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|Industry||IT services, IT consulting|
|Predecessor||Dun & Bradstreet|
|Founded||January 26, 1994|
|Francisco D'Souza (CEO)|
|Services||IT Services, business consulting and outsourcing services|
|Revenue||US$14.81 billion (2017)|
|US$2.48 billion (2017)|
|US$1.50 billion (2017)|
|Total assets||US$15.22 billion (2017)|
|Total equity||US$10.66 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
|274,200 (2018 Q3)|
Cognizant is an American multinational corporation that provides IT services, including digital, technology, consulting, and operations services. It is headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey, United States. Cognizant is included in the NASDAQ-100 and the S&P 500 indices. It is also one of the fastest growing Fortune 500 companies. It was founded as an in-house technology unit of Dun & Bradstreet in 1994, and started serving external clients in 1996.
After a series of corporate splits and restructures of its parent companies there was an initial public offering in 1998. Following the Y2K and dot-com boom of the late 1990s, when companies sharpened their focus on hard business parameters such as revenues and profits, the company grew by delivering critical application development and maintenance services.
Cognizant had a period of fast growth during the 2000s, becoming a Fortune 500 company in 2011. In 2015, the Fortune magazine named it as the world's fourth most admired IT services company. In 2017, Cognizant was named in Fortune's Future 50 list.
Cognizant began as Dun & Bradstreet Satyam Software (DBSS),  established as Dun & Bradstreet's in-house technology unit focused on implementing large-scale IT projects for Dun & Bradstreet businesses. In 1996, the company started pursuing customers beyond Dun & Bradstreet.
In 1996, Dun & Bradstreet spun off several of its subsidiaries including Erisco, IMS International, Nielsen Media Research, Pilot Software, Strategic Technologies and DBSS, to form a new company called Cognizant Corporation. Three months later, in 1997, DBSS renamed itself to Cognizant Technology Solutions. In July 1997, Dun & Bradstreet bought Satyam's 24% stake in DBSS for $3.4 million. Headquarters were moved to the United States, and in March 1998, Kumar Mahadeva was named CEO. Operating as a division of the Cognizant Corporation, the company mainly focused on Y2K-related projects and web development.
In 1998, the parent company, Cognizant Corporation, split into two companies: IMS Health and Nielsen Media Research. After this restructuring, Cognizant Technology Solutions became a public subsidiary of IMS Health. In June 1998, IMS Health partially spun off the company, conducting an initial public offering of the Cognizant stock. The company raised $34 million, less than what the IMS Health underwriters had hoped for. They earmarked the money for debt payments and upgrading company offices.
Kumar Mahadeva decided to reduce the company's dependence on Y2K projects: by Q1 1999, 26% of company's revenues came from Y2K projects, compared with 49% in early 1998. Believing that the $16.6 billion enterprise resource planning software market was saturated, Mahadeva decided to refrain from large-scale ERP implementation projects. Instead, he focused on applications management, which accounted for 37% of Cognizant's revenue in Q1 1999. Cognizant's revenues in 2002 were $229 million, and the company had zero debt with $100 million in the bank. During the dotcom bust, the company grew by taking on the maintenance projects that larger IT services companies did not want.
In 2003, IMS Health sold its entire 56% stake in Cognizant, which instituted a poison pill provision to prevent hostile takeover attempts. Kumar Mahadeva resigned as the CEO in 2003, and was replaced by Lakshmi Narayanan. Gradually, the company's services portfolio expanded across the IT services landscape and into business process outsourcing (BPO) and business consulting. Lakshmi Narayanan was succeeded by the Kenya-born Francisco D'Souza in 2006. Cognizant experienced a period of fast growth during the 2000s, as reflected by its appearance in Fortune magazine's "100 Fastest-Growing Companies" list for ten consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.
Cognizant focuses on three key service lines across various industries — Digital Business, Digital Operations, and Digital Systems & Technology.
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Cognizant provides information technology, information security, consulting, ITO and BPO services. These include business & technology consulting, systems integration, application development & maintenance, IT infrastructure services, analytics, business intelligence, data warehousing, customer relationship management, supply chain management, engineering & manufacturing solutions, enterprise resource planning, research and development outsourcing, and testing solutions.
Cognizant has three key practice areas that span its business — Digital Business, Digital Operations, and Digital Systems & Technology.
Like many other IT services firms, Cognizant follows a global delivery model based on offshore software R&D and offshore outsourcing. The company has a number of offshore development centers outside the United States and near-shore centers in the U.S., Europe and South America.
In its early years, Cognizant gained business from a number of American and European companies with the help of the Dun & Bradstreet brand. The company's senior executives envisaged the firm as a provider of high-end customer services on-par with the six contemporary major system integrators (Accenture, BearingPoint, Capgemini, E&Y, Deloitte and IBM), but at lower prices.
Cognizant was ranked at 195 in Fortune top 200 list of 2018.
Cognizant's excellence and shift to digital marketing, digital platforms interests and expertise in nearly all the leading database, digital marketing and emerging technologies has fetched it an eminent position across the globe.
The company has more than 261,400 employees globally, of which over 150,000 are in India across 10 locations with a plurality in Chennai. The other centers of the company are in Bangalore, Coimbatore, Gurgaon, Noida, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mangalore, Mumbai, and Pune. The company has local, regional, and global delivery centers in the UK, Hungary, The Netherlands, Spain, China, Philippines, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico etc.
Cognizant is organized into several verticals and horizontal units. The vertical units focus on specific industries such as Banking & Financial Services, Insurance, Healthcare, Manufacturing and Retail. The horizontals focus on specific technologies or process areas such as Analytics, mobile computing, BPO and Testing. Both horizontal and vertical units have business consultants, who together form the organization-wide Cognizant Consulting team. Cognizant is among the largest recruiters of MBAs in the industry; they are involved in business development and business analysis for IT services projects.
