Thursday, August 6, 2009

A rendezvous with the former NASSCOM chief!

A blend of factual comparisons coupled with witty one liners was the recipe for the day, as Dr. Ganesh Natarajan, ex-NASSCOM Chairman and current CEO, Zensar Technologies Ltd. took us through the advent of Information Technology trends in the past decade and the business models to be sought for the future. The session started with statistical information on the software sector in India- the US $60 billion industry with 23 lakh direct, 85 lakh support and 45% incremental employment year on year in the past decade. Heavily hit by the ongoing economic meltdown, Dr. Ganesh underlined the need for innovative technical and business skills to cope with the current market conditions. The phenomenal growth in the proportion of women in the IT workforce was also highlighted.

One of the critical factors discussed was that of the average working age of the population, which inarguably is a double edged sword. “India is reaping benefits out of a failed family planning policy”, he remarked. Though the numbers favor India, the challenge of employable resources remains a point of contention. Comparisons were drawn with US and Japan, the former with a major retiree population and the latter with falling average working age. On the contrary, the offshore IT base in India alone stands at 16 lakhs.

Possible erosion of core service lines viz. technology and business services were highlighted. With increase in automation of basic services such as testing and data entry by techniques such as optical character reading, such trends in the industry were imminent. The Information and Communication technologies (ICT) sector was touted to be a ray of hope that could transform the country by harnessing technological advancements to ensure inclusive growth. Areas including Healthcare, Financial services, Education and Public services could be potentially worked on for better results. In specific, the presentation illustrated that technology can provide primary health care at half its cost, enable access for 80% of unbanked Indian households, address 3-fold teacher shortage through remote solutions and also help overcome 40%-50% leakage in public food distribution, by ensuring transparency.

From a futuristic viewpoint, importance of new business models was emphasized. There would be significant opportunity outside today’s core markets with varying kinds and needs of customers. The 2020 demand in terms of customers would be attuned with factors like global delivery in place of the current offshore/onshore style and shift toward public sector companies against the predominantly private owned ones at present. A deployable talent pool, global people supply chain with globalized recruitment and talent practices would help the industry to move forward and gain competitive advantage.

The lighter moments on “Applied electricity by Ancestors” and “Indo-US political leader’s bridge story” along with all the enlightening statistics were an ideal dose of food for thought. Ms. Prameela Kalive, Global Head HR, Zensar Technologies Ltd. who was also present on the occasion offered practical advice on career choices. Recalling from her career growth, she added that it was better to be a ‘big fish in a small pond’ rather than being a ‘small fish in a big pond’.

Thanks to the management, students and Dr. Ganesh for all the time spent in sharing and learning together!

Contributed by Balaji MS, HR Varsity, Batch 4, CBS

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