Innova Solutions: Charting New Horizons in Digital Innovation

Discover Innova Solutions' transformative journey in digital innovation. Pradeep Yadlapati, President of APAC SBU & India Country Head, discusses industry challenges, GCC offerings, and growth projections.

Manisha Sharma
New Update

Digital transformation

In today's dynamic business environment, staying ahead of the curve requires not just advanced technology, but a deep understanding of specific business needs. Innova Solutions, a global leader in digital transformation, bridges this gap by offering a powerful combination of innovative solutions and deep industry expertise. With annual revenues reaching $3 billion and ambitious plans to double in the next two years, Innova Solutions excels in helping organizations across diverse sectors—such as Banking & Finance, Retail, Energy, Telecom, and Healthcare—achieve their strategic goals. Their holistic approach identifies challenges and opportunities across departments, while cutting-edge technologies like AI-powered automation and cloud migration strategies empower workforces and optimize operations. Backed by a team of seasoned professionals, Innova Solutions ensures that each solution aligns with the unique needs of its clients, providing ongoing support and training to guarantee successful implementation and maximum return on investment.


For more details about Innova Solutions in India, Pradeep Yadlapati, President of the APAC SBU & India Country Head, shared insights with Ciol. He discussed the IT sector's challenges, opportunities, and growth, Innova’s new GCC offering, growth projections for Orion, and the company’s journey in India and APAC. He also touched on GenAI and GCC trends, revenue targets for the upcoming fiscal year, the hiring landscape, and relevant case studies showcasing Innova Solutions' impact.

Pradeep Yadlapati is at the helm of Innova’s India operations. Being the Head of Cloud Ecosystem at Infosys, Pradeep was responsible for 80% CAGR over the last few years at Infosys.  At Innova, Pradeep is looking after the growth of IT Solutions, build & nurture nextgen capabilities, drive Industry contextualization, manage India Operations & expansion plans, and amplify growth in APAC region.

Here is the detailed interview overview:


Could you detail the features and benefits of the new GCC offering and its growth projections?

If you look at what's been happening in the Indian market over the last 12 to 18 months, there are more and more conversations about GCCs (Global Capability Centers). Almost every other day, you hear about a new GCC coming in or discussions on what GCCs are required, etc.

GCCs have been in existence in India for almost two decades now, so their presence is nothing new. However, what has changed over the last couple of years is the availability of leadership, not just from a technology standpoint, but also from individuals with deep domain expertise and understanding of specific workflows. This has enabled a large-scale movement beyond back-office roles to middle-office and front-office positions. Today, certain business stakeholders in India are decision-makers for their business, similar to what we've seen in the US and other parts of the world.


Clearly, GCCs are on the rise, and there is a lot of excitement about what they can offer. According to a NASSCOM report, GCCs are projected to be worth over 100 billion dollars in the next couple of years, up from the current 40-45 billion dollars. So, GCCs are the next wave where investments are expected to happen within the Indian market.

Looking at last year's hiring reports, GCCs had the highest number of employments compared to any of the GSAs. Clearly, talent absorption is also happening in the GCC space.

At Innova, we have been working with several customers for the last two decades. We assist them from the ideation stage - providing India entry strategies, working with top industry experts from a GCC advisory consulting standpoint. We help them incubate in India by establishing their presence, registering companies, and ensuring they have an initial team on the ground.


We then move them into what we call the transformation catalyst phase, where they can run certain functions out of India, such as driving centers of excellence, managing workflows related to AI, data, customer onboarding, and servicing customers. This helps them become innovation hubs.

Today, a lot of innovation happens in GCCs, but often in silos. Our aim is to help them become integrated innovation centers by connecting them with other innovation ecosystems, such as startups and other providers like ourselves. In doing so, we help them collaborate on co-creation and devise joint go-to-market strategies to grow in India.

