Emerging Markets Like India Are Projecting Massive Growth Levels: Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain is a global provider of storage and information management services. Having worked with more than 230,000 customers across 53 countries, the 65 years old company fully started its function in India in 2016. It has from thereon seen multi-fold growth in the records management sector. Hitesh Gupta, Managing Director, Iron Mountain-India, shares the company’s journey in India. Excerpts:

BW CIO: How has your journey been in India so far? What differentiates your India business from the global business?

Hitesh Gupta: In India, the business can be distributed nationally. We distribute the whole business in the emerging markets and India comes under the emerging market. The focus is more on emerging markets because the kind of growth we are getting there is massive. Organically, we are growing 20 per cent and with the inorganic growth, we have grown four times in India with multiple acquisitions. So, emerging market is surely a good proposition for global companies like Iron Mountain where the real growth and real propositions come from the emerging markets. These global companies want to bring the best in class practices and best in class warehouses to India where Indian customers are not even aware of it. So, globally we have 1400 fascinating warehouses which store the critical documents and information of the customers, various data centres and we also do document management, logistics, picking up of documents, and delivering critical documents to the customers.

With that being said, India is also an important destination. Banking and insurance in turn has the largest customer base. Apart from that, the main challenges that we saw which we can resolve in developing and emerging market is that we need to create that awareness in the customers about what is the structured way of doing the records management. We understand that the biggest issue in emerging markets is lack of awareness. The big banking customers who operate at the global level, they understand the global process of MNC banks. However, largely the manufacturing concern, small scale industries, big Indian conglomerates, and even PSU sector is generally unaware of the structured way of storing the record management using the safe and secured facilities. 

That is why we see the big markets as an opportunity more than a challenge. Maybe a challenge, but we see an opportunity in this and creating awareness and get the business is a more long term annuity. But in global terms, North America is a larger market for us. 70 per cent of the volume, business and the value comes from there where they have multiple facilities, many customers and back-enders in processing. And we store a huge data centre in 200 acres of land which is in US. 

BW CIO: What solutions do you provide for lowering costs, and for managing data and documents? 

Hitesh Gupta: Records management is our main portfolio, which is our main product and we provide off-site storage in our facilities. The real benefit to the customer is that the current rental cost is going upwards towards north. They have limited space and they do not know how to scale up or how to create the mass for the future requirement. So we understand this and we continue acquiring new facilities year on year and build a space which can cater to customers for 5 to 10 years. Also, we have put a lot of systems in place to track the documents or recall it faster.

We provide a lot of safety securities and we are also trying to get into tier 2 cities. Earlier these documents were moving from tier 2 cities to tier 1 so there was a huge transportation cost. And now we have 50 locations where we are operating with 75 facilities. So, that has reduced the cost significantly. Besides record management, we do data management, we do document management in India and we also do a secured shredding of the information. We will also start with a data centre maybe in some time now. 

BW CIO: How do you help companies recover from disasters and use the data with better protection for the future?

Hitesh Gupta: We have digitalization of the physical storage which helps them a lot. The moment customers outsource the storage to us, we provide them a solution where they can digitalize the same document and we can keep it at offsite storage device in the cloud and in the data centres. That is one of the data disaster recovery solution we give. 

We also provide multiple warehouse options. If a customer gives us 3,000 boxes every month then it does not mean that it will be stored in one location. So, that distributes risk on the particular facility of one centre. We can distribute it to various centres and each centre is supported with SM Global Standards of safety and security. 

BW CIO: What are your strategic plan for 2018? 

Hitesh Gupta: We started full-fledged in 2013. And in 2015 our real journey began with multiple acquisitions. So, from 2016-2018, we are going to head 2018 with fourfold increase in volume and in revenue as well.

Going forward, our plans are to grow organically 20 per cent year-on-year and we will have a few more strategic acquisitions. But 2018 is more about consolidation and bringing in the best practices. We are putting in more investment on bringing everything to the international standard in India.  

BW CIO: What will be your top priority this year?  

Hitesh Gupta: We definitely want to be customer centric. So, we are investing a huge amount and consolidating data. We still want to create more awareness in the industry on how we can save and secure information. We want to see awareness in the market on what is the best compliant way of managing the information. We also want to try and do everything we can for our employees above 65. We want every employee’s safety when they come to office and we want them go safely, same way back to home. The safety culture is first, every presentation, our every big forum starts with safety first. So, we do the safety presentation first and then we start the business presentation.

BW CIO: What differentiates Iron Mountain from other companies which provide storage and management services?

Hitesh Gupta: I think the differentiator is that we understand the requirement of the customer but we really help them and educate them that what is the best available in the world. And what is the best practices that matured market or other European or US markets follow on the other data safety and security. So, I think that is one of the biggest differentiator. Another is the kind of talent pool we have acquired in the 80 per cent or 90 per cent of the market in India.


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