The biggest tech company you’ve never heard of is bullish about Manchester

29 Jun, 2016

Last week, Tech North hosted a Northern Powerhouse reception as part of London Technology Week. There we highlighted technology companies from Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland.

To tie in with the event, we’re talking to a company from each city to find out why they’re based there.

With more than 100,000 employees and clients like Deutsche Bank and Volvo, HCL is the biggest tech company you’ve never heard of. And the Indian-founded has firm recently opened not one, but two bases in Manchester.

Last year, HCL was announced as Manchester United’s ‘official digital transformation partner.’ It’s a move that will completely overhaul football club’s digital presence. New apps, social media activity and web-based experiences are all on the roadmap. With 659 million fans worldwide, most of the club’s audience will never visit its ground. HCL’s work will help it serve that global market.

This work could have been done from anywhere in the world – HCL is active in 32 countries, after all. Instead it decided to open both its own Manchester office and an operation inside United’s Old Trafford base. This fits with the two companies’ aim to “operate not as a partnership, but as a team with common objectives.”

Manchester’s critical mass

Alan Flower, HCL Tech’s VP and CTO for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says that the company has hired a “best-of-breed digital team” in Manchester. Similarly to other big companies hiring digital-focused staff in the city, it’s attracted staff to relocate from further afield in addition to locals.

While the Manchester United project is a huge job, HCL serves other Northern clients from its base in the city. Its new digital transformation business unit BeyondDigital is also active there.

“It’s important to us that we have a rich seam of digital talent,” says Flower. “Manchester’s advantage is that it has a critical mass of digital talent.”

Read the rest of our London Technology Week articles

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