'India certainly a BPO leader'

A pioneer in the outsourcing business talks about the country's potential in the sector to Sakshi Arora.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 12:13 IST

For Jane Garvey, the Vice President of Corporate Communications, Covergys, her maiden trip to India has been filled with colour, variety and surprises.

Quiz her about the top question in everyone's minds today -- the outsourcing industry and the debate in the US -- and Jane is quick to reply.

"Outsourcing is a new industry. It's young and it has had a good start. There's a lot of potential and future growth. People are now realising that it's a cost-effective measure to outsource work and in the long term it's only beneficial. You get good quality at a cheaper price."

And where does India stand in the outsourcing race?


  Jane Garvey's take:

 "For India, its biggest advantage is the power over language"

"India is certainly a leader. And outsourcing is becoming less of an issue now, even in the US," says the business woman.

Today, India is seen as the pre-eminent destination for offshore IT services. However, China and Philippines are rising as potential dangers.

For Jane, that's not totally true. She says, "Convergys has its offshoring facilities in China and Philippines also but you have to look at what each country has to offer. For India, its biggest advantage is the power over language, China doesn't have it."

When the industry and employees are worried about the future of outsourcing, Jane says, "The Indian customer agent just finds it so easy to understand its customers from the US. The English is good, problem-solving capabilities are good, so I don't think there's a need to worry for India."

On visiting the Convergys' Gurgaon facility, Jane was fascinated with the buzz that was a part of the atmosphere. "It was interesting. Especially, the generators and back up facilities," says Jane with a smile.

If everything about India is good and rosy, can more expansion be far behind?

"We do have plans. A lot of expansion plans are being chalked out but I can't talk of them right now. It's too early to be talking about them. You'll know about them soon," says Jane diplomatically.

For a firm that is still considered young in the business arena, Convergys only started in 1988, the Cincinnati-based company has come a long way. With an employee base of more than 65,000 all over the world and 15,000 in US alone, Convergys boasts of some of the biggest names as its clients.

"Convergys actually has its roots in an older billing company, the Cincinnati Bell Telephone Co. Today, Convergys has operations in three major areas: billing, customer care and the third leg is the employee care services or human resource services," says Jane.

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Along with being a successful business venture, Convergys also believes in focussing on social programmes. As head of Corporate Communications, Jane handles all the social activities that the company undertakes.

"The basic focus is to think as corporate citizens, where our employees can be a part of the respective social efforts. So, for every country, we try to provide services that our employees can also associate with," Jane asserts.

With the world focussing on the education for children, even Convergys is not far behind. A grant of $20,000 for Child Relief and You (CRY) in India for 2005-06 is just a part of its social activities, which also includes health and human services.

"We want our employees to be responsible citizens also. So, we are trying a combination of money and employees to get them interested in serving their own country."

Apart from CRY, sponsoring the Project 511 in Hyderabad, helping the Ananya Trust in Bangalore are some other major initiatives taken up by Convergys.

And while the Nizam's jewellery fascinated Jane in Hyderabad, Agra will occupy her mind for a long time to come.

"When I visited Agra, Taj Mahal was of course beautiful but what I am always going to remember is the drive to Agra," says an amazed Jane. "It was different," the amused lady adds.

First Published: Feb 07, 2006 10:20 IST