Accenture, the world’s second-biggest technology consulting firm, has chosen Bangalore for its first office specializing in an evolving technology called “service-oriented architecture” or SOA that is finding increasing acceptance among large global businesses.
This is part of its strategy to source more software projects from India to save on costs. In the past three years, Accenture has doubled the portion of its projects handled in cheap, ‘offshore’ locations such as India to almost 60%.
SOA refers to a loosely tied collection of software applications designed to carry out individual tasks that communicate with each other. Each application is self-contained and works with another piece of software depending on the need. The architecture reduces the cost of deployment and increases flexibility in use of software that run businesses.
The Accenture centre, to be opened jointly with Sun Microsystems, will execute and deliver complex software projects in the areas of SOA and identity management. Currently, the two companies are working on 20 such projects for clients in the US and Europe. Both companies declined to comment on the number of engineers to be employed at the new innovation centre. But Accenture had announced in July 2006 that it would be investing close to $500 million (Rs2,300 crore then) in SOA initiatives over three years.
“It makes real commercial sense for us to have these high-tech projects delivered out of India rather than the US, which is quite expensive,” said Alastair MacWillson, managing director of global security practice for Accenture. These projects will involve designing solutions, besides maintenance and technical support.
MacWillson added that customers from banking and financial services and telecom segments are adopting SOA in a big way.
For instance, Germany’s Deutsche Bank and UK’s Barclays, apart from telecom majors AT&T and BT, are some of Accenture’s clients.
The India focus of Accenture, second behind IBM Corp. in the global tech consulting business, is clear from an unrelated announcement last week, when it said it would hire around 2,000 management consultants in India to execute complex software and business consulting projects for its global clients.
By the year-end, the company will have around 35,000 software professionals working in India.