Believer in the dream of BPO: Raman Roy

By : |July 28, 2002 0

NEW DELHI: The acquisition of Spectramind by Wipro Ltd. for a whopping Rs 407 crore, is the story of a man who believed in the dream of BPO. Raman Roy, Vice Chairman and CEO, Spectramind, soon to be re-christened Wipro-Spectramind, cannot stop smiling. Apart from the big bucks he made out of the Rs 407 crore deal with Wipro Ltd., Roy’s high in life today is the huge difference he has made in the lives of so many young men and women. And the excitement is palpable in the corridors of the Spectramind office, teeming with men and women in their early twenties. (The average employee age in the company is twenty-three.)

When Wipro announced the take-over of the company, Roy still could not believe it has happened. He still thinks that he may wake up to find himself dreaming. “I am absolutely delighted about the deal. Imagine the kind of leverage it would give us as part of the Wipro team. Next week I am going client calling with Wipro Chairman Azim Pemji.” It is the anticipation of this kind of leverage that would catapult the company into a different league altogether, which Roy finds so fascinating.

Roy would continue to head the operations of the company as the CEO and Vice Chairman of the new company with Vivek Paul chairing the Board. The synergies of the companies are obvious. While Wipro has significant presence in high-end telecom consulting, Spectramind will be ideally suited to cater to the technical support and BPO needs of its existing client base. For the customer, Wipro will become a single stop shop for all its service needs.

The biggest achievement of the Spectramind team is that they believed in their dream. Twenty-seven months ago when Roy decided to seek his dream with his own company, he handpicked a team of former colleagues from GE Capital and American Express. Armed with the experience and exposure to the potential of the sector, these men were confident of their success in their chosen field.

So, what made Roy dream this big? 44 year old Roy was immensely successful in setting up the call center operations of GE Capital in Gurgaon. During his stint in the company, he came across numerous requests from the company’s clients for a range of services, which were not possible by GE’s call center since it was a captive unit. Roy saw gold in the opportunity and decided to seek it on his own.

The next step was the careful selection of his team after which they needed funds. It was not difficult. The team had seven options to choose from, of which Chrysalis Capital funded the first round. “We chose Chrysalis because we identified with their team. Ashish Dhawan and Raj Koneru were young entrepreneurs who were also dreaming big,” said Roy.

“After the first customer, we had customers lined up,” said Roy. Today Spectramind has a 3000 strong workforce built over the last two years. And the span of activity ranges from answering customer inquiries about catalogue products to high-end data mining in genomics and computing. Thus the work force has a profile of graduates and qualified doctorates.

In an industry where ramp-up is of critical importance, how does Spectramind manage to find so many employees? More than 18 percent of Spectramind’s recruitment is through employee referrals. The rest are through advertisements and the regular headhunters that the company aligns with. A satisfied and somewhat philosophical Roy continued, “The real joy would be to tell my grandchildren someday that I could change the lives of so many young men and women.”

Roy is unstoppable as he gushed about the huge employment possibilities that the call center industry have ushered in. Quoting Mckinsey, he said that for every direct recruitment in the call center there is one indirect employment that is being created in the country–the transport, the catering, the cleaners, the house helpers are all on a job expansion spree.

Finally, the inevitable question, when would he be launching his next venture? Roy brushes asides all speculations. “I am totally committed to Spectramind. We have nursed it as a baby. It is still a toddler. We have miles to go….”

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