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ThoughtWorks revolutionises IT industry with digital disruption

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 February, 2016, 5:45pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2016, 5:09pm

Ambitious, forward-thinking businesses need more than a competitive streak to thrive in today's global, technology-driven economy. Beyond seeking the leading position in the industry, the bolder ones strive to make an impact so big that it forever changes the way that industry works. Thought leaders call this digital disruption - innovations that make the expensive affordable, the obscure accessible and the "impossible" happen.

"Businesses today cannot wait; they need to take risks and move forward or be left behind," says Craig Gorsline, president and chief commercial officer of the global information technology (IT) consulting firm ThoughtWorks. "Our role is to help those who are courageous enough bring about digital disruption, get ahead and stay ahead. We come to the table with custom application development services that help companies build and integrate complex software that is integral to their innovative business models."

Founded in 1993 with agile and lean technologies and methods at its core, the company works with commercial, social and government sectors across all industries. It describes its Global 1,000 clientele as those who are never satisfied with the status quo, incremental market shares or being in third or fourth place.

"They want to be number one," Gorsline says. "They are willing to blow up their industry with something new, and they are willing to blow up their own companies to get there."

As a relationship-driven business, ThoughtWorks has grown with these clients globally, expanding from its Chicago headquarters to 34 offices with 4,000 employees across 14 countries. It has also followed partners and customers to emerging markets such as Asia, particularly in China, where its operations are increasingly shifting from offshore to locally focused.

The company is optimistic that all its China projects can soon be completed locally as it already does in Singapore, where 100 per cent of the demand is fulfilled locally. It reinforces its commitment to China with six offices, two of which are in Beijing and Shanghai focusing on the local market. Among its clients is telecommunications giant Huawei, which it helped become more efficient in its software development practices.

"We call it organisational transformation, where we come in and help developers write better code, enable managers to run better programmes and encourage executives to think about technologies, technology road maps and product investment strategies in different ways," Gorsline says. "China is a growing marketplace with great ambitions. We are thrilled for more opportunities to work with global clients that are pursuing the market, where we aim to double our business in the next five years."

ThoughtWorks also sees more Chinese businesses moving into other parts of the world, and it looks forward to exploring new prospects with clients and partners.

"Our growth will continue to be organic, on the backs of our clients and together with like-minded, customer-focused partners who share our values and commitment to technical excellence," Gorsline says.

Apart from reaching a broader client base, ThoughtWorks takes great pride in having a large presence in the global health space, where it has developed open-source products used in hospitals everywhere from Africa to rural India. These products have brought world-class technology to health workers who otherwise have no access to it, enabling them to offer higher standards of care to the poorest of the poor.

"The desire to have a positive impact on society has always been a part of ThoughtWorks and our culture," says Joanna Parke, managing director for ThoughtWorks North America. "In addition to revolutionising the IT industry, we advocate for social justice and social change. We use our expertise and skills in technology to bring to bear on some of the world's toughest social problems."