Inside outsourcing interview: MindTree - UK's Silicon roundabout now offshoring app development

I first interviewed MindTree back in May 2010.  It is a tier two Indian IT supplier following behind the likes of TCS, Wipro, Infosys and HCL.

It was formed in August 1999 as the result of a collaboration between executives of Indian service provider Wipro, US consultancy Cambridge Technology Partners and Lucent. This diverse group of people combined the low costs of India with the high end consultancy of Cambridge Technology Partners and the technology expertise of Lucent. The person behind the company was Ashok Soota, a well-known executive in Indian IT.

For the last few years I have been in regular contact with the UK head Tridip Saha. I met up with him last week to see how MindTree is doing in the UK. MindTree is involved with the project in India that is attempting to give one billion people ID card. It was the company that created the software that is collecting all the information.

Despite the economic slowdown in the UK Mindtree has grown its revenues by 30%. This compares to its overall growth of 8%.

When I spoke to MindTree in May 2010 it had 80 staff based in the UK, with 720 in India that are dedicated to UK customers. Today it has 200 based in the UK and another 2000 in India that are dedicated to the UK. MindTree has 11000 workers globally.

So where is the growth coming?

One of the most interesting areas of growth being experienced by MindTree is in the IT start-up space. There is a lot of investment in the UK start-up scene at the moment with the development of communities of start-ups like those in London’s East End.

These companies begin with ideas for apps that address a business need. Once they have the product outlined and perhaps put it in production, becoming a startup and then early phase business they are faced with the need to invest in people to work on the code. MindTree is seeing a significant amount of work coming from these companies. Tridip told me: “These Silicon Roundabout companies do not always have the resources. They are coming up with the ideas and some are offshoring the coding and development.”

Tridip also said that MindTree’s main business, application development for corporates, is growing strongly and he told me about a trend amongst European businesses to consolidate applications.

He said some of MindTree’s pan European businesses customers are centralizing there core applications and delivering them to operations via the internet. This is almost like the ASP model but not multi-tenanted.

“Businesses are still only putting their non-critical apps in the cloud.”

Then he told me about the finance sector where the company is experience an overlap between developing software to help customers meet regulations and better analyse data. He said MindTree is involved in building systems that collect data from all over the complex infrastructures of banks and putting it in one place. This helps banks meet regulations through faster access to relevant data, and the data can also help banks better understand customers.