Indian outsourcer discusses business in Canada

One Indian offshore developer is counting on a new, local services centre to help expand its presence in Canada.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is planning to open what it calls a “centre of excellence” in Toronto – the first of its kind in Canada. The move will also strengthen its partnerships with Canadian companies and academic institutions, according to S. Ramadorai, the firm’s Mumbai, India-based CEO.

Ramadorai was in Toronto this week to visit TCS’s offices in the area and meet with some of its customers. TCS is part of one of India’s largest industrial conglomerates, the Tata Group. Plans to open a centre of excellence in Toronto are already underway, Ramadorai told IT World Canada. This is the next step TCS normally takes after establishing sales and marketing offices and delivery centres in a country, he said.

Company spokesperson Victor Chayet said he could not disclose all the details, but he noted that the centre of excellence will “specialize in a particular domain” or vertical. “We have plans to stretch in the future into Toronto and other areas,” Ramadorai said.

TCS opened its first office in the country six years ago. Until last month it had three Canadian sales offices: Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. On Oct. 13 it opened a fourth office in Vancouver — its 54th in North America. TCS currently has a delivery centre in Mississauga, Ont., and may add one in Vancouver in the future, Ramadorai said.

In conjunction with the opening of the Vancouver office, TCS also partnered with Simon Fraser University to pool research and development efforts and offer education opportunities for students.

When asked how Canada could improve its position in the global services delivery market, Ramadorai said the best thing the country can do is promote itself as much as possible as a viable nearshore outsourcing destination, while at the same time looking to India as a potential services partner.

One of Canada’s biggest advantages is its geographical and cultural proximity to the U.S., as well as the relatively lower cost of finding talent in certain core areas of the country, its telecommunications and transportation infrastructure, and language advantages, Ramadorai said.

“Every country wants to make itself attractive as a destination. But investors come looking for a market, talent and an environment conducive to investment in the future… This is where you need to keep Canada visible.” Collaboration between Canada and India may be one of the best ways for the two countries to make the most of the global services delivery model, he said.

“They need to be partners in progress. They will compete in some cases, but cooperation is a much greater opportunity.”

One example of collaboration is when TCS partnered with the University of Waterloo in the 1980s to work on a number of projects and build some applications together, including a bus reservation system for Bangalore. “We looked at Canada as a fundamental resource, with all the research and development that was going on there,” Ramadorai said. “I always knew that Canada is an important destination for TCS.”

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