By Sramana Mitra and guest author Aditya Modi
About NIIT Ltd and NIIT Technologies
NIIT began an education company in the area of IT and was early proponent of IT and IT-enabled services in India. Later, it moved ahead in the outsourcing field with a backward integrated setup. Over two and a half decades, the company has expanded to multiple locations. NIIT Technologies became an independent organization in 2004.
About Lalit Dhingra
Lalit Dhingra is the president of NIIT Technologies. He began with NIIT in 1991 and is responsible for building the North American operations for NIIT Technologies. He heads the North American balance sheet and aims to build innovative business models in the technology outsourcing space such that NIIT Technologies can continue to enjoy the consistent double-digit growth it has had in the past five years.
Sramana Mitra: Hi, and welcome to the Outsourcing series. Let’s start with giving readers some perspective about NIIT Technologies, your business, how the business is from a revenue the point of view, an employee point of view, a geography point of view, a business point of view, and so on. How is the business set up?
Lalit Dhingra: Business is very good.
SM: What do you do in different parts of the world? What is the business?
LD: We are an IT solutions provider, and NIIT Technologies is part of the larger NIIT group. NIIT was set up in 1981 as an education company, and NIIT Technologies is an offshoot of that company. We deal solely with software solutions and business process management (BPM) solutions for the organizations. We are mainly focused on three verticals. One is banking finance solutions. The second is insurance, and the third is travel and hospitality. We have three bases, one in each of three major regions. In addition to the three verticals I just mentioned, Asia-Pacific is focused on manufacturing and government, as one set really focused on that market. Europe is focused on media, and in the U.S., we are focusing on healthcare such that each area has one additional point of focus.
SM: All the regions work on the three main verticals, and you also have media in Europe, manufacturing and government in Asia, and healthcare in North America?
LD: That is right.
SM: What kind of work and what kind of projects do you do?
LD: To take travel as an example, in travel we will be working with an airline. We will work with most of the airlines, solving their day-to-day operational problems in terms of creating and maintaining their applications, maintaining their websites, making changes in their websites, and working on the kiosk at the airport. That is the kind of work we do for the travel vertical.
For the insurance vertical, we also work on the core systems – the claim systems, the admin systems and so on. It’s similar kind of work, creating and maintaining those applications, maintaining the infrastructure on which the applications are put. That is the kind of thing we do. It is similar to what everybody else will be doing in outsourcing.
SM: And what is the split between onshore work and offshore work?
LD: From a revenue perspective, it would be around 24% to 25% onsite, and the rest is offshore.
SM: Is your offshore all in India?
LD: Our offshore right now is all in India.
SM: Where in India are your offshore operations?
LD: The main campus is in the New Delhi region, the National Capital Region. We are in Greater Noida, and we are also in Mumbai and Bangalore. Mumbai is around 400 or 500 people. Bangalore is around 800 people.
SM: And in the New Delhi area, in Noida?
LD: There are about 5,000 people in Noida.
SM: So, you have around 6,000 people in India?
LD: Yes, that’s correct.
SM: And how many people do you have in North America?
LD: There are about 475.
SM: And what about Europe?
LD: For Europe I may not have the exact number, because I manage the U.S. operations. I don’t know how many we have in Europe.
SM: OK, got it. Some readers will recognize NIIT from the NIIT training centers, computer training centers all through India. They have penetrated deep into the heartland of India where NIIT, the mother company, teaches lots of people computer skills. How does your offshore operation leverage that base? Is there any flow from the NIIT educational institution into your NIIT Technologies offshore development team?
LD: Absolutely. This is a great pool, actually. You are the only one who has asked that question. A lot of people don’t even go there. Actually, there is a lot of synergy. If you look at all the computer centers, which help to create the skilled manpower in India, that is an inflow to many organizations, from a skilled manpower perspective. We definitely take people from around the institutes and further train them for projects. I think that every company is doing this now. NIIT created a three-year degree program called the GNIIT. We take those who have passed the GNIIT, which is equivalent to a bachelor’s in engineering from tier two colleges in India. So, graduates coming from that [and working for us] get a similar salary and such. We take around 15% to 20% of the fresh graduates coming out of our own institutes.