In conversations with various GCCs over the last few months, it's clear that along with the movement of certain work to India, there is also a growing focus on their own customer bases in India today. Their entire upstream and downstream partner ecosystem, as well as their customer base and servicing, are all based in India. This has progressed to the point where they are now seeking co-operators to assist with their go-to-market strategy.


So they ask, how can I increase my customer base in India? How can you, as a provider, help with this? These models have been present in the outsourcing space for years. If we look back, outsourcing has evolved similarly, and now global corporations (GCs) are experiencing this transition. The shift in spending is moving to India, with leadership and decision-making centers relocating there, causing the business models to evolve as well.

In addressing these changes, we’ve recognized the importance of meeting the varied needs of Global Capability Centers (GCCs). GCCs that have been established for a decade or more have different expectations from service providers compared to newer ones. Newer GCCs often seek assistance to augment capacity and get operations running quickly. Additionally, they may need support with domain-specific consulting in areas such as commercial banking, digital health, or managing remote equipment in manufacturing.

To meet these diverse needs, we’ve decided to launch a dedicated offering that provides the focused attention required by GCCs. We introduced Innova Orion, a service designed to support GCCs from the ideation stage to becoming innovation hubs in India. This initiative is the foundation of our approach to assisting customers on their journey.


Could you provide an overview of Innova Solutions’ presence and its operations in India?

Innova Solutions has been in existence for the last 25 years. So, we are not new to the business. In India, we have grown through several acquisitions. We have a revenue run rate of $3 billion and about 50,000 employees globally who are part of the organization. India happens to be the center where a lot of action is happening even for us. Last year, we integrated several companies. We've acquired companies like GGK, Innova Legacy, and MITS—a whole bunch of companies that we've acquired for different capabilities—and we integrated all of them into Innova Solutions last year. One of my responsibilities last year was to try to make them part of one company culture and operate as one entity. And that was the journey that we've gone through.

We are an Atlanta-based company, so a large portion of our revenue base still comes from the US. Like any other major provider, we have about 75 to 80% exposure to the US, and the rest comes from Europe and APAC regions. So that's how we've split. In India, we operate from different locations. We have Noida, where most of our shared services are, including finance, legal, and HR. We also operate out of Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, and Pune—all major locations. Additionally, we encourage tier-2 expansions and have smaller operations in places like Vadodara, which we are developing and expanding. Essentially, we are spread across different parts of India, both in terms of technology and our shared services. In fact, last year, we moved all our CIO functions into India. So, that's in short where we are and where India fits into the overall Innova ecosystem.


What are the key sectors or industries in India where Innova Solutions has a significant presence and impact?

As a company, today our exposure to healthcare insurance licenses is the largest among other verticals. So, we completed our verticalization last year. HILS, as we call it, is one of the biggest ones that we have. Then comes our banking financial services, communication media entertainment, and we also have a focus on high tech and telecom.

And then we combined a few smaller industries that we have, like retail, energy manufacturing, and transportation, and we call it our REMTT portfolio. In India, we largely cater to a lot of banking customers. You know, some parts of the retail customers that we are looking at, manufacturing, so these are probably the customers that we operate within the Indian market. And that's where I think most of the spending is also happening as we speak.

Healthcare, as I said, is one of our largest verticals with healthcare insurance licenses. So, we are trying to expand that in India through our relations back that we had in the US.

How does Innova Solutions differentiate itself in the Indian market, considering the competitive landscape?

We are a different company from a distinct demographic standpoint. First, we are a privately held company, which makes us very different from many of the publicly traded GSIs. These GSIs often face quarterly pressures, market expectations, and other pressures that come with public ownership. Fortunately, we are insulated from these challenges.

Secondly, we take a highly entrepreneurial approach. As a company, we have been acquiring multiple companies to help us scale, both in terms of technological capabilities and geographical reach. This aspect sets us apart as well. If a customer requires us to explore multiple options, we can accommodate that request.

