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'Recruiting people with industry background, B-schools to gain momentum'

Q&A with CEO, Capgemini India

Bibhu Ranjan Mishra  |  Bangalore 

Capgemini, the French IT services and consulting company which employs around 47,000 people in India is bringing its global best practices to the domestic market, especially at a time when the chorus around new technology areas like cloud, mobility, social and big data is getting momentum. Aruna Jayanthi, CEO of Capgemini India in an interview with Bibhu Ranjan Mishra and Aditi Divekar talks about the company’s focus areas and the skills that the industry would require to help clients adopt some of these new technologies. Edited excerpts …

Are you seeing momentum in Indian corporates to adopt newer technologies like social, mobility, analytics and cloud services?

It’s quite positive. In fact, it’s not just today, but during the past two years, we saw that some of the Indian have really adopted technologies that were almost in a pilot stage being first time adopter of those technologies. So in a way, there are examples how Indian are equal or even ahead of their global counterparts in the adoption of new technologies. However, those numbers are few. One of the best implementation we did in the business intelligence and analytics space is for an Indian company.

How equipped are the Indian IT workforce to manage delivery of some of these emerging technologies?

First of all, technical skills are of course in demand, but the nature of technical skill is changing. Now, you need specialists, say for example, in areas like mobile technologies, big data and analytics and in cloud services. But for me, business skill is more important than the technology skills. Technology is the enabler, but we also require people with deep understanding of the businesses of the customers, and that is becoming quite critical.

Why is it becoming critical?

I believe you can’t do digital transformation in isolation because it’s not a technology problem. Because eventually, the core objective is to change client’s business using technology. So you can’t just go and implement digital technology or a solution; there has to be an underline change in the business process. Therefore, that understanding added with the technical skills is a killer combination.

Does it mean that it will reflect in the hiring also? What is Capgemini doing to equip the employees with newer skills?

At one level, we are recruiting from another category of people – the people with industry background and those who are coming from business schools. It’s because they have quite a strong understanding of how the organisations function. Everybody does that but now that’s becoming an increasing need. But that will always be a small percentage of your total staff. We are also looking at imparting four levels of industry training programme to every technical person including even software programmers. The base level training would be what are the different terms and understanding the basic model of the business and so on. We have already done that for a few sectors but that is an area where we are going to focus on, increasingly.

Will this impact large scale hiring?

Mass hiring will still happen, but all I am saying is you need to equip them not with just technology but a certain different skills. I think every technical guy also needs to understand the business side of it. In our business, the mass will still come from technical schools and that hiring will continue to happen.

What is your view of Nasscom’s exports growth guidance of 13-15%?

I think it is a good and practical guidance. There is natural momentum in demand which is already there in the market. Some of the new areas like digital transformations are also driving fresh project investments.

How equipped are Indian IT services to deliver the new technologies?

People tend to view the industry most from cost arbitrage point of view but I don’t think that is true even for Indian players. I think a lot of them (Indian players) a do a very high value work. The capabilities certainly exist in the industry to do these kinds of works.

First Published: Wed, February 12 2014. 19:14 IST