State-owned CMC Ltd, the New Delhi, India-based computer services company, has just launched an offshore facilities management service aimed at large end-user companies. The idea is that clients have their central support offices in India where the resources are cheaper – for example a credit card processing centre would have its central processing facility out […]
State-owned CMC Ltd, the New Delhi, India-based computer services company, has just launched an offshore facilities management service aimed at large end-user companies. The idea is that clients have their central support offices in India where the resources are cheaper – for example a credit card processing centre would have its central processing facility out there, or a bank could have its centralised database there. CMC, which has 25 development centres in India, was born out of IBM India in 1978 when IBM pulled out of the country following the government’s decision that foreign subsidiaries in India must by majority Indian-owned. CMC, then a computer maintenance company – which is what the name stands for – set itself up to provide maintenance services to users of IBM equipment in India, and took over IBM’s premises and staff. Then the company also signed agreements to maintain DEC, Control Data, Robotron, and CII-Honeywell Bull systems in India – CMC claims it now supports 900 systems for 40 different manufacturers. The company, which boasts annual revenues of $80m, has since expanded its activities to other areas of computer support – computer education and training, software development in data communication and database management, and computer networking. Facilities management now accounts for 5% of CMC’s revenue and the company reckons this sector is growing at the rate of 25% each year in the UK. In India, CMC says its most profitable business is in the transport sector, particularly in railway traffic management – the company has installed a customised Integrated Multi-Train Passenger Reservation System at Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. CMC now offers its services internationally through offshore programmes, whereby the majority of the development work is carried out in India. CMC sells itself on the basis of its cheap resources – it reckons clients can typically save 25 to 30% on software development and 50% on facilities management by having it done in India, and its expertise in areas where it considers Europe to be lacking, such as Unix – 50% of CMC’s 2,400 staff are Unix experts. It doesn’t have set contracts, the company maintains, because for example the needs of banks differ considerably from the needs of railway networks. All contracts have a fixed time scale and a fixed price. Says CMC’s international manager Arun Madan, the offshore service is useful for large companies wanting to move towards open systems – CMC analysts will come over to discuss the company’s needs and a project will be set which can be worked on in India without need for day-to-day interaction. The client might then visit the development centre in India once every three months, depending on the duration of the project. If regular interaction is required, the client can link into CMC’s satellite gateway as London Underground has done – London Underground signed CMC two years ago, when CMC established its international base in London N2, to design a timetable scheduling system. And Swiss insurer La Suisse has hired CMC to help it migrate from System 36 to AS/400. Other offshore users include P&O Harbours and Sun Microsystems.