How to ensure success at your GCC

Part-II discusses the options to hire and appoint a leader for your GCC (Global Capability Center) in India

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So you decided to venture and start a GCC in India (or any part of the world). What do you do next?. The most important thing is hiring or making the right leader be the single point of contact manning the GCC. He wears many hats, call him the head honcho, managing director, head of so and so, but he is the person who firmly believes in the GCC, believes in this model of development, has the full support of higher management, and will make it his personal mission to ensure the success of your make-or-break strategy. Without this conviction, or if you make a bad choice, your GCC and its success are doomed. I can’t stress this enough.

How companies win at the outsourcing strategy

Sun Tzu or Master Sun, an ancient Chinese military general, in his Art of War, explores — the Way, seasons, terrain, leadership, and management affect the outcome of the war and how these can be used to plan military engagements and improve chances of a victory.

Although the words are defined by technology, the five basic factors remain the same in outsourcing. The factors affecting success can be reduced to two options in my view.

Existing employee preferably of Indian origin

The first is the Head of GCC (a.k.a head honcho, managing director). How does the company choose its commander-in-chief for its outsourcing operations in India?

A lot of debating has been done on this. If a US-based technology company decides to outsource work to India, the first and best option is to recruit from within an existing employee, preferably of Indian origin.

The obvious reason is the cultural fit. Every state in India (28 of them) has its own peculiarities regarding culture, including religion, castes, social behavior, language, beliefs, cuisine, and arts. The other obvious reasons are that he knows the company, its culture, and values, the product line, has a rapport with the CEO and other leaders and knows the customer and quality requirements. This will help them define the GCC's end product goals. You can certainly backpack a person from another nationality to India for a couple of years or so. They may be entering troubled waters and struggle to co-exist.

Consultants or companies that help set up GCC’s

Many firms in India help western companies set up shop in India. That is all they do. Some focus on bringing in the big ones like Nokia, Lowes, Target, to name a few. But they are typically expensive and have a three (3+) years lock-in period. If you know no one and are willing to spend the big bucks, this might be the right approach.

The other option is to use independent consultants who work exclusively with you for a time period to set up operations for you. In most cases, they might be your head honcho for a few years and then transition it to someone else when the GCC is in cruise control mode. This is a better option, as a consultant will help you decide on things like — city, location, office rent/buy, hire or team up with consulting firms, etc., and then goes about setting it up.

The consultant can go a step further as he knows the legalities of the land and help find the human resources needed to build upscale. The procedural process becomes easier, and they will stick to deadlines from the word go. There is flexibility and adaptability. And they are a lot less expensive.

They give you, to quote Sun, help and set up vision in the areas of resistance (distance, dangers, and barriers) and pinpoint advantages and disadvantages of your plans, based on their prior experience.

As the saying goes, If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur!.

Conclusion:

  1. Hire the right person to lead your GCC. This one decision will make or break your strategy.

(Disclaimer: Author’s view only and are not representative of any company he is working for or has worked in the past. He has extensive experience setting up operations in India and has done it for two of his own start-ups and for other companies he worked for)

Please visit my portfolio site for contact details.

Thanks for reading.

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Venki Ramachandran

Articles on setting up and managing Global Capability Centers. Technical articles on AWS, Cloud computing, and developing applications for scale and performance