UK government "open minded" on Indian IT companies

More offshoring deals could be in store...

More offshoring deals could be in store...

The UK public sector is slowly warming to Indian offshore suppliers, even though central government has yet to sign many major contracts with the companies.

At least one Indian company is involved in discussions with government, said Phiroz Vandrevala, who is on the executive council of India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom).

Vandrevala, also executive vice president at Indian IT company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) told silicon.com: "I think the UK government is fairly open-minded. When you look at central government there's an open mind and right now the UK government has a very ambitious programme looking at shared services and they've certainly invited an Indian company to be a part of the consulting process."

Although Indian companies are often subcontractors on big public sector projects, they are rarely the lead supplier.

There have only been a few high-profile government contracts using Indian companies.

For example, early last year TCS was part of a Fujitsu-led consortium which won an £896m, nine-year contract to provide IT for the NHS in the south of England. At the time, TCS said it expected the deal to result in extra turnover of around £120m.

Vandrevala said India is aware that keeping security levels high is key to its continued popularity as a destination for offshoring and outsourcing.

He said: "Everything we've achieved in the last 20 years will fall flat unless we have the most secure systems."

Nasscom will introduce a registration system in January which will screen all Indian IT employees in an attempt to tighten security further. "That's a step that is more progressive than any we've seen in many other countries," he added.