GICs in India: Catalysing Digital Transformation

This is the second part to the blog titled GICs in India: Then and Now. A different set of competencies usually spawn, during change. For an India GIC today, there has been a major shift in perception itself. The harbingers were clamouring for a while. A model purely based on cost arbitrage was likely to stagnate beyond a point. Riding on millions of man hours and painstakingly harnessing domain expertise & process excellence alike, India GICs today are well poised to showcase high-end competency. Change gains prominence through new governance structure, stronger interplay of digital technology and an increased focus on R&D. It is no more just about perception alone. India GICs are actually enabling digital transformation for their parent firms, and uniquely re-positioning themselves in the competency matrix.


These are the six major themes where GICs are driving digitisation. Clearly, there’s a strategic intent behind setting up GICs here to build on digital capabilities. A multi-billion dollar American financial corporation for instance, set up what they call a Centre of Excellence. This was an extension of an advanced analytics group which was already based in New York, leveraging big data and analytics to solve the puzzle of customer acquisition and loyalty. There’s another example of an American retailer, again very large, which set up a GIC as recent as last year. The objective was to innovate on omni-channel retail, and focus on next-generation customer experience. Driven by a tearing need (competition-dictated) to improve upon personalised shopping experience, the Indian GIC is doing just that – leveraging high-end technology and analytics to drive outcome.

It must be emphasized here that these are not exceptions at all, rather a trend which is increasingly being seen. That brings us to India’s value proposition which is central to this path-breaking change. People. Process. Technology. Ecosystem. We have heard this often and it is no different for the GICs as well. India has a large talent pool in mobility, big data, analytics, UI/UX design.  It is rather confidence boosting that in mobility, the talent available here is comparable to US. In big data & analytics, India ranks very high when compared to the likes of even China, UK and Australia. Widespread technology adoption is seen across the entire stack of OS infrastructure, data, middleware, and app framework and user experience. We can now be vocal enough, because currently India has the largest base of agile practitioners after US. In addition, adoption of Agile allows change in project scope as the work involves full lifecycle of product development.  Scrum master trainings and certifications are gaining popularity as well. The ecosystem is robust. 3,100+ startups, mid-level firms have now built strong digital capabilities, business models have matured and alliances with clients is on the rise. Most encouragingly, even the very large traditional Indian services firms now have a digital arm. There is no getting away from it and these behemoths are simply lapping up the opportunities.

Bengaluru, NCR continue to rank the highest in digital activity, followed by Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune. To manage this change, governance structures too have undergone a radical shift. The position of India GIC Head is now parallel to that of Global Business Leader. Both these positions have a common reporting – the Global Head. A far cry from the times and not so very long ago, when the India GIC Head had a dotted line reporting to the Global Business Leader. Global teams are more aligned than ever before and support the Indian arm in a sustained manner.

Around 80 per cent of the Global 2000 firms are yet to leverage the India opportunity and we need to have a far greater presence from firms which are based out of Japan, Latin America, Middle-East & Africa for instance. In the digital transformation journey the opportunities are very high especially in Retail, BFSI & Telecom, Media & Hospitality verticals. Increasingly, the time-to-market will only get faster which would need continual integration of technologies.

Indian GICs are well positioned to become the hub for digital and futuristic products for the global corporate houses. It’s happening. The machinery is moving. Inevitably.

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More in-depth analysis is available in the report which you can purchase here: GICs in India: Getting Ready for the Digital Wave

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