Information technology firms tend to go where the action is. And with London’s IT sector now the largest in Europe, it’s maybe not surprising that more and more of the world’s leading technology and computer software firms are clustering in Europe’s leading world city. Infosys is a case in point.
This major outfit, with over 37,000 employees worldwide, provides consulting and IT services to other enterprises across the planet. It started out in India in 1981 with seven people and just $250. Twenty four years later, and it is a global leader in the ‘next generation’ of IT and consulting, with revenues of over $1.5 billion. The firm has been in the UK for nine years, with 115 full time staff and 800 consultants on client sites in the UK, and performance on these shores has been similarly impressive: annual growth rate in Europe is in the region of 80%. Having started in Milton Keynes, Infosys moved to Croydon as it expanded, and is now turning a new page: relocating to Canary Wharf to achieve a greater presence, be nearer to its clients and better reflect this continued period of growth.
“Businesses today must be able to serve customers at a global and local level”, says Infosys’ European vice president, B G Srinivas. “London is recognised as both a leading global market and as one of the key European cities, due to its infrastructure and access to the European market. Our move to London is critical to our success as we expand our position in Europe, whilst capitalising on the prestigious nature of such a unique city.”
IT software and services in London have experienced particularly rapid growth in recent years, with the largest concentration of companies anywhere in Europe generating turnover of $7.8 billion. The city can claim access to an IT skills pool of some 324,000 people, nearly half of the UK total, while London can also claim big names including Compaq, IBM, Fujitsu, Microsoft and Oracle.
The continued success of Infosys – it surpassed $1 billion worth of revenues last year – lies chiefly in its work in offshore outsourcing. But while other firms have courted criticism for outsourcing to destinations like India and China, Infosys has been heralded by magazines like Wired for bringing jobs back to the US. Now it is doing the same thing in central London, hiring locally, whilst supporting the multicultural community itself through hiring Indian nationals for the more technical roles, and enabling UK businesses to forge clear IT solutions. All in a city with unrivalled specialist staff, support of innovation in areas like artificial neural networks, and centres of academic excellence.
“When it came to a new location for the next phase of the business plan in EMEA, it was an obvious choice”, says Srinivas. “London provides a gateway to the European market.”