Region has all the ingredients for maximum growth
Innovative products already coming out from its GIC
SUCH is its thirst for talent that, at the official opening of Frost & Sullivan’s new office for its Global Innovation Centre (GIC) on March 6, senior partner and Asia Pacific managing director Manoj Menon joked: “Trepassers will be hired.”
With 90 current staff and with a stated aim of a headcount of between 700 and 800 within the next six years, it is easy to see why Frost & Sullivan, a global consulting and market research company, is eager to scale its latest GIC.
Besides hitting a target it has set, the real reason behind that hunger to scale its talent pool is the desire to capture the economic opportunities that it sees from being located in the Iskandar Malaysia development hub in the southern Malaysian state of Johor, a stone’s throw from Singapore.
It was a bet that Frost & Sullivan was right in making, reaffirms its global president and managing partner Aroop Zutshi (pic above).
“There were doubts when we picked Iskandar Malaysia as the location for our GIC and when we came in so early, mid-2012.
“But we knew all the major trends pointed to this region as being an economic hotspot,” says Aroop, speaking to Digital News Asia (DNA) exclusively from the new office the GIC had located to in the emerging city of Medini, Iskandar.
Among those trends he referred to are:
Over the next five to 10 years, two-thirds of the world economy will be centred on Asia Pacific, with China and India as the economic lynchpins for the region.
Accompanying this high growth will be higher incomes and consumption, and new business models.
Malaysia’s geographic position between both these nations and its proximity to Singapore, a global hub, was seen by Frost & Sullivan as being the ideal location to base its GIC.
But this would not have been enough on its own, says Aroop. The company also wanted to be in a place where the government recognised these trends and wanted to pay an active role in tapping the opportunities that would be created.
In the Malaysian Government and its national ICT custodian the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), Aroop says Frost & Sullivan found a matching of visions.
“We saw that their vision of what Asia Pacific could be tied to ours, and that was why we chose Iskandar Malaysia after a global search to identify the ideal spot for our GIC,” he adds.
And after being in Iskandar Malaysia for over two years, Aroop confidently declares that the choice has been the right one and the GIC in Iskandar Malaysia has all the ingredients for “maximum growth for Frost [& Sullivan].”
“There is access to Malaysian and regional talent, market access in the region, its proximity to Singapore (with regards to the regional headquarters of global companies based there) – while at the same time, we get a cost benefit here that we can’t get anywhere else,” he says.
Put together, Iskandar Malaysia has become a very fertile location for Frost & Sullivan, with Aroop sharing that is has invested a lot into operating and capital expenditure (opex and capex) in its GIC thus far.
The talent issue has been the main challenge, with Frost & Sullivan needing to work hard to bring in the right people … trespassers notwithstanding. Around 12% of the current GIC workforce are Malaysians who used to work overseas.
Aroop is eager to draw attention to the innovative work that is going on at its latest GIC as well. For instance, it has accelerated its Best Practices Research.
This unit looks at the best practices that companies employ in driving key initiatives. “For instance, everyone believes that innovation drives growth.
“We have benchmarked the best innovative processes from the best companies from all over the world, tracked, monitored and created a process around their innovative methods – and that is done entirely from the Iskandar Malaysia GIC,” he declares.
This unit has also created a new service called Blue Sky Innovation, which is where Frost & Sullivan said it can help chief executive officers who want to create a culture of innovation and sustain those levels of innovation, by putting processes in place that companies can build on to create services and solutions that, according to Aroop, “will make your competition irrelevant.”
That’s a big promise by Frost & Sullivan to its customers. But then, this is a company that has made a big bet on Iskandar Malaysia and which is confident its bet will pay off for itself – for Malaysia and its customers.
As Aroop says, “What we have started here will define our future and that of our customers.”
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