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 part of the NASDAQ-100 and trades under CTSH. It was founded as an in-house technology unit of Dun & Bradstreet in 1994,[4] and started serving external clients in 1996.[4]

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation
Traded as
IndustryIT services, IT consulting
PredecessorDun & Bradstreet
Founded26 January 1994 (1994-01-26)
FoundersKumar Mahadeva[1]
Number of locations
166 (as of 2019)[2]
Area served
Key people
Brian Humphries (CEO)
Revenue US$16.12 billion (2018)[3]
US$2.80 billion (2018)[3]
US$2.10 billion (2018)[3]
Total assets US$15.91 billion (2018)[3]
Total equity US$11.42 billion (2018)[3]
Number of employees

After a series of corporate re-organisations there was an initial public offering in 1998.

Cognizant had a period of fast growth during the 2000s, becoming a Fortune 500 company in 2011. The company has been involved in a number of controversies in India, Ireland, and the United States.


Cognizant began as Dun & Bradstreet Satyam Software (DBSS),[5][6] 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.[7]

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.[8][9] Headquarters were moved to the United States, and in March 1998, Kumar Mahadeva was named CEO.[10] Operating as a division of the Cognizant Corporation, the company focused on Y2K-related projects and web development.[11]

In 1998, the parent company, Cognizant Corporation, split into two companies: IMS Health and Nielsen Media Research.[12] 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. They earmarked the money for debt payments and upgrading company offices.[11]

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, Kumar 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.[7] Cognizant's revenues in 2002 were $229 million, and the company had zero debt with $100 million in the bank.[11] 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.[11][13] Kumar Mahadeva resigned as the CEO in 2003, and was replaced by Lakshmi Narayanan.[14] 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 Frank 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.[15][16]

In September 2014, Cognizant struck its biggest deal, acquiring healthcare IT services provider TriZetto Corp for $2.7 billion.[17] Cognizant Shares, rose nearly 3 percent in pre-market trading.[18]

On 24 June 2015, the company signed a multimillion-dollar agreement with Escorts Group in India to help Escorts' businesses in digital transformation and modernizing its operations across all business segments.[19]

On 30 June 2015, it partnered with Singapore-based supermarket retailer NTUC FairPrice to perform digital transformation in NTUC's business to improve personalized and consistent customer service across multiple channels.[20]

In April 2018, Cognizant and a consortium of Indian life insurers announced their development of a blockchain solution aimed at increasing efficiency through facilitating cross-company data sharing. The platform which is built on Corda, a DLT platform developed by R3 was claimed to reduce dependency on third-party data intermediaries and aggregators for obtaining consumer profiles and policy details such as KYC due diligence, financial and medical underwriting, risk assessment, fraud detection and regulatory compliance.[21]


