GlobalLogic: Engineering Products

Date:   Thursday , August 23, 2007

When GlobalLogic Founder and President Sanjay Singh picked up Jim Collins’ book ‘Built to Last’ from the Broders book store in Western Virginia he was clear that he would change the face of his company. He made sure the other founders of the company Manoj Agarwala, Rajul Garg and Mukul Jain—too read the book. At the end of the exercise Singh communicated his decision to his team, “If I do something ever, then this book will become the framework for our company.”

What followed was a rigorous drill of imbibing the principles expressed in Collin’s book and thereby articulating GlobalLogic’s mission: ‘We will partner with the world’s emerging software leaders to help them bring great products to market in less time and at less cost.’ To keep the momentum going, Singh defined the vision, “By the year 2010, we will dominate the worldwide market for outsourced software product engineering.”

Once the vision was set, it was just a matter of execution. Unlike the IT services firms, which took cost proposition to the customer’s table, the GlobalLogic team’s conversation with customers revolved around the CTOs challenges. As Singh and his team talked about time to market, collaborative working, and sharing the MBOs of the head of engineering, customer’s eye lit up. “They do not want a rate sheet or list of certifications. They are looking for a meaningful dialogue which addresses their needs. And that’s what we focus on,” notes Singh.

It is this messaging that has helped GlobalLogic go places. The 1700-strong company has been offering a portfolio of software product life cycle solutions such as product conceptualization, product realization, product testing and QA, migration and testing, product maintenance and support, product extension, and professional services. The competency it brings to table has helped the company enjoy ongoing relationships with more than 80 technology firms and built expertise in catering to customers in enterprise software, consumer internet, VoIP, wireless, telecom, security, payment and finance verticals.

It is this focus on technology companies that makes GlobalLogic stand out of the crowd. The Outsourced Product Development (OPD) market is a relatively at a nascent stage. According to India’s software industry body National Association of Software and Services (Nasscom), the market is set to grow to $8 to$10 billion by 2010.GlobalLogic aims to garner a larger share and lead the market.

The Inorganic Growth
To make faster inroads in the booming OPD market, GlobalLogic took the inorganic route. To fuel its acquisition strategy, last year, the company raised $12.5 million in Series B funding from WestBridge Capital Partners (now part of Sequoia Capital India), New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The company has so far acquired two companies—New Jersey-based Bonus Technology (with significant operations in the Ukarine) and Nagpur-based Lambent Technologies. The appetite for inorganic growth has not died yet.

The Religious Tenets
What we find at GlobalLogic is that it has remained true to its core values. Integrity, Openness, Teamwork and Innovation are the four timeless guiding principles of GlobalLogic. “We live by values,” says Singh.

Any employee, irrespective of his rank, can walk up to the management team and discuss about the company’s strategy. “Information in the company is not limited to your position in the company,” aptly says Singh. “We have worked hard to build the culture of openness. It is not that select group in the company knows select information.” Singh is right. When the company conducts its annual employee survey, the one area that employees consistently rate the management for is openness.

At GlobalLogic it is important for all to live by the set of core values. And people will move up the corporate ladder only if they do a super job of articulating the core values precisely because they are the exemplars of the core values—a representative slice of the company’s “genetic code.” Their alignment to core values is articulated during the appraisal process. “The gap; where you need are and where you need to be is articulated to every employee,” says Rajul Garg, founder and Vice President, Corporate and People Development.

A customer wanting to outsource work to GlobalLogic would like to know what kind of product culture thrives in the company and how employees are motivated. It is here that the value system built internally speaks for itself.

Aligning to Progress
The leaders of GlobalLogic figured out early on that in order to purse its vision of helping customers fulfill their product strategy, it is important that people are aligned to its partners (customers). As Collin puts it, alignment brings the vision to life, translating it from good intentions to concrete reality.

To reinforce tight alignment while working with customers, GlobalLogic follows a White-Box model. In this model, involvement of the customer in the outsourced software development is very much extended. It may be up to the level that the customer is involved in each and every major and minor step of software development like design, architecture, technology and framework selection, reviews, project management and more. Customers get the complete visibility of progress of the project and hence get confidence. While GlobalLogic gets the advantage in terms of shared responsibility, any problem identified by customer can be dealt immediately before it accumulates. Customer is equally involved in the decisions made on the implementation of the project.

As a result of this model, the customer knows every person working on his product, just as he would have known if the product was being developed in-house. Given this scenario, customers have an obligation to participate in the appraisal of every employee involved in the project. Based on the customer’s feedback the variable component of an employee’s compensation package gets decided.

GlobalLogic has been quite successful in creating the alignment. There have been many instances when customers visited the company’s NOIDA center to recognize the efforts and give dollar incentives to the team members. There have been cases when customers have offered stock options to the GlobalLogic team.

The Velocity of Delivery
While building products has been the DNA of the company, GlobalLogic has overcome the challenges faced in distributing an agile team by combining new collaborative methods, adaptive processes, applications, tools and management techniques. GlobalLogic has developed an Agile product engineering methodology called the Velocity that is used to manage and control product development using iterative, incremental practices. The Velocity has enabled the company to achieve 95 percent on-track and timely deliveries. “The most important factor in the OPD market which determines a company’s success is the delivery time it takes and the products that it delivers within the promised time,” says Singh.

The engine of growth has been set in motion. Judging by the number of new technology clients the company attracts, ten in the month of June alone, the company’s annual revenue growth, 80 percent in 2006, and its acquisitions record, growth continues. It appears GlobalLogic is ‘Built to Last’.

Global Logic
Founded: 2000
Headquarters: Vienna, VA
Management: Peter Harrison, CEO; Sanjay Singh, President
Centers of Excellence (Delivery Centers): USA (Vienna, Virginia), India (Noida, Nagpur, Pune), Ukraine (Kiev, Mykolaiv)
Employees: 1,700 professionals worldwide
Revenue: 70% year over year growth
Customers: AOL, Autodesk, Avolent, Electronic Arts, iFlex, NexTone, Sony Digital, Motorola and Trimble.
Milestone: 300 major product releases in the last 12 months