TCS India passport project, an example for UK public sector as IT becomes transformational

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Yesterday as I was doing an interview with TCS’s global head of public sector sales. Tanmoy Chakrabarty was telling me all about the project run by the Ministry of External Affairs in India to help it cope with the huge demand for passports. But as TCS is targeting the UK public sector for business I thought it would be worth blogging about here.

The project is an example of the breadth of service a company like TCS can provide. Today TCS is building up its UK public sector and recently won a contact with the Home Office to run the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which was created when the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority came together. It is setting up a 300 people delivery center in Liverpool to support this. It also won contract to administer the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) pension scheme.

I asked Chakrabarty about TCS’s plans in the UK public sector. He said: “We have large customers in many sectors in the UK and it was only natural that we focus on the UK public sector with some of the opportunities coming up. We want to build our credibility as a serious IT services provider in the UK public sector.”

He said the company wants to become known for transformation in the public sector and not just a low cost option. “All of out public sector contracts around the world focus on transformation rather than IT as an input.”

For example when TCS takes over the the Disclosure and Barring Service contract there will be fewer of the delivery staff working offshore than there was under the previous supplier Capita. This is because TCS is increasing the amount of automation and digitization, which requires less people.

Here is more about the TCS Indian passport project.

TCS won a competitive tender to run the programme two years ago. At that time India, which has a population of over 1.2 billion only had 80 million passport holders.

Since TCS completed the project about 15 months ago it has processed 10 million passports. This will increase as we all know India is developing at a phenomenal rate and more and more people will need passports.

Traditionally the process for applying for a passport in India was manual and took months. It would require people visiting on of 37 centers, often many hundreds of miles away and then waiting for ages to give personal details and then leave and hope for the best. I say ‘hope for the best’ because there was no way of tracking an application. With demand for passports expected to increase 18% a year the Indian government knew it couldn’t cope and put out a $350m tender.

TCS won and took over pretty much everything up to the approval being given to the citizen for the passport. It build two very scalable and robust datacenters, build a communications network across the country, opened up 77 processing outlets across the company and created a 17 language call centre. Pretty much end-to-end.

Today Indians can apply online. Fill in all their details and be sent an appointment time at one of 77 centers. Once everything is cross checked and biometric ID is taken TCS passes the case onto the Ministry of Affairs which takes over. TCS has no involvement from then and has no access to the data in the datacenters.

Applicants can then call the contact center any time and be advised about the progress.

Also read these blogs:

TCS, the billion pound company in the UK that actually understates its cloud story.

Inside Outsourcing interview: TCS public sector win shows that offshoring is not about labour arbitrage, but service innovation.

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