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'Open up higher education'

One of the six entrepreneurs who started HCL Group from a garage operation, US-based Malhotra is now the CEO & chairman of Headstrong.

business Updated: Jan 27, 2006 12:35 IST
Prerna K Mishra
Prerna K Mishra

You are planning to consolidate your facilities in Noida. How do you plan to expand?
The larger blue-print is to consolidate the two centres at Noida and shift the workforce to a new 1,500-seat facility in Noida itself. We would be investing about $20 million into the new facility. This would free the two existing facilities to set up dedicated centres for our bigger clients. The new facility, to be operational by June 2006, will take care of the rest of the contract pipeline. We plan to move into the new facility by 2008. However, by October next year, we may have to look for additional land as we are presently also leasing a lot of space in and around Noida.

The BPO market is in a phase of consolidation with companies combining strengths to survive. What is your survival kit?
Presently, our biggest strength is that nearly 40 per cent of our worldwide employees are either from IITs or IIMs. And business-wise, our key differentiator is that we do not do everything and anything. Capital market is our strength and while it contributed 40-45 per cent of our business last fiscal, it has grown to nearly 66 per cent this year. When it comes to vying for this domain expertise we bid against the likes of TCS, Infosys and Wipro. Our strength is domain-based jobs and our vision is to be McKinsey & Co in whatever little we do. In addition to this, we offer the retail manufacturing and technical services where again we are introducing concepts like Enterprise Quality Assessment. Under this service, that we will roll out in the middle of next year, we will help clients to access their hardware, software applications and recommend what needs to be re-engineered and who are the vendors that could be of help.

Is availability of skilled manpower posing a problem?
The problem with the Indian manpower scenario is that there are too many over-skilled people doing lowskill level jobs. There has to be a change in the management style and the education process. Let’s face the fact that no one can change the Indian demographics even for the next twenty years to come. We are on the right side and will have the maximum number of productive people in the next two decades. All we need to do is channelise the potential candidates towards the required skill set.

What is the way to develop the resource base.?
It’s time to open up everything. Higher education should not be treated as the forte of the government. Allow private participation and let the area grow of its own momentum.

How will the proposal to join hands with IIT Kharagpur help?
The proposal that we are making is that we can set up a network for the IIT Kharagpur and give a commitment to provide about 50 candidates for the next four to five years. The IIT can give diplomas in specific domain as per our requirement. At the end of the short-term courses, while we will have a suitable employee base, the employees will be satisfied with an IIT tag to their CV and the IIT will also benefit with extra revenues. If the proposal comes through, it will be a win-win situation.

First Published: Jan 02, 2006 21:54 IST