Destiny required MindTree to reposition itself for the future. On one hand, we had many great customer wins and large complex projects were getting delivered but on the other hand, we needed to start building depth in both our lines of offering. We sat down with the leadership team and decided that the time had come to think of the organization as a set of horizontals and verticals as opposed to the two monoliths of enterprise and technology business. It was a major move that meant taking risks and pushing down leadership and accountability. The enterprise business was restructured to focus on Healthcare, High-Tech, Manufacturing and Supply Chain as verticals. Data warehousing, Business Intelligence, e-business and EAI became horizontals. On the technology side of the house, we decided to structure ourselves with verticals that focused on Industrial Automation, Storage, Semi-Conductor, Consumer Appliances and Networking. Hardware design and software engineering became horizontals. Each began to work on their go-tomarket strategy and fanned out to look at the making of the new MindTree as we called the operation. It began by taking an "outside-in" view.
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While all this was happening, the biggest achievement was the progressive shift of the company's initial positioning as an e-business integrator on the enterprise side. We began morphing into a full service software player. Volvo, looking for a strategic outsourcing partner, signed us up for a multi-year, multimillion-dollar contract. When we asked Volvo why they chose us, they said that the decision was driven not by what we had done, but what they thought we were capable of doing.
We survived a massive changing of the guard at Avis and continued to work on Avis.com after its release in December 2001. Franklin Templeton went ahead and asked us to do multiple new assignments after the successful completion of our first large project that effectively collapsed 36 different sites and connected them to their customer service representatives, who in turn, served their end customers. At its peak, this massive project involved a hundred developers working 24/7 out of two continents in a true example of simultaneous, OneShore© development. Our work with Levers expanded to Asia Pac and beyond, thanks to the support and encouragement by CIO K.G.Mohan and his team in India, and Rod Hefford in Singapore. They continuously egged us on to explore new areas and build newer value for Unilever.
The Aberdeen Group reports on the best practices in global outsourcing, and they selected our work with iSpheres, a software product company from the west coast, and showcased it in their research report and webinar.
On the technology business side, we delivered the world's smallest BlueTooth protocol stack that went into hand-held devices and other appliances for manufacturers like Epson and Sony. A leading Japanese company that built airportlanding systems was using the PLCs that we designed. Our leading position in creating storage area network technologies began getting strong customer traction.
A Fortune 50 company looked at more than 50 software companies across the globe for their long-term outsourcing program. They selected only a handful of companies to partner and MindTree was the youngest company they chose.
We received the Helen Keller award that recognized our concern and commitment to the cause of "differently able" individuals – primarily driven by our continued interactions and involvement with children at the Spastic Society of Karnataka.
Ashok Soota became the first representative from the information technology sector to be elected president of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII)—India's most important industry association that influences policy and represents the interests of a cross-section of industries in both national and international forums.
In the U.S., Computerworld Magazine chose MindTree as one of the 100 best places to work in the IT sector. We ranked 66th in a list that included Intel and EDS.
Three hours away from Bangalore, tucked away in rural Tamil Nadu, MindTree Minds rebuilt a village school in a place called Somennahalli in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu and forged a friendship that will one day be an example for private-public cooperation. It led the way for impacting leadership beyond the workplace.
Amidst all these accomplishments and accolades we saw the next level of leaders in MindTree coming of age, taking charge and guiding the course of our journey. By August 2002, we had begun to get the past behind us. The time had come to take a good look at the future and start pacing MindTree for the next phase of our tryst with destiny. A key element of that was our Vision 2005 that had aimed at achieving $231 Million. Recognizing that the world around had changed in many fundamental ways, we restated that Vision and set it up as a goal for 2007. To be a $231 Million company in 2007, we recognized that inorganic growth was inevitable. Yet we decided that we would not do it in a hurry or do anything that could inherently destroy the value we had created. The timing was projected to be the summer of 2003, by which time Ashok would have handed over the mantle of CII's presidency and could lead the process of selection and subsequent integration with the chosen entities that could help accelerate the growth engine.
By 2003, the CLASS values were fully integrated with our performance management system. Every MindTree Mind was part of an annual appraisal system in which a major part of the evaluation was how the individual demonstrated adherence to Caring, Learning, Sharing and Social Sensitivity.
All this time, our focus remained on getting new business and continuouslydeveloping internal talent.
As we emerged from 2002, we added several impressive names to our list of customers. These included Aventis, Cendant, Sonoco, Hindustan Times, TVS, Kraft Foods, EPSON, Toshiba and Mitsubishi.
2003 also saw us solidly entrenched in places like Tokyo where Soumendu Mukhopadhyay (Som San) made presentations to clients in Japanese. In Singapore, led by Vishaal Gupta, we opened up prestigious new accounts like the Singapore Port Trust.
At the same time, co-founder Anjan Lahiri, his wife Purba and their two-year-old daughter, little Ananya, made their fourth move in four years—this time from California to London. Anjan was asked to create a solid European base for us and he started with forging a great partnership with City Practitioners. City Practitioners, founded by Tom Kozlowski, is a leading consulting company that focuses on the financial sector. Clients include the who's who in banking from ABN Amro to Lloyds TSB.
In Chicago, we inked our partnership with Whittmanhart, a company founded by Bob Bernard. Whittmanhart's focus is on optimized business processes, effective organizational alignment and practical application of existing or new technologies. Clients include Harley-Davidson, Miller Brewing Company and many other respected names in the mid-west and the eastern US.
We also built up a solid leadership cadre that would take us to the next round of growth. Ashok personally taught at our internal leadership development programs. By 2003, we had 90 internal faculty members who regularly taught newer MindTree Minds as they joined the organization. We had set up a vibrant group called Culture & Competence (C2) that became the keystone of our learning organization. It was supported by a knowledge management initiative led by Cornell educated Raj Datta. Under his leadership we saw voluntary communities emerge, engage, create and contribute.
Unfazed by the turbulence outside, MindTree Minds took time off and celebrated Synfonia, an annual cultural show coinciding with the founding day in August every year. Another such event happened every January when the parking lot of our Bangalore office was cleared up, and families and friends descended to shoot hoops, play tambola, sing, dance and be merry. These became "institutions within the institution" that added to new branches and leaves, as MindTree rooted deeper.
We also become the youngest company to get assessed at SEI CMM Level 3 by KPMG and firmly put in place our journey towards CMM Level 5 assessment that was planned for December 2003. In parallel, we paced the organization on the people capability maturity model framework from SEI, known as PCMM, and planned for assessment at Level 4 or above by August 2003.
August 12, 2003. KPMG assessed MindTree to be at Level 5 of PCMM after a detailed survey covering 40% of all employees globally. This recorded several firsts. MindTree became the world's youngest company ever to scale Level 5, within 4 years of inception. It also became the first company ever to have all its global centers assessed at Level 5 – earlier companies had presented only some of their locations and did not qualify at a global level. In this historic achievement, we joined an elite club of 7 companies across industries to be at PCMM level 5.
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