sector, the point that I made earlier.

Every company manages attrition through a series of measures. At Crossdomain, we commit to build careers as opposed to providing jobs. We are a people-caring organisation that nurtures talent while providing a challenging, competitive environment. Being a KPO services provider we recognise the importance of training and continually make investments. This has translated to very high retention much beyond the industry norms.

How different is your company structure and what's been the result?

Crossdomain is a KPO services provider that operates in niche segments. We have chosen to operate in the upper-end of the value chain since we believe that India can legitimately entrench itself and address clients' requirements in the coming years.

The 500-plus team is organised into three business practices that address three different markets for KPO services. Growth in the past few years has been significant and we believe we will continue to ride on the success.

The company founded by a team of professionals has resisted temptations and remained focused on processes that are significantly domain dependent. We believe that as the country continues to demonstrate capability in managing various processes, global companies will explore companies in India to manage high-end processes and Crossdomain is aptly positioned to target such areas.

Your future plans?

Crossdomain will continue to position itself as a niche services provider in the BFSI segment. With success in managing processes for companies in the top 10 globally (in the BFSI space) we believe we are well placed to attract new business and achieve rapid growth.

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