Embracing the Disruption – Manipal Global Launches Collaborative Industry Whitepaper
By Arijit Banerjee
Manipal Global has launched a collaboratipve industry whitepaper that has been developed together with leading IT, ITeS, and ER&D companies to address the skilling problems of the Indian IT-BPM industry.
The goal of this whitepaper, titled “Embracing the Disruption: Challenges and Opportunities for Talent Management in the Indian IT Industry”, is to enable the industry to address these talent requirements. Senior leaders from Dell EMC, Fractal Analytics, Gramener, IBM, Infosys BPO, QuEST Global, and Vodafone came together with Manipal Global to develop the whitepaper, as part of an initiative by NxtGen Leadership – Manipal Global’s exclusive thought leadership platform for senior leaders across industries.
The Indian tech industry is in need of urgent transformation – new technologies are causing unprecedented disruptions, margins are under significant pressure, and employability continues to be a concern. The industry is now facing its toughest skilling challenge ever, requiring a unique industry-government-academia collaboration that can transform the talent supply chain to meet the requirements of the industry.
Ms. Vanitha Narayanan, Chairman – IBM India, inaugurated the paper at the launch event at The Ritz-Carlton, Bengaluru, and also delivered the keynote address. Present at the event were Dr. Ranjan Pai, Chairman – Manipal Education and Medical Group, the whitepaper authors, and other heads of HR, business, and technology from leading companies such as Cognizant Technologies, Infosys, Philips, Samsung R&D Institute India, and several more. Academic visionaries from the Xavier Board and IIM-Bangalore also participated in the launch event.
Talking about the genesis of the paper, Mr. A. P. Ramabhadran, CEO – Manipal Professional Learning, spoke of the need for urgent transformation in the industry and the rigorous research that went behind the whitepaper. Senior leaders from 37 leading IT and Analytics were interviewed for insights and 54 leaders were surveyed through a questionnaire. The survey generated more than 500 data points that were analysed and published in the whitepaper.
Mr. A. P. Ramabhadran, CEO – Manipal Professional Learning, delivering the introductory speech
Mr Vaitheeswaran S., MD and CEO – Manipal Global Education, delivered the inaugural address and shared his views on the critical role of education in creating future leaders and pointed out how those in the education space have a task in hand to constantly evolve the curriculum to deliver to the fast-changing world. In his note, he shared the story of the Indian Banking industry and how MaGE has evolved as the largest training partner for many of these banks.
Mr. Vaitheeswaran S. delivering the inaugural speech
The team of NxtGen whitepaper authors then took on the stage to share their views on the changing times in VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainity, Complexity and Ambiguity) world and how companies should re-align their hiring metrics to find better talents. Ms. Anshu Sharma, Sr. Vice-President and Head of Technology Infrastructure, Vodafone India, pointed out the constant revenue and margin pressure that organisations across industries are reeling under and how they need to retrospect on the entire talent hiring and nurturing process to be on the top of the game. Further in her note, Anshu lauded Manipal’s efforts in building talents for the future and said, “I’m so delighted to be a part of this initiative that Manipal is taking forward and making strides in.”
“I’m so delighted to be a part of this initiative that Manipal is already taking forward and making strides.”
- Anshu Sharma, Sr. Vice-president and Head of Technology Infrastructure, Vodafone India
Ms. Anshu Sharma sharing her views on the current scenario of the Indian IT industry
Taking the discussion forward, Ms. Veda Srinivasan, Director – Talent and Culture, Centre of Excellence, Dell India, referred to a UN demographic to point at India’s huge youth population (largest in the world) and said that the journey of converting this population to human resource lies in the capability to skill them. She focused on the importance of reskilling in meta-cognitive competencies and also emphasised on the importance of teaching ‘how to learn’, which will keep the talent pool right on top of the evolving technology and run businesses more profitably.
“The biggest challenge is to convert the population to human resource.”
