Spotlight on our Penang Center of Excellence, the “Silicon Island of the East”

In March 2020, a new Clarivate Center of Excellence (CoE) opened in Penang, Malaysia, to provide sales and support to global customers. It’s one of three Clarivate CoEs that deliver world-class services, with the other two based in Chandler, U.S., and in Belgrade, Serbia.

Teams from Customer Care, Content Editing (Patent Translations & Enhancement), Inside Sales, IT, Finance and HR are located in the Penang CoE providing customers access to core Clarivate services.

The Penang CoE is led by Shankar Nagalingam, VP, Center of Excellence Penang, who joined Clarivate in 2020. He brings to Clarivate more than 27 years’ experience delivering global shared services operations, human resources management and talent management strategies.

Shankar describes his vision to create a world-class Center of Excellence in Penang where colleagues can grow and thrive in their careers and contribute to the advancement of innovation across the globe.


Leading a brand-new team

I joined Clarivate in May 2020 and since then I’ve been extremely busy, but happily so. This was in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, so my onboarding was virtual. But it worked fantastically well, enabling me to get up to speed with everything going on at Clarivate and helping me to fit in very quickly. Everyone was really supportive and made me feel genuinely welcome.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to join Clarivate because of the collaborative working culture and strength of vision provided by its leadership, which is truly inspirational. I’m fully behind this vision and the people-focused values of the organization. What greatly excites me is having the chance to spread this culture throughout the Penang CoE. It’s always exciting to be able to build and transform something – it feels as if I’ve been given a blank canvas and I enjoy thinking about how I’m going to paint it.


Creating world-class business operations

My role involves working closely with the global functional leads to help create a world-class Center of Excellence. I’ve been working on the strategy to achieve this, and we already see the fruits of this work that enhance our key priority of delighting and satisfying our customers. Recruitment for vacancies started in the summer of 2020, and after an intensive period of interviewing candidates remotely, our new recruits began with us last year. At that time, we were based in a temporary office space, within an historic British heritage building.

Today, we have more than 200 new colleagues based out of our new permanent workspace that we opened in February. We are planning to increase our footprint further in Malaysia and will be hiring another 150-200 colleagues over the next 12 months.

The Penang CoE has extended multi-lingual capabilities that enable us to support our customers in English, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean, and we have plans to expand our competencies for Arabic, Hindi, French and German.

Clarivate partners closely with Malaysian government agencies. Our aspiration and intention is for Penang CoE to become an advocate and ambassador from this part of the world.

I’ve enjoyed interacting with multiple stakeholders and leaders from different teams within the organization to help build the Penang CoE ecosystem and create greater impact and efficiency in serving our global customers. We’re also looking to proactively support our leaders with talent insights on Penang, infrastructure and technology. 


Creating our Penang Center of Excellence: A personal vision

I like to describe Penang as “the Silicon Island of the East” for its industries. The city offers Clarivate access to a great global business environment with strong infrastructure and connectivity, along with an impressive talent pool. The total population is around 1.8 million (Malaysia’s total is 32 million) and the total land area is more than 1,000 square kilometers – a third of the size of Singapore.

The many benefits of being here include:

  • A strategic location within the Asia-Pacific region
  • Well-protected in a ‘green belt’ zone, free from natural disasters
  • Second most urbanized state in Malaysia
  • Total workforce in Penang is 830,800

The goal of the Penang CoE is to provide world-class service excellence through the delivery of high-quality solutions, and consistent and seamless customer service. But what does that mean in practice? It’s about rethinking and reshaping our deliverables through:

  • Simplicity: easy-to-implement, end-to-end solutions that maximize efficiency and cost
  • Scalability: models and processes that balance standardization and flexibility to enable growth and transformation
  • Agility: to be flexible and deliver superior customer service

 At Clarivate, we prioritize Customer Delight in everything we do. This means putting the customer first, having a customer mindset and creating the best customer experience. We want to encourage everyone who joins us here to ‘play to win.’ A winning mindset creates a winning strategy through a highly engaged and empowered team. By doing this we will together help to contribute to the advancement of global innovation.

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