Thirdly, our service offerings distinguish us. While we primarily focus on talent and technology solutions, which aligns with the core business of most GSIs, we also operate in the light industrial space—an area most of our competitors do not venture into. Additionally, we provide services such as RPO payrolling and contingent hiring, further broadening our scope. This comprehensive range of services allows us to cater to multiple buying centers within client organizations.

Furthermore, our structural approach sets us apart. We focus on verticalization and specialize in what we call "technology pillars," including data, digital product engineering, cloud, AI, and cybersecurity. This strategic focus enhances our effectiveness in these areas.

In terms of our employee demographics, unlike many large GSIs that operate on a pyramid model, we follow what we refer to as a "diamond model." Rather than prioritizing mass hiring, we maintain a talent pool consisting largely of experienced professionals with 6 to 15 years of industry experience. This ensures that we can offer deep expertise to our clients, thereby providing boundary-less talent.

Overall, our unique combination of factors, including our entrepreneurial mindset, diverse service offerings, structural approach, and talent strategy, differentiates us from our competitors and enables us to offer innovative solutions to our customers. While these distinctions present challenges, they also provide us with significant competitive advantages.

What are the key drivers behind Innova Solutions' ambitious plan to double revenues in the next two years?

Our stated objective is to grow from USD 3 billion to 5 billion in the next 3 to 5 years. However, we've encountered setbacks in 2023 and are experiencing some slowdown in 2024. There is still resistance to opening spending areas, but we remain committed to our investment plans. At the end of 2022, during a leadership meeting to plan for the upcoming years, three decisions were made -

Firstly, it was to drive as One Innova we integrated all companies under one identity, while we acquired companies, they continued to retain their identities, but 2023 is when we started implementing these changes. Secondly, we decided to proceed with verticalization. So, the bulk of leadership that Innova has hired which is the heads of Strategic Business Units have all come in in 2023, except HILS which has a little head start in 2022. So, Shantala Sadananda joined to manage Banking, Financial services, Communication, and Media Entertainment, while Ashish Saxena from Wipro started managing our REMTT portfolio and I have myself joined in early 2023 from Infosys – so we’ve all come in with the goal of advancing Innova towards becoming a USD 5billion organization.

Our investments, particularly in verticalization, have not halted. We've developed new solutions, such as InnoWallet, a closed-loop payment solution launched a couple of months ago. Additionally, we've partnered with Nokia for networking. We have also launched Innova Orion. Despite market challenges in 2023 and 2024, our investments are ongoing to reach our USD 5 billion target.

Yes, our roadmap for the future was established in 2022, and despite market headwinds, the leadership was clear that these investments must continue.

Can you provide insights into the adoption rates and market response to AI-powered automation and cloud migration strategies in India?

The cloud, for example, has become a table stakes in any conversation today. Back in 2016-2017, when I started managing Cloud, I had to convince customers of its value. I had to explain why they should move from on-prem to cloud, discuss security concerns, and cover a whole range of other topics.

Today, those questions are largely gone. It's assumed that any new program or investment is cloud-based. The growth of hyper scalers has significantly changed, and this investment in digital infrastructure and cloud has created the necessary platform for AI. Over the past few years, aside from cloud migration (moving apps from on-prem to cloud), there has been significant data transformation—modernization, monetization, consolidation, data extraction, and ingestion. All of this has been crucial because, for AI, data is primary. Without the right data, it’s incredibly difficult to derive insights or take meaningful actions, which is what AI is designed to do. Companies that have focused on data transformation in recent years, leveraging cloud, are far ahead in utilizing AI for their businesses. They can predict future pipelines, expand their customer base, and explore new geographies, all accelerated by their investment in data and AI, leading now to generative AI.

India, in particular, is an interesting market. The startup culture and incubation have surged in the last three years, bringing significant innovation. These startups are heavily utilizing AI and cloud as their foundation. Consequently, India boasts a high number of AI-ready and AI-aware individuals. This makes India an attractive destination for investments, as the local talent pool is skilled in AI, making it a fertile ground for experimentation.

