Mindtree appoints local to head up UK and Europe as Indian business model changes

I have blogged quite a few times about Indian IT services firm Mindtree, because I am interested in what some of the smaller, lesser known suppliers are up to and what they have to offer.

I recently met up with Mindtree’s CEO, KK Krishnakumar Natarajan (KK), who is also chairman at Nasscom. He updated me on Mindtree. I will be writing a separate interview with KK about Nasscom soon.

A bit of news is the fact that Mindtree has just changed its leadership in Europe. Mark Wilsdon, who previously worked with Cognizant in the UK, was made head of sales for UK & EU following the departure of Tridip Saha (see this blog post he wrote for me.) Wilsdon has also worked at Capgemini and Unisys.

The Indian suppliers need a bit of local expertise when they are dealing with large corporate customers. I was chatting to European head at Tech Mahindra Vikram Nair, the other day. He told me the company, which famously acquired Satyam, uses domain expertise from local in Europe to support its sales strategty.

Anyway back to Mindtree. This is a company that has accepted that it can’t chase every deal and is focussing on certain markets.

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.

KK told me about how western businesses want different things from Indian suppliers today. The attraction is no longer just price but domain expertise.

“In the last two and a half years or so the key thing we are seeing in the market is that the first phase of the Indian IT industry, which was about lowering costs for clients, coming to an end. This was key for clients to buy-in but now customers want business expertise from suppliers. This is partly to move to non-linear business models but more about solving specific business issues using technology.”

This is the reason Mindtree has created a model where it focusses on a few areas. “Clients are demanding expertise. Not many suppliers can be a generic service providers across sectors and be the best in each.”

This could be the key for tier two Indian service providers targeting the UK. I have spoken to a few: L&T Infotech and ITC Infotech as well as Mindtree.