‘Digital’ has become a buzzword in most sectors today, whether it is IT/ITeS or the conventional sectors as manufacturing. As more companies take the digital route to success, traditional jobs will continue to evolve to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
TimesJobs spoke to Arun Nathani, CEO, Cybage about the IT sector, the technical skills that will be in demand and most importantly about the digital transformation of businesses. Here’s the detailed interview:
What’s your perception of the IT hiring trends that were prevalent in 2018?
Arun Nathani: The Indian IT sector and its recruitment trends are mostly influenced by the trends in the global market. Most importantly, the notion that only IT professionals trained in new-age digital tools and technologies such as Machine Learning, AI, automation, etc. will be in demand is not true. Trained professionals in conventional IT skills such as coding, algorithms, IT security, etc. are still in demand and continue to be the major constituents across enterprise workforces. Cybage, for instance, is offering comprehensive new-age solutions, but the teams are still predominantly conventionally-skilled. I believe that the way forward is upskilling to survive the digital reality of today and staying on top of changing technologies.
Digital technology is becoming the backbone of all industries. How are the conventional sectors picking pace in this transformation?
Arun Nathani: Specifically pertaining to the Indian IT industry, we can say that it is transforming at a steady pace because of the demand coming from international markets.
For other conventional industries, it can be said that they are still slowly warming up to new technologies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The adoption of technology currently is peripheral, and more process oriented rather than focused on bringing fundamental transformation to the way an enterprise works and its vision. Additionally, India being a labour intensive market, the human element in the workforce will always be high.
While people are realising that data is the new oil, it is yet to see large scale adoption by companies in the decision-making process. Additionally, the high initial cost of comprehensive digital transformation makes the smaller enterprises apprehensive about the ROI factor, thereby acting as a hindrance in the digitisation process.
How are Indian companies faring in comparison with their global counterparts when it comes to digital transformation?
Arun Nathani: The Indian economy is in a comparatively better situation now. Therefore, there is not enough of an aggressive triggering of emotions to promote mass adoption of technology. A steady demand coming from international markets, the incredible potential of the Indian consumer market and an influx of foreign companies with superior technology has made Indian IT enterprises service oriented rather than product oriented. We are exceptionally good at what we are doing right now, however the current ecosystem is not conducive for direct competition at a product or innovation level. Indian enterprises are thriving in the service and execution domain and large tier organisations have perfected their business model, encouraging other enterprises to follow their lead.
Tell us three things that a business must consider before considering digital transition?
Arun Nathani: 1. Top-level executives should believe in the power of digital and data. An enterprise’s digital transformation journey begins in the minds of its top executives and trickles down to the entire organisational structure.
- The organisation should have the courage to think long-term as the impact of digital transformation is visible over a longer period. Enterprises should not be impatient and seek immediate results which can be counter-productive.
- A smart approach should be adopted with data and the results derived from it. While the importance of experience and human intuition should not be ignored completely, Executives should give attention to the accuracy and the historical nature of the data and learn to utilise both to arrive at an optimal decision.
What are the key challenges that a company can face during digital transition? How best can these be mastered?
Arun Nathani: Enterprises should not adopt a herd mentality when it comes to integrating digital solutions. Rather, they should have a tailor-made blueprint that clearly lists the areas which require digital intervention according to their goals, what results the organisation seeks to achieve and in how much time.
Secondly, idea innovation and workflow innovation should go together. What you do and how you do it are equally important. Digital transformation cannot be peripheral, it should permeate to the smallest unit of an enterprise.
What is the biggest differentiator in a company's digital transition journey?
Arun Nathani: Identification of the industry’s epicenter is important. For instance, a B2B IT enterprise can have 3,600 employees and only 200 clients, since it is the employees who will obtain, analyze and infer from the most important currency of the industry i.e. data. On the other hand, a retail enterprise will look to consumers for data generation, requiring only the summarised result to take effective decisions. Thus, enterprises need to identify their orientation first and then equip the primary department with specific digital tools that augment their levels of efficiency. Digitising workflow and workforce simultaneously is the key behind making a successful digital transition journey.