The powerful positioning Infosys has in finance and accounting outsourcing (FAO) looks like it will pay big dividends as the company builds on its four-year-old foothold in Latin America. The Head of Americas for Infosys and member of the global giant’s Executive Council, Ashok Vemuri, revealed some telling strategies in our exclusive interview recently with Nearshore Americas.
Mexico has been a positive experience for Infosys since establishing two centers in Monterrey, Mexico over the course of the last four years. “Clearly our Mexico centers have been a cause for great celebration,” says Vemuri, who gives significant credit to the Mexican government for helping create the right business environment. “We see using Mexico as a stepping stone into the rest of Latin America – we have gotten the confidence we needed in Mexico to continue to go further.”
That journey is further bolstered by Infosys’ enviable strengths in FAO. Over 40% of the company’s overall revenues are derived from the financial services sector, putting it well ahead of its peer group of India-based rivals, including TCS and Wipro. That positioning enables Infosys to walk into major US banks and brokerage houses with an increasingly compelling Nearshore story – having already developed a strong following in FAO sectors outside of the US.
For Vemuri, the idea that Infosys has showed up late to the Latin America scene is not relevant. TCS has spend the last eight years establishing delivery centers all over Latin America, with an army of over 7,000 workers. With just over 1,000 workers in Mexico and Brazil, Infosys may seem paltry in comparison. “Even though we’re been a little late to the game, we are not at a disadvantage,” he says. “The overall LatAm sector – from a market evolution perspective – is a very recent phenomenon,” stressing that Infosys customers are comfortable with the provider’s service delivery whether it is from Latin America, Europe, Africa or Asia.
Vemuri made it very clear that the Mexico facilities will grow. “We will be expanding rapidly in Mexico. Our clients are happy with our performance.” Having bilingual talent has been a key attraction – many of the staffers in the Mexico location are involved in functions like IT Help Desk, design of web-interfaces and other BPO and IT-related services. Vemuri revealed that Infosys is considering exploration of a Research and Development Center, which could be a test bed for finance and banking practice products, like mobile commerce applications and new payment platforms. “We think there is opportunity there for government support,” he says. (Mexico has some aggressive incentives in the area of facilities-based investments made by global services players, including capital grants for construction.)
“We are watching [Brazil] closely to see how it ramps up”
Patience in Brazil
Is Vemuri as bullish on Brazil as he is on Mexico? The short answer is no. The company initiated operations in Belo Horizonte, the third-largest metro area in Brazil, with 100 employees at the end of last year. A key client is Phillips, the Dutch global player, with a presence throughout Latin America. Infosys is largely focused on FAO activities out of this center, including Procure-to-Pay, Order-to-Cash and Record-to-Report areas such as Accounts Receivable, Intercompany, Foreign Exchange, Local Payments, and Travel and Entertainment Expenses.
“It’s a little early to say if it will grow or not grow,” says Vemuri. “We are watching closely to see how it ramps up.” For Vemuri and virtually all of the mid to large global services players, Brazil’s internal market is exceptionally attractive, and Vemuri makes clear that Infosys will be focused on the market for years to come.
What about expansion in other parts of Latin America? Vemuri says his teams maintain regular communications with contacts in Chile,Argentina and Colombia and that Infoys is sought after more aggressively than ever before.