John Torrie heads up Steria in northern Europe. I met him briefly on the Thursday morning of the NASSCOM conference and then never saw him again that day as he was taking part in a whirlwind of meetings all around the fringes of the conference. I really wanted to catch up and have a chat with him for the blog, but it was starting to look like our paths would not cross. Hilary Robertson had grabbed him on Friday morning and we sat down in the lobby of the hotel ready to talk.
However, John had a flight to catch that morning and he remembered that he did not have a copy of his ticket anywhere so it was not a good time to sit and chat. He was looking worried. He thought it might be better to get to the airport as soon as possible in case he had any difficulty getting in. Like Hilary already mentioned on this blog, you need to at least show a ticket just to get in the door of an Indian airport. Though I saw her suggesting that it might take 5 minutes to boot up a PC to demonstrate a soft copy of the ticket and I can assure her that I have done exactly this in the past, though with a Mac it takes all of 5 seconds!
So we let John jump in a car to the airport. Hilary and I walked over to a Chinese teahouse by the side of the hotel. It was baking in the hot sun, but I switched on my computer and recorded John chatting to us from his car. Once he knew that he was on the way to the airport he was a lot more relaxed.
As John heads up northern Europe I wanted to find out some more about how the Steria team back in the UK fits into the global delivery model that now includes the team in India. John explained: “The global delivery model is exactly that – global. It’s a mixture of onshore and offshore resource and the strength of the model that we have is that we have really strong customer intimacy and we have very strong local teams facing up to the client. There are still contracts where we cannot use an offshore delivery model and we have the strength and depth in the UK to be able to handle any kind of project for any customer.”
John was particularly excited about the opportunities in the UK created by the joining of Steria with Xansa. He said: “We have really strong platforms and great customer relationships so we are well placed to grow the business in the UK. Steria already has a good UK client base and we are now able to take some of the Xansa BPO expertise into those clients, as well as the Steria expertise in infrastructure management into the Xansa clients. We are doing more, but that’s just an immediate win for everyone. Steria and Xansa were really complementary and so we can realise benefits from the merger very quickly.”
John said that his team had already been talking to customers across mainland Europe about the concept of offshore delivery prior to Xansa coming on board. Clients were interested and now Steria has the Xansa expertise he is keen to get back to talk to people all over the continent. He said: “The reason we were anxious to complete this deal is because on mainland Europe the market for BPO is still quite immature, but the financial imperatives are pressing. They need to find ways to optimise their costs and we now believe that we are at the start of a period of explosive growth in this market on mainland Europe. We can really take our experience in the UK across Europe, so we already have our teams and the knowledge in place.”
Clearly there are immense benefits from the combined organisation and John was really enthusiastic about getting back to Europe to talk to people and to share his experience of India. He told me: “It’s exciting to see India especially the genuine enthusiasm. NASSCOM is a really useful and exciting event; it’s been a really good experience and it was the first time I attended the event.”
Clearly John is excited about what is happening for Steria in India as well as back in Europe. By now he may well be somewhere in Europe evangelising what the India team is doing, which is after all just one component of the global delivery model he mentioned right at the start of this conversation. One team across multiple regions ensuring the customer gets the right skills at the right time, regardless of location.