NTT Data's India centre to make Japanese firm ready for global expansion

NTT Data, the $13 billion services arm of the $112 billion Japanese giant NTT Group, in a unique initiative is using its India centre to make several Japanese firms to expand globally.

The programme called as ‘Japan to Pune’ (J2P) was started in 2008 for internal employees which was subsequently offered to other companies in Japan wanting to expand their global presence. Since 2011 J2P has worked with close to 20 firms and trained on an annual basis 100 Japanese professionals.

On an annual basis NTT Data’s Pune centre works with four to five companies which means training atleast 100 Japanese professionals.

The reason to use Pune as a centre, this was the first acquisition that NTT Data did, was because it was already catering to the Japanese market with almost 50% of its employee base conversant in Japanese language and culture.

“This began with the global engineers of the company wherein we trained them in softskills likes language, cultural aspect and understanding the global market. This was further rolled out to employees in the sales, corporate finance and others,” said Sanjay Khorate, senior director and human resources, NTT Data Global Delivery Services.

NTT Data entered India by acquiring Pune-based Vertex towards the end of 2007, it was also a signal to the executives within the company that the company had global ambitions and wanted to grow inorganically.

“Japanese firms are culturally rooted. So to be able to tap into the global market they needed the capacity and ability that would allow them to liaison in future This situation is true for several of the Japanese firms today,” added Khorate.

Though the programme was rolled out for employees the success of it made NTT Data to make it available to other MNCs in Japan towards the end of 2010. “Vertex before the acquisition was already catering to the Japan market so we had people with language capabilities and we also understood the Japanese culture and mindset,” said Khorate.

The programme is a spread over six to eight weeks. The curriculum not only involves making Japanese professional to be fluent in English language but also to understand how businesses work, this includes making sales pitch, project management etc.

“Generally the company will tell us their problem area and we work accordingly but the glossary is all around business context. For instance, presentations made by Japanese professional are very visual unlike in other markets which are verbose. Sales strategy that this market follows is very different. Meetings in Japan happen to give announce a decision, unlike in other countries where meetings are rounds of discussion to reach a decision,” said Khorate.

Along with the theory these professionals are also made to work on live projects and each of them has a buddy who helps them get around. “Each buddy also takes them to their house and makes them experience Indian culture,” said Khorate.

The J2P programme has helped several of the Japanese businesses including ecommerce players and MNCs to expand their global reach.

One such instance is of a leading e-commerce player in Japan. The ecommerce players had plans to set-up a development centre in India, NTT Data helped them hire engineers from India’s engineering institute who were then trained in Japanese language and culture.

“We hired about 20-25 engineers for almost three years for them today they have expanded their presence in several Asia Pacific countries,” added Khorate.

NTT Data charges about 1 million Japanese Yen per person for the programme. For the programme the company also have four to five faculty members, some of these are in-house.

“We do have people from the industry coming and talking about business issues like sales strategy and global delivery models and others.

Khorate shares that within the Japanese industry collaboration is key even if these firms compete with each other.

“This programme has been taken mostly by MNCs in Japan. The good part is that now Universities from Japan also want to work with us and give such exposure to their students,” he added. Last year the Pune centre worked with one University and at present is in talks with two more.

NTT Data has about 10,000-11,000 employees in India across Bangalore, Hyedrabad, Chennai and Pune. The Pune centre has 500 employees, about 70% of the revenue of the Pune centre comes from Japan and 50% employees are fluent in Japanese language.

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NTT Data's India centre to make Japanese firm ready for global expansion
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