Inside outsourcing interview: Downturn gave tier two Hexaware access to skills to help it compete

Here is the latest Inside Outsourcing interview where I let suppliers tell me what they are doing. I have started of with a run of Indian suppliers. My first in the series was with Infosys, then came HCL (see links at bottom) and now Hexaware.

Hexaware is an Indian IT services provider with about 9000 staff, about 2,500 of which are outside India. With over 40% growth in revenues last year and over 20% growth expected in the next two years it has an interesting story to tell.

The company’s European head Ramanan Seshadri recently told me about the company.

Although it is 21 years old 2008 was a bit of a watershed for Hexaware. While most companies were reeling from the slowdown the company reinvented itself. While it lost three important customers in a flash it was not all bad news.

Seshadri told me as all the big suppliers were laying off staff in India it gave Hexaware access to them. He said before the slowdown the company could not pay the same level of wages as the big players and as a result could not attract the best talent. With its new found skills resource the company decided to refocus.

“This was an opportunity,” Seshadri told me. “Before the slowdown companies like IBM, TCS, Wipro and Accenture got the best staff because they were too expensive for companies like us.”

The company decided to focus on two verticals: Banking and finance as well as travel and transportation. These two sectors account for 60% of Hexaware’s revenue. The other 40% comes from three horizontal technology segments it also has a focus on. These are BI, HR and testing. Although the company also has other verticals in incubation it will only push its specialities to its customers.

It’s customers include Dixons, Deutsche Leasing and Air Canada. So it has large clients.
An example of recent work was the creation of a business intelligence system for a European bank which asked suppliers if they could give it better sight of its liquidity. Hexaware built a system that shows the bank its liquidity by the minute.

Hexaware’s biggest European market is Germany. Seshadri says it’s a hard market to get into but he believes German values are more similar to Indian values than the UK’s. “We understand their hearts not their minds.” In 2002 he said Hexaware became the first offshore supplier to win a €25m deal in Germany and at the time the company only had total revenues of €34m.

In Europe the company grew its revenues 44% last year and expects 22% next year.
Seshadri says the company has a mantra that it cannot lose a customer and as a result of some success 94% of new business is from existing customers.

Hexaware has 250 staff in the UK with about 180 of them IT workers.

See other Inside Outsourcing interviews:

Inside outsourcing interview: IT services rock star on the market and Infosys

Inside outsourcing interview: HCL discusses targeting potential customers unhappy with current suppliers and having a DNA like IBM.

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