The Company of the Future
Date: Thursday , November 02, 2006
The Manhattan Associates’ Bangalore Center is not just another technical programming factory. It is a full extension of the company’s domestic enterprise and engages in all activities from research to development and concept to design. With globalization, supply chain engineering is becoming an increasingly complex field that warrants the skills and knowledge of the talented workforce.
Manhattan Associates is at the forefront of building the framework to make the next generation of global supply chain. Its early lead into new technology arena is one of many positive byproducts resulting from the establishment of the company’s Scientific Advisory Board. The board comprises leading professors from Columbia University, Georgia Institute of Technology, MIT and the Wharton School of Business along with key industry experts in the supply chain domain. Its main objective is to explore what the supply chain landscape will look like in future. They had long foreseen store clustering and alerted Manhattan Associates’ research team to this growing development.
Right away the research team started developing the set of algorithms necessary for a tangible product and then handed them over to the applied research staff at Manhattan Associates’ India facility. This team was in charge of turning ideas and numbers into workable solutions by developing prototypes and isolating the strongest algorithm. Sometimes, that meant working on multiple sets of equations simultaneously. For example, when the company developed its fleet management software, engineers pursued two algorithms in parallel for a period of six months, with the goal of determining the best solution.
“We ultimately discovered the best algorithm to use as our foundation for the fleet management solution,” says Pervinder Johar, Manhattan Associates’ Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “Our goal is to engineer the highest quality solution and we recognize that can’t be done without dedicated up-front research.” About 90 percent of the work on the fleet management software happened out of India.
Manhattan Associates is different as it brings more than just computer science knowledge to the table. It offers a broader knowledge base that includes an understanding of operations research and management sciences as well. Engineers at the company have access to these three disciplines, over and above the customary code writing. As a result, there is heavy competition for opportunities in the company. “Because we are a mid-sized company, there is more visibility to your contribution here. All our employees have access to senior management as well,” explains Venky Sivaraman, Manhattan Associates’ Managing Director, India Center.
“The excitement among the engineers here delights me,” says Pete Sinisgalli, CEO and President. He visits the Bangalore facility every six months, and validates the growing efficiency and impact of the team here. “On every visit, it seems like an entirely new setup, as the team here continues to evolve, and manages the unbelievable job of delivering on every expectation that we have of them.”
Techies at Manhattan Associates’ Bangalore center today navigate across a fleet of platforms, which can broadly be classified into three categories (J2EE and SOA, .Net, and iSeries and RPG). Each of the three groups has an architecture division that works in tandem with the team in the U.S.
“Although we face no shortage of engineers with substantial J2EE experience, the workforce in India is relatively young and there is a lot of energy and potential that needs to be harnessed and cultivated,” says Sujatha Saha, Manhattan Associates’ Senior Manager - HR, India Center. This challenge is mitigated by the fact that Manhattan Associates India is managed by many who have worked in the U.S. facility for almost a decade.
The India team has been prolific in developing many products for Manhattan Associates, the two most recent being—Store Clustering and Fleet Management—in a span of just over a year. “The culture of innovation comes from focusing on what we can do better for our customers,” explains Johar. “Every employee is encouraged to think from that perspective.”
Training & Rewards
It is not hard to see why 90 percent of managers at Manhattan Associates’ Bangalore Center are homegrown. The company has a calculated management program in place that supports several levels to encourage growth and initiative. Management 101 and 102 are training courses offered at an early or entry level. For more established staff there is management 201 and Manhattan Associates High Impact, a training seminar including people from all over Asia Pacific and Europe. At the highest end of the management program is the Manhattan Associates Academy.
Performance is the key factor for both recognition and compensation. Solid performers are always publicly recognized in town hall or sales meetings and in various internal communications. Deserving employees get promoted and their career aspirations are met within the company.
To keep pace with ever-growing ambitions, employees at Bangalore are given an option—based on merit—of relocating to any of the Manhattan Associates Centers across the world. Over 30 engineers are relocating this year.