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Offshore Indian outsourcer plans London facility

Cognizant hopes to create 20,000 new jobs worldwide, including 100 at an IT development facility opening in Canary Wharf this year
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Offshore outsourcer Cognizant hopes to add up to 20,000 staff to its books this year, including 100 at a new onshore UK facility.

The IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) company employs more than 55,000 staff and is projecting growth in the UK, Eastern Europe, China, South America and in its Indian heartland.

This year it will open an IT development facility in Canary Wharf, an addition UK managing director Sanjiv Gossain hopes will continue the 70 percent annual business growth it has enjoyed in the UK over the past two years.

The company has 18 percent of its customer base in Europe and is on course to increase this to 20 percent by 2010.

Gossain told ZDNet.co.uk's sister site, silicon.com, that cost is no longer the main driver behind outsourcing and gaining expertise is now just as important.

He said: "Europe is a strategically important area for us. European companies are realising that to compete on a global stage they need to be more cost competitive, flexible and agile. It is not just about cost arbitrage, it is about brains arbitrage, where can I get the best talent for my money."

Cognizant also expects to grow its base in China, citing the appeal of its scale, cost and solid infrastructure, with Gossain projecting it would add another 500 people to its staff of 600 in the country this year.

But most of the company's growth will be in India, where it has 20 development centres in 10 cities, and is looking to move into less developed locations such as Coimbatore and Kochi.

Cognizant also recently opened a facility in Buenos Aires, giving it an advantage with US customers who share a similar time zone.

Gossain believes the company, whose revenue grew 50 percent to $2.1bn (£1bn) last year, benefits from having both a strong offshore and growing onshore presence that allows lasting customer relationships with the financial companies that provide the bulk of its business, such as JPMorgan.

He added that, while it continued to use Microsoft products, Cognizant was also looking "seriously" at open-source software, such as Linux and SugarCRM.

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