Genpact SVP tackles evolving client needs

Genpact SVP tackles evolving client needs

CFO Interview: Shantanu Ghosh, senior vice president of Genpact talks to CFO World about business growth and opportunity

In the nascent but highly promising world of business process management, the competition is stiff and rewards for success are aplenty. Genpact, which began life as a GE company, has certainly made its presence felt in little over a decade.

After making the transition towards being an independent entity in 2005, the company listed on the NYSE in 2007. Today it has over 700 corporate clients, a list that includes some of the biggest names on the Fortune 500. It employs over 60,000 staff, has operations in 18 countries and revenues of US$1.9 billion.

Yet the company is not one to rest on its laurels says Shantanu Ghosh, senior vice president and global lead for Genpact's enterprise services lines which encompasses finance and accounting, sourcing, procurement, supply chain and engineering services.

"Business growth and the opportunity to shape a young industry are powerful motivators. It�s great being in a company within that industry that has played a key role in making it a success. There are just so many opportunities ahead, and at the same time the core value proposition of the business model is changing from cost to expertise," he says.

Finding opportunities in a competitive industry

Ghoshï's core remit is to spearhead that change in Genpact in many areas and help drive the evolution of the industry. "Being a young industry, there is so much opportunity to establish many market-leading solutions and practices. In addition, our management team has been together for many years. Many of us are friends outside work and we have created an entrepreneurial, empowered, informal environment. It is a hard working but fun culture, which is a big plus."

In more ways than one, Ghosh has nurtured and overseen Genpact's rise; the company's story is his too. Having qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC, he worked with Unilever India for close to a decade. When GE came calling in 2000, he rose through the ranks to assume the office of the CFO of GE India, a post he held until 2005. When Genpact became an independent entity, Ghosh assumed his current position. So how was the transition?

"The shift from a CFO role to building the finance and accounting business was a very deliberate one. I wanted to move to a front line business leadership role and help build a new company. This also gave me the opportunity to address a customer base I knew well with a business model which was poised to grow," he says.

"So it has been a terrific journey, especially since in a short span in the finance and accounting area we have achieved a market leadership position. My role has evolved over time to leading several of our service lines and solutions and the transition organisation, so there have been new things to do every year."

There's no typical day for the Genpact SVP. "If I look at my diary, roughly one-third of my time goes to facing customers and external stakeholders like industry analysts and advisors. Another third goes into doing many jobs such as building domain expertise, new capabilities and frameworks and implementing them in real business situations."

The rest is focused largely on people, with some part of it spent on internal leadership operating activities like strategic planning, company initiatives and operating reviews. �Of course, the truth is that the thirds add up to more than the whole. We are also in a global business with extensive travel, and in some ways on the button 24/7. But at the same time I have enough flexibility to shape my lifestyle around those requirements and make time for family, reading, movies, golf and tennis,� he adds.

Clients' needs in a 24/7 corporate world

The company that's "on the button 24/7" has seen its clients' needs evolve significantly over the years. "Initially it was all about getting cost leverage while focusing on ensuring uninterrupted and compliant services. Over time the needs changed to getting continuous improvement in the processes they outsourced," Ghosh says.

"We are now in what I would characterise as the third wave of the evolution, where cost and incremental improvement have become table stakes and clients are hungry for expertise and new operating models in a challenging economy. They want best practices, the ability to drive effectiveness across business value chains, and a variable, scalable and agile operating model."

Ghosh admits, as his industry peers do, that the business climate remains uncertain and challenging around the world and could remain so for some time yet.

"In some ways that's when corporations have the most need for market-leading expertise and solutions. Also, the overall market for business process management is still at a nascent stage, with most services in most industries at an early penetration level. This leaves enormous room for growth."

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