With focus definitely shifting from headcount-based approach to guaranteed service delivery concept in the wake of happenings on the global economic front, Indian information technology (IT) companies face three major near-term challenges, according to Murali Gopalan, Chief Information Officer of U.S.-headquartered UST Global.
In an interaction with this correspondent, Mr. Gopalan said the immediate challenge was to discover the ways to replicate the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) experience at the account-management level. “How can we do this?” That is the key question now. This was easier said than done, he felt. “More I empower the organisation, the more I put the company in risk,” he said. This contradiction, however, needed to be addressed and managed to expedite the decision-making process in a dynamic environment, which required quicker solution to a client problem.
The second challenge related to the changing type of work requirements, especially in a “cloud environment”. He felt that “cloud adoption” was happening at a faster pace in the U.S. In India, however, embracing cloud was having its own share of problems due to the not-so-reliable network. But moving to the cloud posed a new set of security and other worries to the companies. “The number of programmers required by a company may stand reduced if it moves to the cloud. But it may have to hire more integrators to facilitate cloud adoption,” he said. Consequently, an IT professional should be in a position to quickly learn, apply and adapt to a new environment.
The shift towards cloud-adoption, he said, had also seen companies let go the so-called “proprietary” services since some of these had now become commoditised. “Anything which does not give competitive advantage…Companies now are ready to let the client buy it from the market,” he said. “As a result, we need different kinds of people as opposed to programmers,” he pointed out. “The cloud may look white and puffy. However, it is dark and dirty for me because many factors related to cost, security, licences, portability, performance related to accountability and the like require companies to be very careful with cloud,” he added.
With mobile devices of assorted sort virtually flooding the marketplace “businesses are preparing to be present in these devices and be relevant to consumers,” he said. From a mobility perspective, clients were now demanding innovation from IT companies, he pointed out.
Far from playing a reactionary role, the IT companies were now increasingly left to take proactive role. They were now looked upon as “idea partners” and not merely as service deliverers, he said.