Cognizant has recently hired a number of senior talent for IT infrastructure

imagesCognizant has hired in recent months a number of senior talent at rival companies for what is one of the most rapidly growing spaces in IT — infrastructure management services. It’s the area that has helped HCL Technologies in current years to radically raise its growth rates, and contributed to major upsides for several others.

The $8.8-billion Nasdaq-listed firm, one of the fastest growing among large IT companies in the world and which has been usually strong in banking and finance as well as healthcare and life sciences, has roped in at least seven senior executives from IBM, Capgemini, Unisys, HCL and TCS to strengthen its capabilities in the infrastructure space.
Among these are Venu Lambu, former head of Continental Europe for HCL Technologies’s infrastructure services division, who has joined Cognizant as the VP of IT infrastructure services (ITIS), Europe; Sujit Pal, former programme director of HCL America, who has come in as assistant VP; Sanjay Savla, former Unisys VP; KS Ganesan, former chief architect at IBM.
Cognizant’s ITIS division has over 15,000 employees and contributes around 7% to its overall revenues compared to HCL’s that contributes 36% to its revenues. The same figure for Wipro is 24.6%, for TCS 11.9% and Infosys 7%.

Over the last 5 years, ITIS has been growing at a scorching compounded annual growth rate of 50%, as per a Nasscom estimate. The Indian IT sector is estimated to have had an export revenue of $6 billion from ITIS in 2011 and the same is expected to more than double to $12.5 billion in the 2015 fiscal.

ITIS contracts involve data centre operations and services such as help desk support, desktop management, local and wide area network operations management, application development and maintenance and disaster recovery services.
In recent times, the emergence of cloud computing, virtualization and mobility is changing the way IT infrastructures are designed, provisioned and maintained, and is forcing companies to be alert and flexible. This has positive outsourcing of these services to experts.
“We do not view infrastructure services through the traditional lens of labour arbitrage,” said Debashis Chatterjee, president of technology solutions in Cognizant.

The company is leveraging on its consulting and SMAC (social, mobility, analytics & cloud) capabilities to deliver infrastructure services. Cognizant has developed platforms such as Cloud360, OnTarget and HybridIT to offer cloud-based services to enterprise computing and storage.

Cognizant owns data centres both in the US (Chandler, Arizona and Sterling, Virginia) and Europe (Slough, UK and Amsterdam, the Netherlands), apart from leveraging partner-owned data centres. The company believes there are historic market opportunities for infrastructure services in the US and more so in Europe due to competitive and cost pressures.

“Most enterprise customers have currently tired several levers of business differentiation and understand the growing significance of technology in optimizing costs, enhancing customer engagement, and gaining market share,” Chatterjee said.

Cognizant has a multi-year agreement with Norwegian consumer goods major Orkla for IT infrastructure, applications and support services.
Some significant wins in this space by other IT players include Wipro’s $100 million contract from Netherlands-based media company Sanoma, Capgemini’s 30 million euro contract from Denmark-based industrial company Danfoss, and HCL Technologies’ $400 million contract from Norway’s DNB Bank.
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