I've had some fascinating conversations with customers about generative AI. There are many questions about whether it has gone mainstream and how it’s being adopted. In the last year, I've observed a significant increase in proof of concepts (POCs) and curiosity about generative AI. About 80% of CFOs are aware of generative AI and are opening their wallets to invest in it, though less than 10% really know how to value it. This investment is driven partly by pressure from boards and private equity firms and partly by a fear of missing out (FOMO) as they see their peers adopting it. Consequently, many experiments are underway, particularly in India, where there is incredible talent with real-time experience in this field.

Customers are asking for advanced solutions, from chatbots that provide contextual and personalized responses to core business needs like mergers and acquisitions. Generative AI makes it easier to integrate different codebases and frameworks across an organization. This is just one example of the significant investments we are witnessing, many of which are happening in India and involve Indian customers

What initiatives does Innova Solutions undertake to nurture talent internally and ensure a highly skilled workforce capable of delivering innovative solutions?

I think, being a services organization, one of the key things that we are focused on is upskilling and reskilling, which are important aspects of any service organization. We are not very different in this regard. We have invested in our learning management solutions and constantly evaluate the primary, secondary, and tertiary skills of our employees. From a talent standpoint, we are a digital-first company.

I talked about all the areas that we're investing in within our services; all of them intersect with digital, whether it's data, cloud, automation, or cybersecurity. We can quickly cross-skill our employees based on these needs. So, everyone in our development organization is picking up two or three additional skills beyond their current ones. To support this, we invest in our own learning and development programs and work with certain partners to bring in content. Our employees curate this content, which is then deployed for different new hires coming on board. It's an ongoing process, and we invest heavily in the initial three to four months of an employee's journey to ensure they fully understand our organization and the learning opportunities available.

Like everyone else, we are also focused on certifications, ensuring that alongside growth, there is proficiency and continuous learning in new areas.

What are the revenue targets set by Innova Solutions for the upcoming fiscal year, particularly focusing on the India and APAC regions?

We have put together a three to five-year roadmap. This year, we are looking at the APAC region to significantly contribute to the growth that I mentioned sometime back. Currently, most of our work and revenue, about 80%, comes from the U.S. However, in the next three to five years, we aim for the APAC region to contribute at least 10% of our company revenues. We are making substantial investments in the APAC region, which includes India, Singapore, and Australia, to meet that upcoming growth cycle.

In India, we have focused on the GCC market. Similarly, we have invested in Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. We have established sales teams in these three markets with the goal of achieving about 10% of the company’s revenues within the three to five-year timeframe. I believe we will significantly expand in these regions primarily because we are starting at a relatively low base compared to others.

Most GSAs already have about 10% to 12% of their revenues coming from the APAC region. We are not there yet. Our aspiration is to reach that level within the next three to five years and eventually become a USD 5 billion organization.

Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects that Innova Solutions is particularly excited about in the Indian market?

We are very excited about Innova Orion, which we have recently launched. About a month ago, we conducted a GCC round table, which we called "Empowering Your GCC Success." We received tremendous interest during that event. Many customers talk about success, but it is only through our two decades of experience working with these organizations that we truly understand why they fail.

When we understand the reasons for their failures, we can provide much better solutions to ensure their success. One of our key messages is that empowering GCCs for success involves making sure they are recognized as successful by their parent organizations.

NASSCOM has noted that about seven to eight percent of GCC leadership is part of the company board or senior leadership. We aim to support them on this journey. Orion is a standout in this regard, and we are very enthusiastic about it.

Additionally, we are making several investments, such as InnoWallet and our joint solution with Nokia in the telecom sector. We want to bring these solutions to India to support our Indian customers. These developments are very exciting, including those related to generative AI. We are working on numerous use cases with our customers, and I am eager to see how we can leverage these global experiences to assist our Indian customers on their journey.