KERALA

Getting the IT industry closer to talent pool

Siddhartha Bhattacharya says it requires an innovative approach to maintain growth.

Siddhartha Bhattacharya says it requires an innovative approach to maintain growth.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: S. Mahinsha



Mr. Bhattacharya says the development of satellite centres is to take advantage of the economic downturn



The development of satellite centres for the IT industry will accelerate the development of infrastructure and make it easier for investing companies to tap the uniformly distributed talent pool in the State, Siddhartha Bhattacharya, Chief Executive Officer, Infopark, Kochi, and Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram, shares his thoughts with

T. Nandakumar.

Mr. Bhattacharya said the accelerated rollout of the hub-and-spoke development model for the IT sector in Kerala was timed to take advantage of the economic downturn.

At a time when industry is trying to be more productive and cost-efficient, we are offering them an opportunity to manage multi-site operations and get closer to a prospective talent pool, he said.

Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi will continue to be growth hubs for the IT sector in the State, along with the emerging hub in Kozhikode. While efforts are on to strengthen the existing hubs, we have identified Kollam, Koratty, Ambalapuzha and Cherthala for the development of spokes, Mr. Bhattacharya said.

“Work on the satellite centre in Kollam is expected to take off in February. Once the growth hub in Kozhikode becomes operational, we will have spokes in different locations of Malabar,” he said.

Mr. Bhattacharya said the prohibitive cost and non-availability of land in major centres justified the decision to develop satellite centres.

“Unlike the natural distribution of talent, land is not available in a uniform manner. The spokes will be not more than 50 to 60 km from the hubs. In any case, people commute from these areas which have large talent pools. A company can manage two offices, one in the hub and another in the spoke, with a common workforce in crucial divisions like HR and finance.”

The spokes, he explained, would give a differentiated tiered advantage over hubs. The satellite centres could be used to base different kinds of business that were specific to the talent pool.

Explaining the timing of the decision to go in for the decentralised model of development, he said: “It is during a period of economic downturn that you develop infrastructure so that when the economy recovers, you are ready to take advantage of the situation.”

Mr. Bhattacharya said the IT sector in Kerala was at a turning point. “Out of the two million employees working in this sector all over India, only about 1.7 lakh work outside the large tier-1 metro cities. Out of this, 55,000 are based in Kerala, constituting 35 per cent of the market share. Nasscom has termed Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram as challenger cities that have the infrastructure, critical mass of talent, connectivity and the basic socio-economic environment to support knowledge-intensive industries like IT.”

“Besides, all these facilities come at a substantial cost advantage for the investor. The IT workforce in the State is expected to grow ten fold over the next decade because of the advantages and migration from tier-1 cities.”

Mr.Bhattacharya said the IT sector in Kerala had registered a 50 per cent average growth in export revenue over a three-year period, 2.5 times the national average.

“It requires an innovative approach to maintain this growth. To provide an overall attractive destination, we have to offer multiple locations, multiple offerings in each location and a lot of capabilities to go with it. We will also have to complete all the projects on the horizon in the next five to 10 years.”

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