Company acquired Country Date Business Reference
Contino UK October 2019 DevOps [22]
Zenith Technologies Ireland June 2019 Life Sciences Automation [23]
Meritsoft Ireland March 2019 Fintech [24]
Oy Samlink Finland January 2019 Technology Provider [25]
Mustache USA December 2018 Digital Agency [26]
Softvision USA October 2018 Digital Solutions [27]
Advanced Technology Group USA September 2018 CRM Consulting [28]
SaaSFocus Australia August 2018 CRM Consulting [29]
Hedera Consulting Belgium May 2018 Consulting [30]
Bolder Healthcare Solutions USA March 2018 Health Care IT [31]
Zone UK October 2017 Digital Agency [32]
Netcentric Switzerland October 2017 Digital Marketing [33]
T2C | Top Tier Consulting USA September 2017 Healthcare Consulting [34]
TMG Health USA June 2017 Health Care IT [35]
BrilliantService Japan March 2017 Intelligent Products, Internet of things [36]
Adaptra Australia December 2016 Insurance Consulting, Project Management [37]
Nova IT Australia December 2016 HR Services [38]
KIS Information Services (KIS) Germany December 2016 IT Services [39]
Mirabeau BV Netherlands November 2016 Digital Marketing, Customer Experience [40]
Frontica Business Solutions Norway October 2016 IT Services & Solutions [41][42]
Idea Couture Canada July 2016 Digital Services (Innovation and Experience Design) [43]
Heliocentric El Salvador May 2016 BPO Services [44]
Quick Left Inc. USA May 2016 Mobile & Web Apps [45]
ReD Associates Denmark April 2016 Market Research [46]
KBACE Technologies USA January 2016 Oracle Cloud, ERP [47]
Storebrand Baltic Lithuania Nov 2015 Lithuanian IT unit of Norway’s Storebrand [48]
CNO Financial Group (India) India Feb 2015 IT Application Development [49]
Odecee Australia November 2014 IT, Consulting and BPO services [50]
Cadient Group USA October 2014 Digital Healthcare [51]
TriZetto Corp USA September 2014 Healthcare Payer Software, Provider Revenue Cycle Software (Consulting, Software, BPO, Hosting) [52]
itaas Interactive TV Solutions USA April 2014 Digital Video services [53]
ValueSource Technologies India October 2013 IT services [54]
Equinox Consulting France October 2013 Financial Services Consulting Firm [55]
SourceNet Solutions USA May 2013 BPS for Finance & Accounting [56]
QBridge USA Jan 2013 Marketing Automation [57][58]
C1 group (6 companies) Germany December 2012 btconsult gbbb [process and technology consulting, SAP]; C:1 Solutions GmbH [consulting and enterprise solutions: SAP, BPM, ECM, ERM]; psc Management Consulting GmbH [process and technology consulting]; C:1 SetCon GmbH [software engineering and testing]; Enterprise Services AG [a Swiss company focused on process and IT consulting]; C:1 Holding GmbH [59]
Medicall Philippines November 2012 Medical Transcription [60]
Excellence Data Research India August 2012 Market Research [61]
ING US USA June 2012 Technology [62]
Zaffera USA September 2011 SAP Consulting [63]
CoreLogic India India July 2011 Mortgage processing [64]
Galileo Performance France June 2010 Consulting related to the measurement, management and continuous optimization of IT system performance [65]
PIPC Group UK May 2010 Program & Project Management Consulting [66]
UBS India Service Center India October 2009 Business process outsourcing, industry research [67]
Pepperweed Advisors US September 2009 Business Consulting, Program Management [68]
Invensys Rail R&D India & Invensys Operations Managed R&D Center India India July 2009 Product Research & Engineering, Manufacturing [69]
Active Intelligence Canada February 2009 Consulting, implementation and support services for Oracle Retail Merchandising, Planning and Optimization suite [70]
Strategic Vision Consulting US June 2008 Business Consulting for media and entertainment companies [71]
T-Systems India Germany March 2008 System Integration [72]
marketRx US November 2007 Life Sciences Analytics, healthcare KPO [73]
AimNet US September 2006 IT infrastructure services [74]
Fathom Consulting Canada April 2005 Telecom & Automotive IT Services [75]
Ygyan Consulting India February 2004 SAP consulting [76]
Infopulse Netherlands December 2003 IT services [77]
Aces International US April 2003 Siebel CRM consulting [75]
American Express Travel-related Services account from Silverline Technologies US Sep 2002 Financial services [78]
UnitedHealthcare Ireland Limited Ireland June 2002 Healthcare services (a subsidiary of the UnitedHealth Group) [79]


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.[80]

Business model

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.[81]



The company has 280,900 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, Chennai, Coimbatore, Gurgaon, Noida, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata,[82] 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.[83]

Business units

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%).[84]

Corporate affairs


Cognizant is led by Brian Humphries (CEO), Karen McLoughlin (CFO) and Malcolm Frank (President, Cognizant Digital Business).[85]

On 1 April 2019, Francisco D'Souza was replaced by Brian Humphries as the CEO.


YearFortune 500 rank
2019 193[86]
2018 195[87]
2017 205[88]

Cognizant was listed on NASDAQ in 1998, and added to the NASDAQ-100 Index in 2004. After the close of trading on 16 November 2006, Cognizant moved from the mid cap S&P 400 to the S&P 500. The company claims reported over $2.6 billion in cash and short term investments for the quarter ending 30 September 2012.

Cognizant became a Fortune 500 company in 2011.[95]

Corporate social responsibility

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.[96][97] 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".