- Veda Srinivasan, Director – Talent and Culture Centre of Excellence, Dell India
Ms. Veda Srinivasan talking about the talent challenges at the entry- and mid-levels in organizations
Re-establishing the former speakers’ claim on reskilling, Mr. Sameer Dhanrajani, Chief Strategy Officer, Fractal Analytics, spoke about the ‘dichotomy’ in the evolution of the talent landscape in the IT industry. He referred to a McKinsey study that claimed the displacement of five million jobs by Artificial Intelligence and on the flip side there are about six million unfulfilled jobs in Cyber Security. Based on these numbers, he talked about the massive evolution of skill sets and competencies that will be required in the IT industry. On a concluding note, he said, “The ability to learn continuously is the most crucial piece for all of us and is the most leveragable asset the for the IT industry.”
“The ability to learn continuously is the most crucial piece for all of us and is the most leveragable asset the for the IT industry.”
- Sameer Dhanrajani, Chief Strategy Officer, Fractal Analytics
Mr. Sameer Dhanrajani sharing his thoughts on the evolution of skills in the IT industry
Summing up the NxtGen team’s address at the launch, Mr. S. Anantharaman, Director and Head – Resource and Capacity Management, IBM Global Services India, put impetus on the need for hiring multi-skilled people to streamline organisational costs and performance. He put forward his expectations of a more collaborative environment created by the government, academia and industry to create a sustainable learning environment. He said, “We have seen historically that IT industry has done a lot in terms of hiring and skilling that the government and academia should also do.” In his narrative of the talent-hiring process, Mr. Anantharaman stressed on the importance of uplifting the fresher supply chain and incorporating hands-on learning through long term interships. He explained how other professionals such as doctors, charter accountants and lawyers come into the industry with intensive training unlike what happens in IT, where organisations have to constantly invest in re-skilling their employees.
“We have seen that historically the IT industry has done a lot in terms of hiring and skilling that the government and academia should also do.”
- Anantharaman, Director and Head – Resource and Capacity Management, IBM Global Services
S Anantharaman speaking about the way forward for India’s largest HR challenge
Ms. Vanitha Narayanan, Chairman – IBM India, and Dr. Ranjan Pai launching the NxtGen whitepaper
Ms. Vanitha Narayanan congratulated the NxtGen team on their effort in developing the whitepaper and then delivered her thoughts on the ecosystem. Talking about the evolution of the IT industry and the disruptions that are taking place, she said that the IT industry has been disrupted multiple times and will continue getting disrupted at a faster pace than it did in the past. Citing her own example of a 30-year long stint with IBM, she mentioned that the current generation will not have a similar mind-set, as they will be more open to new experiences. She also added that in the past getting a college degree was a license to a long career, which is no longer true as professionals need to keep on inculcating skills to ride on the fast changing tech-waves.
On Technology leading to a fairer world
While fast changing technology is often considered responsible for in cutting down jobs and making organisations re-structure their functions, it actually purges ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious’ biases in the system and leads to a fairer world. Talking about a better business ecosystem, Ms. Narayanan spoke on the importance of time-to-productivity in today’s world and lauded Manipal’s efforts in enabling IBM in improving that.
Ms. Vanitha Narayanan, Chairman – IBM India, delivering the keynote address
On the fusion of art and science
Ms Vanitha stressed on the importance of employees having a liberal arts mind-set because it is not just about technical skills but also about effective communication, psychology, context and a set of parameters that take businesses forward. On this context she said, “Some degree of a liberal art mind-set combined with deep technical skills is necessary.” She vouched for her optimism for the changing world, where hiring managers would go beyond their hard-wired mentality of focusing solely on coding and IT skills while hiring and also look at other crucial soft-skills that help in putting context to a technical discussion and growing businesses.
“Some degree of a liberal arts mind-set combined with deep technical skills is necessary.”
- Vanitha Narayanan, Chairman, IBM India
On a forward looking note
The NxtGen Leadership Participants
On a forward looking note, Mr. Ramabhadran contemplated on Manipal’s journey thus far and the vision that they have in taking the ship ahead to ferry people to a better and advanced world. He spoke about how Manipal came ahead of time in delivering the cutting-edge education in collaboration with industries and creating a matured workforce to take businesses and the world ahead. He concluded with the announcement of integrating all of Manipal’s multiple forays in the field of education under one brand – the new Manipal ProLearn.