Visweswara Rao, SVP & Chief HR Of­fi­cer at CSS Corp de­codes the ICT skills land­scape in an in­ter­view to Dataquest. Ex­cerpts:

Dataquest - - CONTENTS - —VISWESWARA RAO SVP & Chief HR Of­fi­cer at CSS Corp

If you look at the ICT skills land­scape, what ac­cord­ing to you are the two chal­lenges the in­dus­try is fac­ing now?

Ac­cord­ing to IDC Re­search, the ad­vent of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies in­clud­ing AI, In­ter­net of Things (IoT), ro­bot­ics, and AR will en­able the next wave of growth in the in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy (ICT) in­dus­try, widen­ing the over­all mar­ket op­por­tu­nity to $5.5 tril­lion by 2020.

How­ever, the short­age of skilled work­force is emerg­ing as a ma­jor chal­lenge to growth and fu­ture in the ICT sec­tor, es­pe­cially in In­dia. Emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies are prompt­ing busi­nesses to reimag­ine their busi­ness mod­els and en­gage­ment jour­neys. They are en­abling or­ga­ni­za­tions to achieve busi­ness out­comes much faster and nim­bler. Hence, the de­mand for com­pletely new sets of skills is un­prece­dented.

ICT in­dus­try is evolv­ing at an ex­po­nen­tial pace. In this con­text, it is ex­tremely im­por­tant for tech­nol­ogy lead­ers to fo­cus on fos­ter­ing a learn­ing cul­ture that would en­able em­ploy­ees to build skills on new age tech­nolo­gies that are con­tex­tual to ICT. The two big skills and peo­ple re­lated chal­lenges the ICT in­dus­try is fac­ing now is (a) lack of ex­per­tise in dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies and (b) lack of con­tex­tual ap­pli­ca­tion of dig­i­tal while solv­ing busi­ness prob­lems.

One of the ap­proaches to tackle this prob­lem is to en­cour­age and pro­mote part­ner­ships be­tween the in­dus­try and academia. Many com­pa­nies in ICT in­dus­try are col­lab­o­rat­ing with univer­si­ties, academia, and lo­cal gov­ern­ments to bridge these gaps and boost the in­no­va­tion quo­tient in new tech ar­eas.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions need to adopt a sys­tem­atic ap­proach to­wards as­sess­ing em­ployee skills on an on­go­ing ba­sis in emerg­ing ar­eas, iden­tify gaps and align them with rel­e­vant learn­ing mod­ules. This would en­sure skill-level gaps are ad­dressed reg­u­larly and also en­sures em­ploy­ees are fu­ture ready.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions should also adopt un­con­ven­tional hir­ing meth­ods like hackathons and break the code mod­els to at­tract niche skillsets from the mar­ket.

Niche skills like AI and an­a­lyt­ics are re­quired for all en­gi­neer­ing and tech­ni­cal stu­dents, as they are the foun­da­tional levers of all dig­i­tal en­gage­ments, and this is pos­si­ble only if univer­si­ties are con­stantly up­dat­ing their cur­ricu­lums to keep up with the pace of tech­nol­ogy changes. For e.g. skills like AI and data an­a­lyt­ics are sec­tor-ag­nos­tic and have been de­liv­er­ing trans­for­ma­tional ben­e­fits to com­pa­nies across all in­dus­tries.

The Dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion cou­pled with au­to­ma­tion has com­pletely changed the na­ture of tech skills re­quired for to­day’s ICT jobs – as an or­ga­ni­za­tion how are you cop­ing with sourc­ing the right skills?

Stay­ing com­pet­i­tive in ser­vices busi­ness re­quires con­tin­u­ously im­prov­ing skill sets and com­pe­ten­cies. To aug­ment our ef­forts to­wards en­hanc­ing our tech­nol­ogy com­pe­tency, we launched ‘Reimag­ine’, a dig­i­tal ca­reer pro­gres­sion frame­work to re­ori­ent our ser­vice lines and re-align the growth of our em­ploy­ees to meet the grow­ing busi­ness needs.

Our “Reimag­ine” Dig­i­tal Ca­reer Pro­gres­sion Frame­work has been specif­i­cally built to fast-track em­ployee reskilling ini­tia­tives within the or­ga­ni­za­tion. In 2017, we won the NASS­COM Award for hav­ing one of the best dig­i­tal reskilling plat­forms in the In­dian IT in­dus­try. The frame­work fa­cil­i­tates an in­no­va­tive ap­proach to em­ployee up-skilling and cross-skilling in dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. So far we have seen 9000+ course en­roll­ments in the last 12 months.

The Reimag­ine frame­work pro­motes a multi-dis­ci­plinary ap­proach to­wards ac­quir­ing new do­main and tech­nol­ogy skill sets. The frame­work in­cludes struc­tured learn­ing paths around AI, au­to­ma­tion, data sci­ence, ma­chine learn­ing and other top­ics in a log­i­cal pro­gres­sion. The Reimag­ine frame­work equips em­ploy­ees with an an­a­lyt­i­cal and prob­lem-solv­ing mind­set of cu­rios­ity, cre­ativ­ity, and crit­i­cal think­ing.

Some of the key as­pects of CSS Corp’s Reimag­ine Frame­work are: Dig­i­tal Re-pro­fil­ing: En­abling em­ployee at all lev­els of the pyra­mid - Dig­i­tal aware­ness, dig­i­tal ba­sics, dig­i­tal in­ter­me­di­ary & dig­i­tal ad­vanced De­moc­ra­ti­za­tion of In­no­va­tion: Labs with ac­cess to emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies like AI, an­a­lyt­ics, cloud, DevOps, IoT, and mo­bile

In­cu­ba­tion Hub: Pro­to­typ­ing and de­sign­ing cus­tomer en­gage­ment plat­forms/so­lu­tions e.g. CSS Corp’s AI Plat­form- Yo­daa Hyper-Per­son­al­iza­tion of Learn­ing Mod­ules: Any­time, any­where and any de­vice learn­ing through Vir­tual Univer­sity, MOOCs, and JAM Ad­di­tion­ally, CSS Corp also has an on­go­ing part­ner­ship with BITS Pi­lani on a pro­gram called ‘Earn As You Learn’ – a spe­cial­ized M. Tech work in­te­grated learn­ing pro­gram. A pro­gram that helps CSS Corp em­ploy­ees to ac­quire knowl­edge and skills re­quired for ex­celling in their ca­reers with the added ad­van­tage of gain­ing a top-notch M.Tech. De­gree in soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing from one of In­dia’s most pres­ti­gious univer­si­ties.

—VISWESWARA RAO SVP & Chief HR Of­fi­cer at CSS Corp

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