I have been with Forbes India since August 2008. I like writing about ideas, events and people at the intersection of business, society and technology. Prior, I was with Economic Times. I am based in Bangalore. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
IT and manpower It's common knowledge that of the top four companies TCS and Cognizant are doing well, while Infosys and Wipro aren't. There's another connection - the degree to which they are concerned about managing a huge manpower. While TCS and Cognizant do speak about non-linear growth, Infosys and Wipro give an impression that they worry more about this issue than their better performing rivals. During a visit to Forbes India's Mumbai office last year, Infosys CEO Shibulal called the pace of recruitment unsustainable. In interviews to Mint and Times of India, Wipro CEO TK Kurien makes a similar point. Kurien was always a big fan of automation in services sector, and now as a CEO, he seems to be keen on taking the company in that direction. As you read the following extract, pay attention to his vocabulary:
"Ultimately there are only three stages that you go through in any process...The first question is: why can’t you automate the process completely and remove all humans from it? The second one is: even if you have human intervention, how can you minimize the human intervention to only decision-making roles? And the third is: where will you have people who have got hired where you need higher customer touch? Fundamentally, what we’re doing is moving more people in front of the customer, typically people we call value creators…
On the other end, what we’re doing is downsizing our factory significantly because we believe if you don’t have an efficient factory, you never will be competitive globally."
One can argue that since Wipro is not doing so well on the growth front, it's just a way of turning the attention towards margins. And that the language will change once the momentum comes back. May be so. But, in the long run, this is the way companies will have to think by default.
Immigrants and Silicon Valley
Here's an interesting paragraph from a Technology Review story on visa issues in the US
The imbalance between the value of immigrants and the visas available to them has prompted many efforts at talent arbitrage. In 2007, Microsoft opened a software development center in Vancouver, Canada, to stow workers it couldn’t yet bring to its Redmond headquarters. In San Francisco, there’s talk of a “floating Googleplex” that could house startups on a boat in international waters. This year, Canadian officials placed a billboard on Highway 101, the major artery between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, inviting entrepreneurs with immigration problems to “Pivot to Canada” and move their startups north.
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