The UK’s second-largest BPO firm, Vertex, is moving some of its key support and administrative functions to its offshore centre in Gurgaon. The 1,800-people strong offshore facility services about a fifth of its customer contracts, and will now also handle Vertex’s own functions in finance and accounting, analytics, human resources, IT and workforce management. About 120-150 positions have been moved to India and about 100 more positions could be offshored at a later stage, said Vertex managing director (private sector and utilities) John Hall. Vertex ownership changed hands early last year when a consortium of private equity firms led by Oak Hill Capital Partners acquired the UK-headquartered BPO from United Utilities. The bid also saw interest from some large Indian IT and BPO providers such as Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.
“Oak Hill’s strategy is to explore opportunities to reduce overhead costs,” Mr Hall said listing workforce reduction and moving functions such as procurement and IT to India, as part of the strategy. Hall said moving the functions to India would not result in job losses because the staff were retiring or being redeployed. Some of part of the functions would continue to be done on-location while the rest would be executed offshore, much like customer contracts that were done part offshore and part onsite, he added. The India centre could also get a boost from some of the recent contracts that Vertex has won in North America. “We have won two major contracts in North America in utilities, including a $ 200 million one with a gas retailer.
The contracts will be executed onshore, offshore and using home workers in Western markets. What percentage gets executed offshore will depend on what the client wants and if it is offshore pricing,” Hall said. The BPO is also evaluating opportunities in the domestic market, in which case the India centre could be more than an offshore facility. “We’re already present here, so we can take advantage of the fact to do business here as well. We are very open to it and there are good reasons for it now,” he said. Vertex operates in four key sectors with utilities being the largest.
The rest are in financial services, public sector, and retail and consumer. It also manages and supports the IT infrastructure for a few large UKbased utilities. IT-related services contribute about 25%-30% of its revenues and Hall said the company would look for acquisitions in India and elsewhere to fill some capability gaps such as the ability to support enterprise software such as SAP and Microsoft Dynamics.