In 2000, when Hewlett-Packard hived off a business process outsourcing (BPO) division, it was primarily to plug a gap in the portfolio for global clients who wanted to work with an integrated service provider. But today, with a strength of nearly 11,000, out of which 6,000 employees work out of India, BPO makes good standalone business sense for the company.
And for the company that made the shift from being a Hewlett-Packard captive unit to an independent vendor and started India operations in 2003, the country forms a strategic link in its global BPO blueprint.
“We expect the India strength to go up to 8,000 employees in the next 16-18 months. The capacity expansion is already underway. We have two facilities in Bangalore and have acquired an additional 1,200 to 1,500-person capacity at the existing centre in Chennai,” HP’s BPO President & Country Manager Sanjay Singh told Hindustan Times.
The company has a 200-strong language support centre in India from where it can provide support in nine languages to its global clients like Procter & Gamble. The centres outside India include one each in Singapore and China, three locations in Europe, and two centres in the Americas. But the Indian headcount surpasses all others put together.
While it grows, the greatest challenge for the company focussed on financial and accounting services and analytics, will be fighting the clutter and getting the right skillsets.
“Our primary differentiator is the fact that HP is basically a technology company. Our business model is to solve the client’s back-end problem by bringing technology to the forefront,” Singh said.
According to Singh, while most of the routine transactional processes will be automated in the future, reducing human interface to a bare minimum, HP’s focus in BPO will be its high value analytical processes. “The margins in such high-end work is nearly 80-90 per cent more than the basic transaction processing work and the skillset requirement is different too,” he said.