According to the 2015 financial statements, the major portion of Cognizant's revenues is derived from clients in the Financial Services (40.3%) and Healthcare (29.5%) industries. Other substantial revenue sources include clients from Manufacturing, Retail & Logistics (18.9%) and Communications, Information, Media & Entertainment and Technology (11.3%) industries. By geography, most of the revenue is derived from North America (78.6%) and Europe (16.2%).
The company's flagship customer conference is Cognizant Community. It is held annually in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia (Singapore, India and Japan). The summit, which features notable keynote speakers in the world of business, technology, economics and even adventure sports, has been praised as "a model industry event".
Cognizant was listed on NASDAQ in 1998, and added to the NASDAQ-100 Index in 2004. After the close of trading on November 16, 2006, Cognizant moved from the mid cap S&P 400 to the S&P 500. The company claims it is in excellent financial health, reporting over $2.6 billion in cash and short term investments for the quarter ending September 30, 2012.
Cognizant's philanthropic and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are conducted through the Cognizant employees for the financial and administrative support of the Cognizant Foundation. Registered in March 2005 as a "Charitable Company" under the Indian Companies Act, the Cognizant Foundation aims to help "unprivileged members of society gain access to quality education and healthcare by providing financial and technical support; designing and implementing educational and healthcare improvement programs; and partnering with Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), educational institutions, healthcare institutions, government agencies and corporations".
At the 2011 Maker Faire, the company announced plans to fund a Maker Space at the New York Hall of Science, a Making the Future after-school program and a partnership with Citizen Schools to promote STEM education in the United States.
In 2012 Cognizant Foundation made donation to Vidnyanvahini, a not-for-profit organization located in Pune in India for its Mobile Science Laboratory (MSL).
Cognizant's sustainability efforts include a Go Green initiative launched in 2008 focused on energy conservation, recycling, and responsible waste management. In October 2012, Newsweek magazine ranked Cognizant 50th among the 500 largest publicly traded companies in America, in its annual Green Rankings.
Cognizant is led by Francisco D'Souza (CEO), Rajeev Mehta (President) and Karen McLoughlin (CFO). Others in the Executive Leadership team include Malcolm Frank, Ramakrishnan Chandrasekaran (Chandra), Srinivasan Veeraraghavachary, Debashis Chatterjee (DC), Ramakrishna Prasad Chintamaneni.
Cognizant leads the ranks of companies receiving H-1B visas from the United States. The company has been steadily increasing its U.S. work force. In January 2011, the company announced plans to expand its U.S. delivery centers, including a new 1,000-person (0.4% of worldwide workforce) facility in Phoenix, Arizona. In February 2011, Cognizant said it had 60 full-time recruiters actively hiring in the U.S.
In 2009, an investigation by the US Department of Labor (DoL) found Cognizant in violation of the H-1B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Administrative Act. 67 of its workers underpaid due to unintentional administrative errors, according to Cognizant. The DoL investigation revealed that Cognizant had achieved 99.7% compliance in its management of H-1B visa-related issues. The company paid US$509,607 in back wages to the 67 employees. No fines or visa restrictions were imposed, since DoL did not discover any willful violations. Joseph Petrecca, the director of the Wage and Hour Division's Northern New Jersey District Office, praised the company for taking immediate steps to correct the violations: "This level of cooperation sets a standard for others in the industry."
In 2016, the company was the subject of a lawsuit by workers for Walt Disney World who said workers from India were brought into the United States on H-1B visas in order to replace them. However, in October 2016, federal Judge Gregory A. Presnel of the United States District Court in Orlando dismissed the lawsuits, stating "none of the allegedly false statements put at issue in the complaint are adequate."
In 2018 a race discrimination suit was brought: "Three former employees claim they were forced out of their jobs and replaced with 'less qualified' Indians after being poorly treated by their Indian supervisors and colleagues, given unjustifiably low performance ratings and denied promotions." Cognizant said it was "national origin" and not race.
200 Senior Executives, above the Director's Level were dismissed because they were not able to catch up with the latest technologies. The number of the executives that were dismissed is significantly big and questions the ability of the company to catch up with the latest technologies.
The Irish press recently, February 2018, expressed concerns about contractors employed by Cognizant as part of the outsourcing contract with Google about the conditions of employment in relationship to compensation and basic employment allowances like sick leave.
In 2016, Cognizant announced that it was cooperating with US authorities in an investigation related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and carrying out its own probe to determine whether some payments made in India breached the law. The company also said President Gordon Coburn had resigned and would be replaced by Rajeev Mehta.
In 2017, eight employees filed petitions with the labor department, complaining Cognizant forced them to resign as part of a performance-based review. The labor department closed the case in favor of employees and advised company management to give one more opportunity for the petitioners to prove themselves. At the time Cognizant had also rolled out a ‘voluntary separation program’ for directors, associate vice-presidents and senior VP's which offed them 6–9 months of their salary.
In 2017, approximately 6000 Cognizant employees in Hyderabad lost their job as a part of company's annual performance review process.
The Income Tax department has frozen Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp's bank accounts and deposits in Chennai and Mumbai for allegedly evading a dividend distribution tax (DDT). A Cognizant spokesman confirmed the report and said in a statement that a court has instructed the tax department not to take further action pending further hearings.Cognizant failed to pay the tax of more than 25 billion rupees ($385 million) in the 2016-17 financial year, the Hindu newspaper reported, citing officials from the tax department.
The court asked the company to deposit 15 percent of the disputed tax, amounting to 4.9 billion rupees ($75 million) as security deposit till it decides on the case.
Media related to Cognizant Technology Solutions at Wikimedia Commons