Pramod Bhasin and Nigel Andrews of GE make a case for captive back office operations in India. GE M & A asks Anderson Consulting to explore the market for third party vendors.
British Airways sets up a 30 people captive back office in Mumbai to undertake data entry work. American Express assigns Raman Roy the task of setting up a call centre in Gurgaon. The same year, Anderson submits its verdict to GE: captive is the way to go.
GE flags off captive BPO operations in Gurgaon through subsidiary GE Capital International Services (Gecis). Raman Roy is signed on as CEO. Gecis starts operations with basic data entry work.
Driven by the Internet boom, Sanjeeev Agarwal, backed by $3 million venture funding from CDC Capital Partners, sets up Daksh eServices in Gurgaon and begins offering email support service.
Raman Roy quits Gecis to set up Spectramind in Gurgaon. CustomerAsset and 24/7 Customer setup shop in Bangalore. All three rope in venture capital investment and follow Daksh’s lead in fashioning teir business models around email support services. The third party industry is born.
The Gold Rush(2000-02)
The dotcom crash is followed by boom in demand for voice bsed services. Customer support and telemarketing services fuel boom in call centres. Captives like Dell, HSBC, Standard Chartered, AOL, and HP lead the boom. Multinational third partystart upsl land big ticket customers- Daksh-Sprint, Spectramind- American Express.
Private equity investors, Indian IT sevices majors and large corporate houses rush into third party BPO. Warburg Pincus acquires a 70percent stake in British Airways’ captive. WNS Global Services is born. General Atlantic pumps $21 million into Daksh. Oak Hill Capital backs a management buyout of the Conseco group’s stake in EXL Services. Indian IT majors enter the space Wipro buys Spectramind for $100 million, Infosys sets up Progeon and Satyam announces Nipuna. ICICI subsidiary I-One Source buys CustomerAsset. India’s BPO revenues surge to $2.7 billion as on March 2003 and voice corners 60 percent of the market.
Third party firms begin to scale up revenues and diversify service lines through aggressive M&A led strategies. WNS buys UK based Town and Country and US based ClaimsBPO to enter insurance segment. I-One Source buys British Telecom’s call centre in Ireland. Transworks is acquired by Aditya Birla Group.
WNS becomes the first Indian third party BPO firm to hit $100 million revenues. IBM buys Daksh for $130 million. Signals the entry of the Global Big Five in India’s BPO market. GE sells 60 per cent in Gecis to private equity firms General Atlantic and Oak Hill Capital for $500 million. Gecis becomes the largest third party Indian BPO firm.
Coming of Age
M& A – driven consolidation leads to emergence of four third party camps. Indian scale players with multiple service lines across the value chain- Genpact, I-One Source, EXL, WNS, MNC third party players – Convergys, ADP, Hewitt. Integrated IT and BPO services offering – Infosys, Wipro, IBM, Accenture, Niche players – Evalueserve, Office Tiger, Marketrx, Indecomm.
Captives continue to set up operations but are now looking at different models – BOT, hybrid (third party and captive). The next phase of BPO will see players in all categories moving towards high end, knowledge based services like analytics and market research.