Sramana Mitra: You said you have about 4,000 people in India. What’s the global distribution of the workforce?
Ed Cross: We have about 8,500 people around the world, of which about 4,000-4,500 are in India. About 2,000 are in the U.K., about 1,000 in Europe, several hundreds in North America, about 500 in Australia, and the rest are spread across 10-15 other territories which include Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia. We have smaller populations in each of those countries typically dedicated to the local customers that we have in those territories.
Sramana Mitra: What about the customer base? How does that distribute around the world?
Ed Cross: Our customers are distributed probably similar to the distribution of our staff. Historically, quite a number of our customers were UK-based such as Lloyd’s of London because we are, by heritage, a British company. We started working within the UK but then we followed our customers’ footprint across the globe. We are now operating in about 40 countries around the world.
We might not always have people in all of those territories. We might have people who visit those countries focusing on supporting our customers in all the territories. For the insurance sector, we have customers in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. We provide services to them in those territories but our predominant customer base is in North America, the European theater, and the Indian theater. We have a lot of indigenous Indian customers providing arbitrage-based services out of India for western companies.
Sramana Mitra: In terms of industry sectors, is banking and insurance industry your top customer?
Ed Cross: For BPO operations, the two major areas are financial services and insurance. We have a whole range of other sectors that we service from logistics to fast moving consumer goods, but our biggest area is insurance and financial services. For our procurement outsourcing business, we are not industry-specific. Our services are provided to organizations that buy indirect goods and services and there is no particular sector that takes precedence over others.
Sramana Mitra: Now that we understand what business you are in, tell us about other trends of your business?
Ed Cross: A clear trend is growth. For our BPO and ITO operations, we are continuing to see growth in the marketplace of about 5-9%, depending on the market segment. In the procurement outsourcing sector, we are seeing very significant growth. It depends on who you talk to from various third-party advisors, but the growth rate in procurement outsourcing seems to be in the range of 10-15%. What I’m seeing is an acceleration in procurement outsourcing. I’m seeing much more activity in western markets from businesses who want support for their procurement operation. This year, we ave acquired over 20 new businesses globally. I think that reflects the maturing of procurement outsourcing.