India, which boasts 38,500 IBM employees, ranks only behind the United States in IBM workforce strength.
Although IGS has delivery centers throughout the world, the new Bangalore facility, called the Global Business Solution Centre, is the first hub for the development of application components that can be used by different customers in different industries.
"This is the hub in which we will develop solutions that we can replicate from one client to another. It is the hub from which people collaborate with the business consultants around the world and the research labs around the world. This is the hub from which all the coordination will happen," said Matthew Porta, Global Solutions Leader for IBM Business Consulting Services.
IBM, based in Armonk, N.Y., will use its SOA (service-oriented architecture) technology to build solutions in collaboration with IBM clients and business partners.
At the Bangalore center, IBM consultants will develop and deploy solutions in 50 business areas such as consumer-driven supply chain optimization, banking risk and compliance, and retail merchandising.
"Before, we would fund the team in the country in which they were operating. Earlier, there might be a solution developed for the retail industry in France—and another for the auto industry in the United States. Now, well develop once at the hub. We can cross-pollinate across industries," said Jeby Cherian, head of the Global Business Solution Centre.
"We can create more solutions faster and create components that are higher-value," Porta said. He said the benefit to IBM is lower cost and reduced risk of delivery.
IBM has already served several customers through this approach. For example, Maersk Logistics, the international freight carrier, is using an application called Secure Trade Lanes that was created for it by IBM.
The system includes wireless tracking devices and a network for use by manufacturers, retailers, logistics providers, carriers and governments to share information about cargo in real time.
"The work weve done for Maersk could be used multiple times," Porta said.
IBM chose to locate the new center in Bangalore because of the skilled work force in the area and because IBM already has a significant presence there, Cherian said. IBM plans on investing $200 million annually in the centers work. About 300 employees will staff the facility to start, although that number will grow as business increases, an IBM spokesperson said.