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Sep 1, 2009

Cognizant targets new markets


As economic conditions remain weak in the US and Europe, IT firm Cognizant is making “renewed efforts” to get more business from new markets including India. “We want to increase our revenue from other markets and are making renewed efforts to get more domestic business,” said R Chandrasekaran, president and managing director, Cognizant. “We had taken a conscious effort to spread (to other geographies) and this is not (done) to address the slowdown.”

The $2.8-billion Cognizant is also bidding for government projects and would make significant investments to boost local presence, Chandrasekaran said. After putting in place a management team for Australia a year ago, the company has assembled a team for India six months ago. “Now is the time to increase revenues from other markets.”

The company, which gets 98% of its revenues from the US and Europe now, services 18 to 20 key customers in India including large MNCs. It is focusing on financial services, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing verticals in India, officials said. It developed an e-commerce engine for mjunction, a joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL. Pfizer and SAP Labs are among its key clients in India.

Customers in the West have started freezing IT budgets and this is a good sign, Chandrasekaran said. “It was in a state of flux (earlier). Now it is much better and customers know exactly what to spend. Our development revenues are also growing along with application revenues,” he said.

Though the company continues to recruit people, the hiring is a little more staggered than usual because of the economic conditions, officials said. It has also seen a huge increase in employee referrals in the last few months. About 50% of its lateral recruitment comes from employee referrals. “Employee referrals work well in a downturn,” officials said. The NASDAQ-listed Cognizant, which has about 64,000 employees, has made a net addition of 4,600 in the last three quarters, they said.

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