Advantage IT – A CEO’s Insight

— Times Ascent

The Indian Information Technology (IT) industry has built up a valuable brand equity in the global markets. As this industry scales new heights, Team Ascent brings together some of the top CEOs on a common platform as they share their views on the various trends in India's IT Inc.

According to the annual report submitted by the Department of Information Technology (DIT), the Indian IT-BPO sector has grown in the year 2009-10 at a rate of five per cent and the Indian software and services sector is expected to garner a growth rate of 5.5 per cent. The above statistics go to prove that the Indian IT sector has gained a strong foothold in every sub-sector in IT. Talking on a macro-economic global platform, the Indian IT industry has tried to overcome many problems w.r.t talent, manpower and infrastructure; however, to keep the growth steady, the various players in the IT sector have taken collective efforts to overcome these issues and excel. 

Times Ascent in conversation with Arun Nathani, CEO & MD Cybage:

1. How can the IT industry prepare itself to face the manpower challenges in 2011? 

The main challenge and one that is often overlooked is to nurture this talent in an optimized way and use it effectively for both organizational and individual growth. The industry will have to prepare itself by creating mature internal environments for optimized scaling up of these resources by way of resource management, training, knowledge management, and other allied functions. 

2. The war for talent is back in the IT industry. What can the industry do to make sure all get a fair share?

Ensuring that all get a fair share is not within the best interests of the industry as a whole. The industry should adopt certain common ethical policies such as reasonable notice periods, campus recruiting, etc. IT companies can also work closely with the education sector to produce better talent. This would make the overall pie larger and enable more new and upcoming talent.

3. How are IT organizations looking at managing the new generation workforce? 

The underlying basic needs of the workforce do not drastically change with each passing generation. IT organizations need to have a timeless model that will manage ‘changing’ workforce needs based on recurring as well as new developments in the human environment while utilizing evaluation systems which are fair and mature. Employee performance needs to be measured holistically after factoring in external influencers that may have had a favorable/unfavorable impact on performance. Adding this element brings in fairness to the appraisal process and also ensures that workplace diversity is retained; as only meritorious employees are rewarded without pre-supposition based on factors such as age, gender and background. Employment policies also need to be agnostic and encourage a mix of talent. Other initiatives, such as cultural sensitivity trainings and social events work towards cultural integration and creation of a united yet unique mix of workforce.

4. There is a slight disconnect w.r.t the current v/s expected skill set. How can IT employers bridge this gap? 

The IT industry needs to bridge this disconnect by laying the groundwork for the future by adopting the following two-pronged approach: Entry Level: Collaborate closely with educational institutes, to guide and assist for the transition of better prepared individuals who are going to be newcomers into the workforce. Middle & Senior Management: Develop a cohesive internal environment with mature and progressive human resource policies and processes especially focused on training, recruitment and performance management combined with sophisticated IT systems that will help nurture, retain and effectively apply qualified and quantified talent.

5. As IT companies are growing at an exponential rate; so are the team sizes. What would be the CEO's advice to managers w.r.t the management of such a spurt in team sizes wherein employees are shouldering responsibilities at an early stage?

Decisions need to be taken based on a combination of human elements (i.e. common sense and experience) and technology systems (i.e. processed data derived from sophisticated algorithms). So my advice to managers would be to leverage these decision support tools for effective decision making. Employees, particularly new talent should be encouraged to spend time and learn the tricks of the trade through trainings, mentoring, peer sessions and partnership with experienced resources in projects.