Indian companies and staff ‘safe'

Our Bureaus Bangalore | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on March 11, 2011

The 8.9-magnitude earthquake that stuck Japan and triggered a tsunami on Friday has largely left the Indian companies and their employees unaffected.

Even as news channels aired footages of submerged vehicles and damaged buildings, Indian companies made frantic calls to check out the safety of their onsite employees and customers. While the IT industry body Nasscom's Vice-President, Mr Ameet Nivsarkar, said that it continues to monitor the situation closely, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), HCL Technologies, Wipro and Nucleus Software said their Japan-based employees are safe.

An IT company based out of Bangalore said since lines are down, the biggest problem facing them is reaching out to all its employees in Japan to find out if they are safe. Mr Rostov Ravanan, CFO, MindTree Consulting, said that his company has been operating in Japan for the past eight to nine years and says that all the employees — both the permanent ones and those who are currently travelling to Japan — are safe. “Airplanes and trains are disrupted, and communications are down,” he said, but added that they have established contact with their employees. “The local head in Japan has spoken to the employees and all of them are safe. At this point in time, our client assets are also safe,” he said. MindTree has an office in Tokyo and some of its clients are based out of Osaka.

Wipro, for instance, has a development centre in Yokohama and a BPO centre in Okinawa, besides sales and marketing presence in Japan. It employs around 400 people in Japan. A Wipro statement said that, “All our employees are safe. Necessary emergency procedures have been activated and we are continuing to monitor the situation.” TCS said it has less than 500 professionals based in Yokohama. “As per the latest information available, all our employees in Japan are safe,” a company spokesperson said.

Infosys also had good news on this front. “We are relieved to inform you that all our employees in Japan are safe,” said an official communication from the company. Infosys has an office in Tokyo and has several employees in the cities of Fukuoka and Nagoya. “Our local teams in these cities are making arrangements to support our employee's requirements at this time,” said the statement. Infosys began its Japanese operations in 1996 and opened its office in Tokyo in 1997. They currently have over 250 employees (including deputed employees) in Japan.

Mahindra Satyam has set up a help desk to provide communication link with the kin of its employees working in Japan. “We have about 100 employees spread out in Japan. Most of them work out of Tokyo,” said Mr T. Hari, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief People's Officer of Mahindra Satyam. “All our employees there are safe,” he said.

Other companies that reported that their employees in Japan were safe include Zensar and iGATE. Zensar has 70 associates in Japan, out of which 20 are Indians. iGATE said its business continuity plan is designed to withstand natural calamities.

When contacted, Mr Vishnu R. Dusad, CEO of Nucleus Software, said that all 40 employees were safe. “Our office in Noida has checked with our people there, and they are all safe. Also, we have received mails from our customers saying they are fine.” Nucleus provides software solutions for banks and financial services companies and has five customers in Japan.

While the immediate safety of employees is good news for the companies and the families concerned, the business impact will take days to assess. “This calamity may have some near term impact as individuals and businesses assess and recover from the impact. However, it does emphasise and accentuate the need to diversify and plan for business continuity,” Mr Gaurav Gupta, Managing Partner (India), Everest Group said.

Japan is the second largest IT services market in the world (after the US) but for the Indian industry it contributes less than 2 per cent of the total IT exports. According to Nasscom 2008 snapshot of the Japanese market, less than 10 per cent of the outsourced IT services are being offshored; most of the offshoring initiatives were by System Integrators and the non-Tier 1 vendors.

Indian companies looking to de-risk themselves from overdependence on markets such as the US and the UK have tried to crack the Japanese market, albeit with limited success. However, given the size of the GDP and its IT spends, the Indian industry expects business volumes from Japan to move up. Nasscom feels that factors such as the demographics shift and Japan's losing edge in innovation will drive the Japanese market towards global sourcing in future.

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Published on March 11, 2011
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