MORRISTOWN, N.J. – What’s in a name? For Collabera, the company’s new tag signifies a recognition of the increasing global role the IT services firm has played since it was first launched in 1991.
Hiten Patel, founder, chairman of N.J.-based IT services company, Collabera.
Started by Hiten Patel as Global Consultants Inc., the Morristown, N.J.-based company has been on a tremendous roll in recent years, growing at a 25 percent clip annually. The company topped $300 million in sales in 2007, has 4,000 employees and additional offices in Europe and India, including five global delivery centers.
Collabera focuses on a number of industries, including financial services, technology, communications and media, as well as manufacturing, retail and logistics. The company has worked with customers such as AIG, Bank of America, American Express, Capital One, AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, Dupont, Ford, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard.
According to Collabera chairman Patel, the name change is a reflection of where the company is headed. “This is something that came out of our internal employees and core management input, plus where we want to go with the company,” he said.
“Collabera is a name that reflects collaboration, it reflects partnership, it reflects teamwork,” he added. “Collaboration is going to be the way going forward.”
Patel envisions an economic environment in which the concept of outsourcing and its connotation fades. “Really nothing is outsourced or insourced,” he said. “It is a truly globalized, integrated supply chain.”
“Globalization is the right thing, it is not about offshoring or nearshoring,” he added. “We don’t see onshore/offshore, we just see globalization.”
“Through the past 16 years, our brand has accurately reflected what we did. However, over time, our capabilities and services grew but the brand remained the same. We wanted to create a powerful company brand that could reflect our collaborative and value-based approach while we could continue to build upon and further differentiate us in a crowded global marketplace,” Dominick Cavuoto, chief executive officer of Collabera, said in a statement about the name change. “While we still have top notch consultants worldwide and continue development in that arena, we also have burgeoning practice areas that are very much the province of Collabera and are committed to excellent client service.”
Patel believes the name change is about position in the global market. “We will have more globalized growth now, as opposed to localized growth,” he said. “We feel we will continue to be more of a globalized company.”
Crucial to this global growth, according to him, is a focus on excellence service and a deeper understanding of the customer.
Collabera already attributes much of its success to similar attributes and in particular its flexible approach to fulfilling its customer’s outsourcing needs. The company prides itself on being able to tailor services depending on economic, technology, cultural and strategic variables. With every client, Collabera analyses the nature of the outsourcing work needed, the key business strategy and the overall cost-benefit evaluation. The outcome is a services strategy that could be onsite, offsite, offshore or a combination that suits specific needs. Though Collabera has worked with some very impressive customers, the company credits its work with small- and mid-sized businesses for giving it the loyal client base that has fueled growth.
Several recent acquisitions have also fueled Collabera’s growth and global presence. Last year, the company acquired IVL India and Blue Hammock. IVL India is an enterprise resource planning company in Kerala that added 300 employees to the Collabera roster. Blue Hammock is a 40-employee data warehousing consulting business in Pittsburgh.
Patel said that the acquisition helps broaden the scope of Collabera, but does not affect the core business. “Those are what I call ‘fill in the box’ kinds of things. They don’t become the box themselves,” he said.
According to Patel, Collabera may target another acquisition in the near future.
In addition to its growth in India, the company has also branched into China in the last year, establishing a partnership and launching several projects. Collabera has also looked at South America — Brazil in particular – but has not rushed into the region, and is still considering options. “We went there and saw the challenges and saw the barriers to what we need to do,” Patel said.
However, due to the rise of the rupee, employee attrition rates and increased wages in India, Patel believes it is only a matter of time until centers in other countries will become a necessity. “All of that will very soon impact the cost advantage of India,” he said. “Clients are continuing to look for improvement [in cost-benefits] and we have to deliver.”