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IT Industry- 2017 (More Trouble or More Opportunities)

Just because TCS is in a state of influx on accounts of management tussle at Tata Sons and IT bellwether Infosys and Wipro leadership coming out with a cautionary tune along with their New Year Wishes, it doesn’t mean they are calling it a dooms day for Indian ITcos. Market Analyst have read the lips totally wrong and are un-necessarily picturing a negative outlook.

What the leadership has correctly stated is the fact that Industry is undergoing a paradigm shift and old regimens are unlikely to stand the test of time in near future. Along with this heresy they have acknowledged huge opportunities in areas related to automation, cloud, ai, analytics etc. I would like to add few more things viz – mobility, products, platform, synergies, agility and cross technology integration to this list. Future belongs to those who embrace the existence of disruptive technology and is able to respond at a rapid pace. Such a model will mean churn of those who do not upgrade their skill sets. In simple terms Principal or Champions of a particular technology would mean nothing when the technology itself doesn’t exists.

As Industry undergoes such a painful transition away from the realm of existing cost arbitrage model it will need to invest in leaders with a fresh outlook and not really bank on those existing in the current management who might be resistant to change unless they re-pledge their allegiance to company’s redefined vision. Future leaders will need to walk the talk with inhibited minds to create solutions and applications which will find suitors in the exterior world.

Bread and butter model of application support business has no place in changing dynamics and very soon automation has to step in this area to take away the control completely from a human hand. Just a supervisory presence would suffice lights on services in a managed service engagement.

Companies will soon have to offer application support as a complementary services or at best at a nominal license fees for the other piece of pie these service providers with sign up with their Clients.

Application support business yields mediocrity and sense of be-wilderness if left to a human consultant. It gives a false impression of the real talent pool company really have and mix and match of these consultants for more complex transition and transformation projects seldom succeeds. This generally results in bad appraisal with a drop in self esteem generally leading to employee turnover which is a single biggest inhibitor which prevents success for The underlying firm.

Service Industry like IT has no real assets other than realty of their state of art campuses. The biggest strength is the standard of their talent pool which immediately warrants that recruitment must be taken out of hands of those who have recruited mediocrity for over a decade now. Their is no room for sycophancy, nepotism, reservation and favoritism in recruitment. The best needs to be inducted. Only the best will stand the test of Industry demands to sustain. During the rapid growth phase of these industry this model was sustainable but in steady state/ sustain this model is a recipe for disaster.

One biggest metamorphosis IT/ITes Industry must demand of itself is to do a self evaluation. Many firms not necessarily only those which has been mentioned in the header paragraph have grown too fast too soon. This has resulted in a huge corpus of dead wood in the system. Individuals who have acquired larger than life status. Someone needs to do an analysis and see the value they are really bringing to the table TODAY.

Agree these individuals might have contributed significantly to bring the Company to its current state but the postmortem here is all about to shape the future state san the kid glove. This needs to be done very carefully as major sensitivity will be involved in implementing the remedial steps to change the course. Someone will have to take difficult decisions. Very painful decision but carefully each one has to begin with the connotation “In the interest of company to survive” and end with the connotation ” nothing personal – no offense meant”.

India has talents in bunches. Most of the talent is chasing low enough targets. Recruitment of such talents in a Tier B, C & D cities needs to be carried out by those who have visions for the Company & not someone who is searching for either his subordinates or to back fill a vacancy which got created due to a resignation. Salary structure of firms should change which awards merit and punishes mediocrity. All roles need not be Client billable. An R&D Factory which has a pipeline of apps, products, solutions and patents need to be set up. Flexibility of working hours and location must be encouraged. It is insane for a smart mind to burn 2 hours each day commuting in Bangalore/ Pune or any other Tier A Cities. IT services companies needs not pack the buses to their campus to increase their revenue – they need to pack their system with brains spread across the eco system each working on a mission. The mission to success. Indian IT companies should not negotiate billing rates to keep their bench strength low- they need to command billing rates where there is a bee line of customers to seek their state of art products and agile service.

Author is confident this model is possible and has several other recommendation for leadership. Each of which are simple and involve basic things which needs to be done with minimum pledge of cost.

Indian ITcos are blessed with top management who can stand up to the very best and have the vision and attitude to make it possible. There is no reason why these companies cannot break the Big4/Big5 cartel and re-define IT Services at an affordable cost. Failure to implement the change needed will relegate the Industry to the also-ran status which defy logic because India definitely had the early mover edge in this particular field which must be protected come what may.

Under duress comes change & change is often good. It just needs a bit of optimism to get started. One does not need a compass to walk North- as long as one starts the walk, Sun, Moon, Planets and Stars will also line up to ensure they stay on course.