In the last two months it has added 500 and increased the total to 7,200. The company is following a 50:50 ratio of fresh and lateral talent in its recruitment programme.
Speaking at Smith Barney Citigroup Technology Conference in New York, Kumar Mahadeva, chairman and CEO, Cognizant, said “Cognizant is growing faster that we anticipated. We now expect to exceed our earlier guidance of at least $354m for the calendar year ’03.”
“We are continuing to invest heavily in Practice Leaders, Client Partners (who have more of a management consulting or Big 5 profile) and in sales and marketing. We tend to over invest in these areas but this is a good reason for clients to be extremely happy with our performance,” he said.
The company has invested about $40m in infrastructure in India. It finished the first phase of construction of 600,000 sq ft space to house 6,000 people in India.
The company has expanded its solution offerings and strategic alliances, which are driving the incremental growth. It is also seeing strong growth in ERP, CRM, Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence, according to Mr Mahadeva. Commenting on BPO, he said “infrastructure outsourcing is seeing some strong growth and there has also been some growth in BPO. Cognizant has been pretty cautious with BPO as a lot of work is still commoditised and not very profitable.”
He added “Our business has demonstrated steady and consistent operating margins. We target an operating margin of 19-20% and we re-invest anything above 20% back into our business. We believe that this is also one of the reasons why we are growing faster than our peers as the investment we have made in Client Partners and Industry Experts helps clients to grow faster.” On new deals, the company has announced that its pricing has been stable and is moving up slightly. Its average pricing has been flat over the last eight quarters or so.