AHEAD’s Strategic Approach in India: Talent Diversification and Competitive Edge


Keith Odom, SVP Managed Services and India Operations at AHEAD, discusses the company’s strategic initiatives in India, focusing on talent diversification and competitiveness. With a keen eye on leveraging India’s vast talent pool, AHEAD aims to bolster its global presence and deliver innovative IT solutions.

Read the full interview here:

TimesTech: Give us a brief overview on AHEAD

Mr. Keith: AHEAD is a prominent IT integrator with a substantial market presence, boasting a robust portfolio of services, products, and solutions tailored to meet the diverse needs of our clients. With a financial footprint of around three and a half billion dollars, we pride ourselves on delivering comprehensive and innovative IT solutions to empower organizations in navigating the complexities of the digital landscape. I currently serve as the leader for Managed Services and oversee the global operations in India for AHEAD.

TimesTech: How is AHEAD using India to diversify talent and enhance competitiveness?

Mr. Keith: AHEAD is strategically leveraging India to diversify talent and bolster competitiveness. Our expansion in Gurugram and Hyderabad reflects our commitment to sourcing skilled professionals across various practices, including services, cloud, and application development. This approach, especially in the rapidly growing Managed Service space, enables us to tap into a rich pool of top-tier talent. Recognizing the challenge of sourcing exclusively from the US, we have ventured into new markets, like India, to attract and harness top talent in these critical areas, ensuring our sustained growth and competitiveness in the industry.

TimesTech: What is AHEAD’s strategy for building a topnotch Shared Service Centers in India?

Mr. Keith: AHEAD’s strategy for building top-notch Shared Service Centers in India revolves around three key pillars. First and foremost, we prioritize hiring the best talent and cultivating effective leadership, creating an environment where A players attract more A players. Secondly, we are dedicated to fostering a culture that encourages growth, innovation, and career development for our team members. Finally, we recognize the importance of providing a conducive physical space, as evident in our state-of-the-art facility in Gurugram, with plans for expansion in Hyderabad. Our holistic approach includes flexibility in working hours, hybrid work options, and comprehensive benefits, reflecting our commitment to creating an exceptional work environment for our employees.

TimesTech: Kindly share some key trends that AHEAD is embracing in the dynamic Managed Service landscape.

Mr. Keith: AHEAD is actively aligning with key trends in the dynamic Managed Service landscape, driven by client needs. We emphasize driving automation to enhance efficiency, assisting with FinOps to reduce costs and ensure a strong ROI on investments. Additionally, we are intensifying our presence in the AI space, aiding clients in navigating and deriving insights from their vast data sets. With Managed Services constituting a significant portion of our operations, our focus remains on ensuring clients’ continuous operational readiness, optimal application performance, and delivering unparalleled support. Client satisfaction remains our top priority in all facets of our services.

TimesTech: How does AHEAD leverage India for larger service engagements and cost flexibility?

Mr. Keith: AHEAD leverages India for larger service engagements and cost flexibility through a strategic approach. Rather than segregating teams solely by geography, we opt for an integrated model. This involves collaborative efforts between Indian and US teams, fostering a diverse and innovative environment. By combining the strengths of both, we achieve a total cost that is overall more competitive. This approach not only results in cost flexibility but also brings unique perspectives, diversity, and innovative ideas to deliver superior outcomes for our clients.

TimesTech: How does AHEAD navigate challenges in the Indian market for successful outcomes?

Mr. Keith: AHEAD navigates challenges in the Indian market by maintaining a steadfast focus on hiring exceptional talent. Recognizing that challenges are inevitable, whether from client dynamics, technological shifts, or internal issues, our emphasis on assembling a high-caliber team remains constant. We believe that by fostering an environment that encourages innovation, leadership, and flexibility, we empower our team to overcome any obstacle that may arise. The key to successful outcomes lies in the strength of our team and the supportive culture we cultivate.