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Orchestrating a memorable 'Symphony'!

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CIOL Bureau
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MUMBAI, INDIA: The Indian Information Technology (IT) sector has witnessed countless corporations showcasing their offerings to create a place both in the product space and in the application arena. Symphony Services—a world wide provider of product engineering services made a late entry in the arena but has grown steadily by focusing on product development and giving collaborative and end-to-end solutions. Prasad Ramasubramanian from Cybermedia News spoke to Amitava Roy, President-Symphony Services-India in a brief tête-à-tête to know more about the growth plans of Symphony.

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Excerpts from the interview:

Despite being one of the late entrants, you have made your mark. It must have been a very exciting journey

Very exciting—to look at it—the exciting part is that we have grown very fast and we have believed in a certain vision in the niche that we created for ourselves which is in the outsourced product engineering space.

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What was the main mission when you started out?

If you recall our history, this company was started by a gentleman called Dr. Romesh Wadhwani who had a huge success using Indian manpower to create a value for himself in a company called Aspect Development Inc which and sold to ‘i2 Technologies’ for $ 9.3 billion and when he came out of the company i2 as the vice chairman, he said that if it paid so much value to me, there are so many companies in the product space that could be benefited. He said that --I would like to create this model and create a value and give a globalised product value company.

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When you debuted, the industry was undergoing a recession. What were the concerns of your clients at that time and how has it changed over the years?

From 1999-2002 the industry was coming out of recession. And when you talk to a product engineering company outside their shores—they would like to have complete control, you administrate for us but we would run, that outlook has changed. Today it’s no more about micro-management, it about partnering.

Symphony is a company which lives and breathes product. The entire management and the entire employee force of about 3,500 people are delivering products. There are certain nuances in this space--Product engineering means—high commitments, high end technology, innovate on a larger scale –continuously keep doing that and its not that we jump from one project to another. People know about symphony today. It’s a very well known source.

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If you are a captive and when you come to India, you brought in an Indian employee as a senior guy who wanted to come back, many times it has not be planned and even the venture funds would push companies saying that an Indian success story is important. If the captive is not growing, employees would not feel good about it. So how do you give them a career? Here is a company which is only dedicated to this business and you have an opportunity to move without affecting the customer because they are concerned about it.

In smaller captives, you don’t have very well laid out processes and here you are actually pushing the envelope by providing customer value in terms of providing customer innovations, providing best practices to the customer. This is a tremendous shift from a small or middle captive or couple of middle sized captives. We attract a certain set of talent and if they are into products, then symphony is their first choice.

 
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Network storage space has gained a lot of momentum in the last few years and reports state that the date generated has exceeded the data stored across the world. Your comment

Let me give you an example. The fastest growing areas are storage and people are on the net pulling up data and storing it. Companies continuously document everything and unless you are able to store and pull it on demand, it’s going to be difficult. There are companies such as EMC, Network Appliances and companies Mimosa a company where we are involved in email archiving. These companies are growing and competing with each other and Symphony in 2003-04 acquired a company of 140 people and today the base is going to be 1000.

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The message is that we are in a way driving innovation for that company. If we don’t give newer ideas, how would they survive? We are no longer an extension; we are actually giving them something which adds to their value.

You have entered the embedded software arena with your acquisition of Optimal Engineering partners in the United States. How would this area in the next few years in India?

If you see, currently embedded software is a hub in china, but a report which I was reading a couple of days back states in the next 5 years embedded software hub would be in India. So given that, if you look at the overall movement, customers are looking at India and companies such as symphony are benefiting from this shift.

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