Cognizant has a grassroots corporate social responsibility project called Outreach, for which Cognizant's employees volunteer to support schools and orphanages.[98][99]

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.[100][101]

Cognizant's sustainability efforts include a Go Green initiative launched in 2008 focused on energy conservation, recycling, and responsible waste management.[102] In October 2012, Newsweek magazine ranked Cognizant 50th among the 500 largest publicly traded companies in America, in its annual Green Rankings.[103]


In 2015, the Fortune named it as the world's fourth most admired IT services company.[104] In 2017, Cognizant was named in Fortune's Future 50 list.[105]




Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) facilitated the payment of $3.64 million in bribes to Indian government officials on behalf of Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. to secure permits, ranging from environmental clearance to power. L&T has made illicit payments and Cognizant reimbursed the money by disguising it as compensation for cost overruns.[106]

Companies Act violations

In March 2019, significant publicity was raised because Cognizant repetitively violated the directives of the Registrar of Companies. The Company "has moved [sic] the Madras High Court fearing possibility of criminal prosecution being launched against it by [the] Registrar of Companies for alleged violation of the provisions of the Companies Act of 2013 and the Companies (Appointment and Disqualification of Directors) Rules of 2014." One of those questions was as to why the company had not disclosed complete information on stock options of its parent holding company — CTS Corporation in the United States — having been given to the employees, including its directors, and the payments running to several hundred crores of rupees (approx US $40 million) having been paid to the parent company in the US towards stock compensating recharge.[107]


In 2018 a race discrimination suit was brought: "Three hundred 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.[108]


20 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 unusually high and questions the ability of the company to catch up with the latest technologies.[109]

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.[110]

In 2017, approximately 60000 Cognizant employees in Hyderabad/Bangalore/Chennai lost their job as a part of company's annual performance review process.[111]

Tax evasion

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.[112]

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.[113]


Working conditions

In February 2018 the UK and Irish press expressed concerns about contractors employed by Cognizant in Dublin as part of the outsourcing contract with Google about the conditions of employment in relationship to compensation and basic employment allowances like sick leave.[114]

United States


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.[115]

Crawford & Company lawsuit

Cognizant has been sued by Crawford & Company, the US-based independent providers of insurance claims-handling services, for alleged breach of contract. Cognizant had been mandated by Crawford to implement People Soft Financials software as part of an ERP project called Project Atlas that it was critical to Crawford's operations. Project Atlas included components for both internal operations and client-facing services.[116]

H-1B visa violations

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.[117] In February 2011, Cognizant said it had 60 full-time recruiters actively hiring in the U.S.[118]

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.[119] 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."[120]

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.[121] 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."[122]

Working conditions and mental health issues

In February 2019, an investigative report by The Verge described poor working conditions in Cognizant's Phoenix, Arizona, office.[123] Cognizant employees tasked with content moderation for Facebook developed mental health issues, including posttraumatic stress disorder, as a result of exposure to graphic violence, hate speech, and conspiracy theories in the videos they were instructed to evaluate.[123][124] Moderators at the Phoenix office reported drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and sexual intercourse in the workplace, and feared retaliation from terminated workers who threatened to harm them.[123][125] In response, a Cognizant representative stated the company would examine the issues in the report.[123]

The Verge published a follow-up investigation of Cognizant's Tampa, Florida, office in June 2019.[126][127] Employees in the Tampa location described working conditions that were worse than the conditions in the Phoenix office.[126][128] Content moderator Keith Utley suffered a heart attack while working for Cognizant in March 2018 and died in a hospital; the Tampa office lacked an on-site defibrillator.[126][129] Moderators were required to sign non-disclosure agreements with Cognizant to obtain the job, although three former workers broke the agreements to provide information to The Verge.[126][130] In the Tampa office, workers reported bed bugs, unsanitary work conditions, inadequate mental health resources, sexual harassment, workplace violence, and theft.[126][131] As a result of exposure to videos depicting graphic violence, animal abuse, and child sexual abuse, some employees developed psychological trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder.[126][132] Cognizant sanitized the office before The Verge's visit, a practice the publication described as a "dog-and-pony-show phenomenon".[126] In response to negative coverage related to its content moderation contracts, a Facebook director indicated that Facebook is in the process of developing a "global resiliency team" that would assist its contractors.[126]

On October 30, Cognizant announced that it would phase out a portion of its content moderation contracts in 2020.[133][134]

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