Indian IT industry will have to move from ‘scale’ to ‘skills’, says new Nasscom chairman Raman Roy
India, to a large extent, owes its stature as a leading business process outsourcing country to Raman Roy, the new chairman of National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).
NEW DELHI: India, to a large extent, owes its stature as a leading business process outsourcing country to Raman Roy, the new chairman of National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom). Speaking to Express on the first day in his new assignment, Roy, who is also chairman and managing director of Quatrro – a global BPO and consultancy firm – said, “It is a challenging post in a challenging time.”
His biggest challenge is to lead Indian software firms through the sluggish global economy amid issues such as visa regulations and safety of women employees. “The business of our members’ customers is not as robust as it used to be, due to the sluggish global economy, which is a leading to challenges on their budget,” said Roy.
Brexit and H1B visa are a smaller component of the larger global challenge faced by Indian IT firms, he said. But, Roy sees a silver lining in the gloomy global economy. And, companies globally — automobile, telecom, engineering and others – are forming a bigger part of the pie. “Take Uber as an example. Is it an IT company or a travel company? Fintech has emerged as a term, since finance is also technology,” Roy noted.
Nasscom is in the process of estimating, assessing and understanding this change. Roy points out that the per-head revenue the IT industry in India makes today is higher than earlier, because of the content the individuals deal with is undergoing a change.
“You asked me to gaze crystal ball and see how this industry will look like in the next five years. I can say, it will have to move from ‘scale to skills’,” said Roy.
He explains that during Y2K, it was scale, low-end programming with payment on the number of hours of work; now, it is the high-end work like automation, artificial intelligence, robotics and digitisation for IT firms. “This is the path the sector will have to take and Nasscom will support it, since Indian IT firms will play a critical role. We are a $150-billion industry. It is a big ship and we understand the challenges.”
Roy advocates more academia-industry collaboration and says Nasscom will continue to play more critical role. “The academia has to undergo a change in course not just content but also the mindset. It is a 2-5 year programme and Nasscom will play a big role in training the trainer.”
Commenting on the impact of the goods and services tax on IT, Roy was candid, “We do not know yet. The draft rules have just come out and we are studying it. Nasscom will work with the government to bring out the challenges and solutions and find a way that is win-win for both… But, changes will be needed.”
On the Karnataka government disallowing women to work at late night shifts in IT industry, Roy said the approach is not correct. “Real solutions have to be found for our lady colleagues to work without fear or restriction. The benefits of their financial independence are huge on society and economy,” he said.
According to Roy, Nasscom is aware of the challenges in terms of fulfillment of safety measures for women in IT industry. He highlighted it is not specific for any city. “At Nasscom, we believe there has to be brain power and a will to implement the solutions for safety of women in the IT industry,” he said.