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Capgemini Chennai – building a center of excellence for innovation

VN, Swamynathan, center head of Capgemini Chennai, sat down with Innovation Nation to talk about his role in transforming our Chennai delivery center into an center of excellence for innovation.

Hello Swamy. Could you start by giving us a brief history of Capgemini Chennai?

VN, Swamynathan: It’s really great to be able to talk about Capgemini Chennai. There’s a bit of a history to this journey. Indigo Shared Services, a subsidiary of Hindustan Unilever, commenced operations in Chennai in 2003. Capgemini acquired Indigo Shared Services in 2006, setting up our delivery in Chennai and laying the foundations for Capgemini’s Business Services in India. After this, there was no looking back in terms of the growth the Chennai center witnessed from a single client to multi-client operations.

Chennai is also fast-evolving as a center of excellence for supply chain and finance and  accounting (F&A), as well as an emerging center for Financial Services. The other unique aspect about Chennai is that it supports English, French, and Arabic languages, operates 24/7, and supports our clients across multiple time zones. With a total headcount of almost 1,700 people, Chennai is also unique in terms of having over 450 supply chain, master data management professionals and is the largest center in the country for these specific processes.

Chennai Center has also served marquee clients such as Unilever, Coco-Cola, and Syngenta for over 10 years, establishing itself as a go to center for showcasing Capgemini’s capabilities to prospective clients.

What is your role in running and developing Capgemini Chennai?

It’s really exciting to lead this center! First and foremost, I develop the talent pool to support the growth of the center, ensuring our resources have the right skills to work with our new and existing clients. I work closely with our people across business HR to ensure our people have an enriching employee experience and are able to gain knowledge as our journey continues. This is extremely important for the success of the center. I also ensure that new and existing clients have an enriching experience on the capabilities we offer when they visit the center and interact with our people

Finally, I’m working on a number of programs to transform Chennai into an innovation center of excellence. This includes building talent in robotics through working closing with the RPA team, and ensuring our key resources are trained and certified to enhance and engage our client visits, enabling them to carry forward the enormous talent that exists in our center.

You mentioned that Capgemini Chennai is an innovation center of excellence. Could you share examples of key innovations or outcomes delivered?

I’m really happy you’ve raised this question. We’re running lots of programs with our clients to transform the center into an innovation center of excellence. One project worth mentioning is the master data analytics and master data management (MDM) work that we support for one of our key clients. This helped the client to reduce its inventory worth €3.5 million for a market in which we piloted analytics. Based on this success, we rolled out the project to various markets globally for the client.

We’ve also implemented robotics in our MDM and invoice processing, where we are pioneers in implementing our RPA platform including an intelligent character recognition tool that has delivered significant benefits to our clients. In terms of outcomes for RPA in invoice processing, we’ve delivered over 40% in headcount savings for the client, and this had led to the client engaged Capgemini for their own retained scope of work where they are implementing RPA.

How are you developing the knowledge and skills of your people in Chennai?

This topic is very close to my heart because without people we cannot run business services. People are our main assets and we need to make sure that they are up-skilled as the Chennai journey continues.

One of our successful initiatives is the best practice session we host on a monthly basis for the demand planning processes. We deliver a very unique process in demand planning, and to support this process we have 20 people from business schools across India that work with our team to deliver this process to various markets globally for our marquee clients. Most markets face a severe challenge when it comes to this particular process, and these sessions really help to understand the various challenges in a given market so that our clients don’t have to start from scratch, but replicate and leverage the learning from that particular market to a new market when a similar problem occurs.

The other areas where we work very closely with our people is to ensure that they understand the nuances of automation. We want to make sure that our resources understand automation, how it works, the various tools available in the market, and their functionalities. Our biggest strength is that our people are extremely talented at the process level, and through delivering Automation Drive training to our people, there’s a huge opportunity for these resources to develop into business analysts, which is helpful for embarking on an RPA journey with our clients.

The other skillset that we are equipping our people with is digital training. This is mandatory certificate training. Finally, we encourage our people to participate in big competitions, held both internally within Capgemini and externally. This helps them to stay well aware of what’s happening in that space.

What does the future hold for Capgemini Chennai?

In the immediate future, I see Chennai growing to double our current headcount – over 3,000 within the next couple of years – as well as adding a dozen more clients. In the distant future, I expect Chennai to play a key role in delivering integrated solutions to our clients, leveraging our cross-capabilities across technology, business process consulting, and design.

As I mentioned earlier, Chennai is moving towards being viewed as a center of excellence in innovation. I would like to see Chennai hosting more clients from different industries and sectors to become a multi-client, multi-sector center that is a role model for other centers when it comes to innovation.

VN, Swamynathan is the center head of Capgemini Chennai.