AstraZeneca to increase headcount at Chennai centre

Chennai, March 30 (IANS) Biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will increase the headcount in its global technology centre (GTC) here while it is on the lookout for acquisitions of information technology (IT) companies in the drug development space, said a senior official on Wednesday.

He said the company is focusing on in-housing of IT related activities to bring down its spend on IT to around $600 million in a couple of years from the current $900 million.

“We will be increasing the headcount at our global technology centre to over 2,000 by the end of this year from the current strength of around 1,500,” David Smoley, chief information officer-information services, told reporters here on Wednesday.

“More than 50 percent of AstraZeneca’s IT workforce will be located in Chennai,” he added.

According to him, the overall IT strategy of AstraZeneca is to in-source IT activities to cut costs by carrying out the work largely at the company’s centre here and also in other locations.

The massive $400 million cost savings in the company’s IT spend happened by switching the strategy in favour of in-housing or in-sourcing from outsourcing and reducing the number of IT applications.

Smoley said the company outsources technology projects in the drug development space and is open for acquisitions of suitable companies.

“The company will look at in-sourcing the activities in the drug development space after building sufficient capabilities,” Smoley added.

Speaking about the expansion of the company’s centre here Siva Padmanabhan, vice president-software shared services & head-Chennai GTC, said the expansion will happen within Chennai.

The focus will be on the development of various IT application development and testing, business intelligence and analytics and support of AstraZeneca’s digital health initiatives.

AstraZeneca’s centre here was launched in 2014 to improve the IT organisation’s efficiency in support of 61,500 employees worldwide.

The IT applications and infrastructure management work outsourced to eight global vendors were rapidly in-sourced at the Chennai centre.

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