Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee

New Delhi, Oct. 28

EVEN as the company has outlined plans to significantly increase its headcount in India, leading real estate services and money management firm Jones Lang LaSalle is looking to outsource a chunk of its call centre work - that involves handling maintenance calls for the facilities or buildings that it manages - to BPO firms in India.

"We are going to put a lot of our back-house operations in India. We have over 15-20 call centres in Asia; we will be consolidating many of those and bringing the work to India," Mr Peter Barge, Chief Executive Officer, Asia Pacific, Jones Lang LaSalle, told Business Line.

`Intelligence unit': The company is also looking to set up a `central intelligence unit' in the country this quarter.

"We have 150 researchers around the world, researching on real estate. And we want to take that to another level and start looking forward to issues like where the trends are moving. We write hundreds of white papers on topics all over the world and we think we can do a lot of that work in India as well," Mr Barge said. He said the company was still mulling various locations for the intelligence unit, and Hyderabad was among the front-runners.

Elaborating on the call centre work, he said the company might team up with local call centres to outsource some of the activities. "We manage about 800 million square feet of real estate around the world. Many of those facilities have call centres attached to them for maintenance, problems and for security, and we had originally intended to put those call centres in the cities where those building are managed. Now with the outsourcing plans, there will be some consolidation in the existing call centre operations," he said.

According to Mr Vincent Lottefier, Country Manager - India, for Jones Lang LaSalle, initially the calls proposed to be handled from India will be for facilities or buildings that the company manages in the Asia Pacific.

"Not only do we run buildings for owners (the builder or the investor) but also run facilities for corporate clients (who locate themselves in the building), and take-up maintenance support work," Mr Barge said.

The back-office plans are in addition to the company's proposal to ramp up employee headcount in India to 3,000-4,000 for expanding its operations including project management teams and investment teams.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 29, 2005)
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