I wish saying goodbye was that easy. I’ve spent a good 3 years and 10 months with Cognizant where I partnered with tremedously talented people across board, engaged Cognizant & Customers in a collective win-win scenarios and in the process, learnt the “secret sauce” of Cognizant’s success.
First and foremost, there is no doubt that the leadership team at Cognizant is young, focused and very very aggressive. Its more nimble than its competitors in the market and do not shy away for change if need be. Yet it keeps the focus on ‘Doing best what one does best’. For example, while BFSI is still its largest revenue generating vertical, over the years Cognizant has also built its Healthcare and Life Sceinces vertical admirably. When it saw opportunities in ITIS and process space, it did not shy away from adopting it in a big way, making upfront investments in building a mature leadership team, training its employees in ITIL methodologies and pricing its services in those areas more aggressive than its competitors.
Indian outsourcing companies have not been very successful in moving up the value chain to, lets say, grab any share in strategy and IT consulting space. Realising this much early in the game, Cognizant took an inorganic growth route by acquiring smaller and focused consulting firms to augment specific areas of IT consulting where it recognized opportunity to offer end to end services to its customers. Being a cash rich company, it had the potential to invest large as well. UBS and CoreLogic are such examples and I was fortune to be very close to the both of these acquisitions.
Second and most important reason for the success is the fact that Cognizant has a much-better front-end. It’s been investing in its front-end right from the begininning unlike other offshore vendors in India who focused on the back-end for many years. Right since its inception, Cognizant has ploughed back its earnings to build a client-facing organisational structure. Cognizant’s P&L will show you that EBIDTA margins have been consistent at 18-19% for more than 5 years – most of the other Indian service providers posted much higher margins, which now show a downward trend. This front-end investing by Cognizant has helped the company have a better cultural fit with its clients in the US.
Though, I’ve taken a decision to part ways with the company, the wins, the relationships, the memories are to be with me forever.
Good bye Cognizant…Welcome Headstrong !!!