Cognizant, recently named Forbes’ Best Small Company in America for the second year running, provides offshore IT development and consulting services and is one of the fastest growing IT companies. The company’s upgraded expansion plan includes new and expanded facilities in Pune in the state of Maharashtra, Calcutta in the state of West Bengal, Chennai (formerly known as Madras), the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, and the southern city of Bangalore in the state of Karnataka. Cognizant will also build a new training academy in Chennai.

Once completed, the new facilities will add more than 830,000 square feet of space, housing about 9000 workers at a cost of $76m. The original $34m plan, announced in December 2003, called for 600,000 square feet and 6500 workers.

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Cognizant president and CEO Lakshmi Narayanan says that Cognizant has grown faster than the competition because of high demand for offshore IT services. Announcing the decision, he said: “Clients are ramping up their large-scale offshore programmes, including application development and maintenance projects, even more rapidly than the already high levels we had anticipated.”

Cognizant had only just completed construction of facilities to house 6000 employees, when it made the original announcement that it would expand its campuses in Pune and Chennai and set up a campus in Bangalore. As part of its expansion, it has recruited more than 4000 workers so far this year.

“Last November, we completed the first phase of facility construction,” says chief financial officer Gordon Coburn. “That initial programme provided space for close to 6000 employees and was completed on time and on budget. Phase two was launched earlier this year. But due to our robust growth this year, we saw the requirement to expand our capacity further in Chennai, Pune, Calcutta and Bangalore, as well as to construct a major training academy in Chennai. In addition, Cognizant will continue to add leased facilities to supplement our expanded construction programme.”