How State Farm's new IT provider HCLTech plans to set up shop in Bloomington
An executive with HCLTech, the company State Farm has hired to outsource its IT operations, says it promotes an “employees first” culture and is taking steps to make Bloomington workers as comfortable as possible as they transition to their new employer.
“We’ve done this many times,” Srinivasan Seshadri, HCLTech’s corporate vice president and global head of financial services, told WGLT. “The process of integration is something that’s done very, very seamlessly by our HR folks and State Farm’s HR folks. We want to make sure they’re as comfortable in the transition process as is possible. As seamless as possible.”
What’s still unclear is how many Bloomington-based employees will be impacted by State Farm’s decision to outsource IT operations to HCLTech. State Farm says “many employees” will be offered jobs at HCLTech in similar roles, but that a “small number of employees” will not. State Farm and HCLTech declined to release specific numbers.
In Thursday’s announcement, State Farm did not say cost-cutting drove the decision to outsource, though it and other large insurers face mounting financial pressures caused in part by an inflation-fueled downturn in the auto insurance market and Hurricane Ian that struck the U.S. in the fall.
When asked Friday whether outsourcing like this typically saves companies money, Seshadri said yes.
“That’s the idea,” Seshadri said. “When you do mature processes, when you’re automating much more, when you do things that enhance customer satisfaction, take away friction, etc., it also results in cost savings for customers over the long term.”
HCLTech plans to establish a physical location — an “innovation center” — in Bloomington over the next year, said Seshadri.
“Bloomington is a place that, if you had asked us five years ago if we were gonna set up a center here in Bloomington, maybe not. But we’ve also very successfully built centers around anchor customers. For us, Bloomington therefore becomes very relevant because of what we do with State Farm,” he said.
But it won’t happen immediately.
“We’d like for the current folks to be housed in their respective places at least for some time, so there’s no major change for them. But as we keep expanding and we start finalizing what the mechanics of delivering everything is going to be, Bloomington will become a physical center with innovations,” said Seshadri.
HCLTech is an Indian IT services company that began as a “garage startup” in 1976, Seshadri said. It’s grown 20-fold over the past two decades and, in the early 2000s, became a pioneer in remote infrastructure management, he said. Last fall the company embarked on a major rebranding campaign under the HCLTech name. Until the State Farm deal, perhaps it’s most visible splash was becoming a cornerstone partner at MetLife Stadium, home to the NFL’s New York Giants and Jets.
“We’re a $12 billion (company). But we still behave like a startup in a lot of ways,” said Seshadri, calling State Farm an "aspirational account" for the company to win.
Among HCLTech's four pillars, he said, are that it helps its employees “find their own spark.”
“It’s a people business. People are the heart and core of everything we do,” Seshadri said. “If your employees are happy, then your clients are extremely happy.”
HCLTech has 220,000 employees around the world, but only 11% (25,000) work in the U.S.
Seshadri said HCLTech has 550 customers, including “50% of the Fortune 500 companies,” adding that “roster of prestigious clients” opens up opportunities for employees looking for career advancement.
“There’s are opportunities (not otherwise) afforded them within the confines of one organization, that could suddenly be available to a lot more people,” Seshadri said.