India can't become industrialized nation like western world
By Sudarshan Kumar | 3 Comments
SiliconIndia talked with Krishnaswamy Subrahmaniam, President and Managing Director, CSC India, to know more about the changes happened in CSC and industry after recession, where does India stand on CSC's radar and what has been the current scenario in IT industry?
SI: What has been the biggest challenge for you at the time of recession after Covansys was merged with CSC, and you were appointed as the Managing Director and President of CSC India?
KS: After acquisition, the initial challenge was to make transition into mindset of a larger organization. There was a period when Covansys executives had to get used to dealings with a culture that was dealing with larger customers and larger deals style, but transition happened very fast. Even the management of CSC fully supported us to get transition into that. While transition, we also made sure that we did not kill the values Covansys was identified in the market for. The acquisition also proved to be a positive sign for Covansys employees as well as for me, as acquisition gave us the advantage of playing in a larger group.
The first year of acquisition did not go as per plan, as we spent in knowing the strengths of both companies together. When we tried to present ourselves strongly in the market; downturn stood on our path. But, it couldn't affect us in the way it affected other companies, because we were big organization and we had plan as well as strength to handle the situation.
SI: As you said that downturn couldn't affect CSC much, but at any point of time during recession, did you feel that it forced you to change some of the strategies to grow in the market?
KS: Fortunately for being company what we are, we totally tuned to the event, not significantly changed the way we were doing it. Even we didn't have to change much in our strategy. We already had internal tools and other things which helped us to streamline and make more efficient in what we were doing. Those were efficiencies and disciplines which were already part of CSC's forte. So, we did not significantly change the game we were playing. We were able to make sure that those were in line with model. In addition to that, as part of our regular technology road map we started offering cloud as a service. So that is a new service we have, we unbundled services what we offered, so we offered testing and services around the package software in a different way. We also created a trusted cloud environment within our own datacenters, so customers could experiment without fear of the unknown and this cloud is still unknown. So, people are skeptical with respect to how safe is cloud. So, we were already ready with cloud as a service during recession and now we have signed one of the largest cloud initiatives with Royal Neil Group.
SI: Now, when recovery is almost on; how are the customers in industry planning for IT and outsourcing budgets? Do you see any change in the perception of customers' mind?
KS: There are three types of customers. First, the customers who are technology dependent, had quickly to do some changes, so they are still ready. There are some companies for which IT was not crucial business driver so they were actually holding on to the discretionary spend. In third category, there were some companies who were not looking at off shoring in the past; they ran around and started looking at that because they thought that they have to get a quick cost saving.
So essentially we are seeing trends that there is a recovery and people who were hesitant to take decisions; are now taking. We can't say that flood gets just opened or anything but it's not zero or halt.
SI: How has been the presence of company in India and on what sector India's center has been concentrating on?
KS: Contrary to many companies which maintained huge bench in India we are always operating in minimal bench and we did that because we do not hire too many freshers. Many companies hire or made up 40 percent or 50 percent strengths of workforce by fresh graduates itself. For us, it is a much lower percentage and we tend to keep that way only, not because of anything, but the ways we take high value add to the customers. For us, fresher can't become 50 percent of the total workforce. On the customer side, we are looking Indian market as an opportunity basis, subsequently as a target market. We are into different markets so we will not like to lose India as a market. But whether it is 100 percent focused or for time being, is not the only question.
CSC India center mainly concentrates on application and the remote infrastructure management. Application management includes run and maintain of the projects and Remote infrastructure management is more to do with managing the data center, the computer infrastructure that are there, the database, and anything that does not involve touch labor.
SI: Recently we witnessed that retail sector has been booming in India. So, how do you see its impact on IT industry?
KS: It's true that Indian retail sector has been performing well, but at the same time it is not driving the IT market as much as western. We still have that kirana stores which drive our economy, and will keep driving for few more years. The retail boom that is happening is an urban phenomenon for India. It will still not catch up in rural area because we are talking about buying habits, disposable income and ability to buy things for comfort rather than for needs. So only when people move from need to comforts then only retail industry can boom. Currently we are not in that shape from a larger economy perspective.
We have major challenges of power and trained man. On top of that people in rural area can't afford technology. What I feel is that unless Internet revolution happens, I don't see technology reaching out to retail in rural region.
SI: How do you see the talent pool in India?
KS: Talent pool in India lack industry experience. How is it possible for anyone to work in an aircraft system if he has never seen an aeroplane or how can he work in an aircraft reservation system, if he has never travelled in air. Sometimes, it is very difficult. I can't extend this logic everywhere. One does not need not to go to moon to do something but he/she has to be somewhere in related area to start appreciating. Bulk of our people who have come without industrial background into IT is because of need, Y2K boom or extra. So people lack that industrial experience and therefore this gap is there and it will continue to be there. To fill this gap and overcome of this problem we plan to mix technology resources with business analysts who come from the industries.
Over a period of time, the talent pool I got was not fully ready but we made them ready. The same is expected from industry. Rather than complaining, they need to work around it. I can't expect India to become fully industrialized nation like western world where I will have everybody in some industry or other and we can tap into the talent easily. We will never reach to that stage. May be 2020 vision will take me one step closer to that.
SI: What is hiring scenario in CSC? Is CSC planning to hire more graduate in next fiscal?
KS: We keep hiring according to our needs. We hire in very consistent basis. But before recruitment process we make sure that we are ready for next deal or next quarter. CSC continues to attract talents, because technical folks understand what CSC brings, and being part of that organization definitely give them an edge. Particularly they know that we have been managing NASA's programs for 25 years. Not that everybody who joins us will be part of that team, but everyone gets an idea.
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