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Diageo cheers Indian IT prowess with captive unit

Bengaluru: The world’s largest drinks company Diageo is setting up a captive technology and back office services unit in Bengaluru, bringing 1,100 new jobs to India’s IT capital. Global Diageo Business Services (GDBS), a subsidiary of Diageo Plc, will build its potentially biggest tech centre to drive cost benefits and push ahead with global growth, source directly familiar with the matter told TOI.

The new centre, registered as Diageo Business Services India, has already leased a one-lakh-sq-ft office space with an option to expand at Karle SEZ, as it gets ready to ride on Indian tech prowess. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Genpact are the existing tech vendors of Diageo, makers of Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker whiskeys.

GDBS has become a key part of Diageo’s operating model over the last decade with a string of captive and outsourced centres in Budapest, Bogota, Nairobi and Manila, among other locations. Diageo’s move to develop a tech hub in Bengaluru follows its $3-billion acquisition of India’s largest distiller United Spirits, also headquartered in the southern city.

Diageo’s business services subsidiary is mandated to support the drinks giant’s growth and boost its productivity without pushing the cost base. This involves providing salesforce automation, distributor management solutions, trade promotion and supply chain support, brand and trade data analytics and pricing insights in over 50 markets worldwide. Diageo Business Services India will start with 200 employees and increase the head count to 1,100 over the next three years.

Bengaluru has been one of the hubs in the country for shared service centres (SSC) or global in-house centres (GIC). Its long-time strength in technology and IT services has created a vast talent pool which makes numerous multinational companies start their captive centres in the city. It is home to about 35% of the over 1,000 GICs in India.

Top companies that have their presence in the city include US oil major Exxon, retailer J C Penney and French energy and transport solutions company Alstom. Others include financial services company Great West Financial, US-based home improvement chain Lowe’s, largest lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret and food processing company Cargill. The number of such in-house centres in India increased to more than 1,000 last year from 760 in 2012, according to a Nasscom report. These centres employ more than 7.5 lakh employees accounting for $19 billion of export revenues.

Source: Times of India

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