We had this great opportunity to meet Mr. Andy Kankan MD COLT India. In a free flowing conversation he helped us understand COLT and its operations in India since 2004. Team BPO Voice is proud to publish this conversation and share the same with all its esteemed members. Here are the excerpts. Send your feedbacks at firstname.lastname@example.org
BV: It was Aug 2004 when Colt India went live. It’s been almost 5 years now, how has been the Colt’s first offshore experience?
AK: Well our results have gone up and this is our 2nd consecutive year of profits. I think from here, we will take it further only; so far it has been a satisfying journey.
BV: Any milestones or achievements which you would like to share?
AK: In terms of value addition a lot. We started off with 200 employees and now are over 1000. Our strength is not in scale but in terms of value that we add for our parent.
BV: What kind of expansion plans do you have?
AK: So far we have been a captive unit however we are exploring external opportunities. There are a few clients who are interested in the same.
BV: What is the image of India in Europe as an offshore destination?
AK: India has good skill set comparable to any other country in the world. We are hard working and have good knowledge base. Europe like USA has great respect for India as an offshore destination.
BV: As Indian offshore service providers set their sights on Europe for growth, would you like to give them any advice in view of that European market is somewhat different then US/UK.
AK: It’s not easy for medium scale companies to sell in these markets.
Companies like Infosys and Wipro can think of going to Europe and other destination for strategic purpose, but mid size companies should be careful before taking such decisions.
BV: Your Q4 results are out in the midst of challenging trading conditions. Any comments.
AK: Satisfactory. We all are pleased. We were able to improve on to what we had achieved last year
BV: How much has been the Effect of recession or economic downturn. How much did it slow down the purchases of technology or communications services?
AK: Recession has had less impact. In terms of our operations in India there has been no significant change. To continue growth on the same rate will be challenging as market environment is uncertain.
BV: How does COLT plan to cope with recession at India center? How much India center has been affected?
AK: Just like anyone else we have raised the performance bar, which is quite a natural thing to do in these times. We have not cut down on bonuses and have paid increases to our staff.Other common sensible things like: Cutting down on travelling expense etc have been done. We will continue to invest in people and in our employees.
BV: When do you expect the market to bounce back?
AK: He laughs and says,” Another couple of years….. That was one of the most popular questions that were discussed at the recent nasscom conclave. I will stick to what Infosys ‘s Narayan Murthy had said i.e. 18-24 months”
BV: According to you what are the current challenges in the telecom industry?
AK: There are multiple challenges.
Capital is scarce.
3G roll out (Govt. needs to be more transparent in the way this is happening)
How to remain profitable in these times is the big questions which every one faces.
Telephone has become kind of a necessity just like house, electricity or water supply. However the real challenge is not how many subscribers do you have. The real challenge is how much money do you make from them. You can have million of subscribers however how much are your subscribers willing to spend money on your products, how much do they help u help u make profits, that is where the next battle would be fought
BV: What’s your take on Obama’s statement and cut on h1 b visa?
AK: Anyone would have done the same. He is trying to revive the US economy.
Had you and me be in his place even we would have done the same given to the huge number of job losses that is happening in US. I see outsourcing as a mega global trend; it is not something which is there for a year or two. It is there for next many years So these hiccups would certainly come and go, Governments will change so will their policies. I don’t see any reason to feel threatened by the same but companies will have to add more value for their customers to survive these difficult times.
BV: USA is kind of a trend setter. Do u think others countries may follow the trend.
AK: As you yourself said, USA is a trend setter, so certainly other countries may too try to follow the same. Again as I said, I see outsourcing as a mega trend so such issues would be temporary and the industry needs to learn to live with it and adapt.
BV: Colt Indian has been more of a silent performer so has there been any conscious effort not to build any hype
AK: We don’t believe in any hype we believe that our work would speak for us in the market place. Our employees are happy with us as an employer and that is very important for us.
About Andy Kankan:
Andy Kankan joined COLT India as its Managing Director in September 2004. Prior to joining COLT he was working with a start-up for 3 years where he was the Founder and Head of Operations. Other than that, he has worked in senior roles at Price Waterhouse Coopers India, Grolier Inc. USA, GE Capital India, GE Capital (US) and GENPACT (previously known as GECIS). Since last 10 years he has been working in different organisations involved in building their offshore capabilities in India.
Andy is a Chartered Accountant from India. He also has an MBA degree (Finance & MIS) from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA, and a bachelors degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, India