Offshore services company Satyam Computer Services is looking at acquisitions to help build up an army of up to 500 consultants in the next 12 months.
The Hyderabad-based company is aiming to add deeper vertical industry expertise to its ranks in markets such as financial services, telecoms and retail, and manufacturing, through a combination of organic and acquisitive growth.
Dr Keshab Panda, head of Europe at Satyam, told us: We are competing against companies such as IBM, HP and Accenture. We have the operational skills, the quality processes, and the ability to develop applications for particular industries that these companies have. What we don’t have is a consulting arm of 200 to 500 people, but we will build that this year.
Satyam had $120 million in cash and cash equivalents and a further $313 million in investments in bank deposits as of June 30, 2004.
Panda said that Satyam is also looking at acquisitions as a way to grow its coverage in Europe. The company has around 650 employees in the region, servicing clients including British Petroleum, Northrop Grumman and TRW.
Satyam made 15% of its total revenue of $175 million in Europe in its first quarter ending June 30, 2004, with North America remaining the vendor’s main region accounting for 68% of revenue. However, Europe was the company’s second fastest growing geographical unit after India, with sales in the region rising 71% in the quarter to $26.9 million.
The company is opening a near-shore development center in Hungary in October this year, which will initially have a staff of 50. The focus will be on supporting Satyam’s German customers, and will run pilot projects for clients that are cautious about switching straight to an offshore delivery model using Satyam’s Indian facilities.
Panda said that Satyam has realized the importance of having local teams leading the development of the company’s European business, that understand the particular languages, business cultures and clients in the various regions.
He said that 25% of Satyam’s sales force are local to the country in which they are selling, adding: We have realized that it is no use to have business development people sitting in New York targeting clients in Europe, and it is also no use having people in the UK selling to clients in Switzerland. They have to go and meet these customers and get to understand their businesses.