Yesterday, MindTree and their executive team came to Boston.  The event had the typical flavor at first, but what we very quickly heard was that KK’s (CEO, Krishnakumar Natarajan) strategic view sounded remarkably similar to what Forrester has recently been advocating – traditional IT services vendors must evolve to compete in the next decade of tech market changes. Though it would be presumptuous to say we saw the evolving offshore vendor dynamic first, Forrester recognized the same trends and client demands that KK and his colleagues presented.  In the end, it looks as though MindTree has made demonstrable strides in three keys areas, which border on proof rather than simple marketing-white-wash, to attest to their evolution:

  1.  Client-centricity:  Every IT Services firm will claim a paramount focus on clients.  MindTree is one of the few who have told us (with some specifics) that they have actively wound down some outlying clients, in an attempt to re-double their efforts where they have a shared culture and a strong potential for future growth.  We heard directly from a client that this will likely result in a move to managed outcomes.  So there it is:  work so tightly with a preferred vendor that the trust necessary for a managed services relationship is not only logical – it’s inevitable.
  2. Vertical-focus:  Once again, every vendor will give you the ‘back-to-basics’ speech and say they ‘always were, currently are, and always will be” dedicated to the XYZ industry.  What you are typically not told is that your vendor is actively scaling back in areas that it doesn’t find to be its core competencies.  Here MindTree came back to the analyst community with a solid strategy that echoes what the Forrester, the larger analyst community, and all IT clients have been saying for years:  we want very specific industry expertise from our partners!  MindTree is stepping up to deliver on the ‘depth vs. breadth’ request for a handful of verticals, AND scaling back on other verticals that don’t match the new model.
  3. Specialized technical offerings:  Innovation is common buzz-word, but we’ve always had trouble defining it.  MindTree, however, has found a practical use for the term in regards to their Data & Analytics Solution (DAS) offering.  Not only is their ‘4-legged stool’ offering (Analytics, BI, Research, Information Mgmt) rare within the marketplace, it’s even more so when you realize it’s available as a hosted option – in your country (via Rackspace).  Scott Staples, who is running DAS, showed that this offering is leading to direct innovation for their clients – actually monetizing their data successfully.  How many IT organizations would like their preferred partner to help them save money AND contribute to business value through innovative analytics offerings?  We’re guessing all of them.

MindTree had a number of noteworthy updates in other key areas, but one caveat noted was the need for MindTree to differentiate itself from its competition.  I agree.  This will be MindTree’s biggest stumbling block, if they have all of the right tools but cannot communicate it clearly.  I think they have a good start by targeting their existing client base FIRST — making advocates out of their strongest partner relationships.  

How have you seen your offshore partner’s focus change?  How often are you updated on new offerings from your current offshore partner?