Next Generation IT Talent

Ramesh NagarajanGuru Bharadwaj
This is a guest blog post by Ramesh Nagarajan, CIO for Global IT Services Business at Wipro, and Guru Bharadwaj, a distinguished strategy advisor at Microsoft.
Information Technology universally, and specifically in Asia Pacific, is going through a marketplace shift. These broad dimensions are:
  • Talent shift / paradigm
  • Cultural / behavioral aspects
  • Increasing mobility / social
  • Engagement and retention
The market is driving two predominant sets of talents, one of which is technology-focused, and the other is technology savvy, business-focused. The first group focuses on being deeply technical in terms of computation heuristics, methods and models. The second group focuses on applying technology developments to address fundamental problems / needs of the marketplace. Traditionally, IT talent would fit the mold of core technologists. However, with emerging market trends and with ubiquitous technology, the relevance of business-savvy technologist is much more pronounced now and in the coming decade.
In Asia Pacific and specifically India, the universities are producing more of the technical-savvy people aligned to serve the current market demand of being the global technology back office. However, technology companies, such as Wipro, would need significant number of both core technologists and business technologists to sustain the growth, as well as differentiation, in the global marketplace. Wipro is strongly aligned with the universities in not only generating the next generation IT talent but also the next generation workforce.
Though saving money and gaining efficiencies remain important goals, we at Wipro are consistently look for ways to drive innovation, grow the business, and support changing user expectations as new employees enter the workforce. In the technology industry four “megatrends” are evident. The proliferation of new connected devices is making us more mobile. We also expect technology to help us develop more social connections. The cloud provides boundless potential for scalable, always-on services. And the exponential growth in information is generating a need to get better insights from Big Data.
Aligned to these trends, enterprises need to nurture new skills as below:

Mobile

  • Security Architects who identifies how to protect and safeguard the enterprise with the proliferation of assets
  • Data / Information architects who define information classification and governance models

Social

  • Business Architects who identify social models to improve productivity and engagement.
  • Enterprise / Integration architects who integrate social solutions with enterprise assets to truly unlock value.

Cloud

Big Data

  • Data Architects who model data, create and publish data services.
  • Tech savvy business users who consume data services and use self-service BI capabilities to drive valuable insights
Next generation IT talent increasingly view the organization—and the world—without boundaries. These energetic, collaborative, risk-taking young people are tech-savvy and used to staying connected 24/7 via mobile phones and other communication technologies. Younger workers object to not being able to work where and when they want to, as long as they can get the job done. They like to shift across functional areas, roles, multiple cultures and economies. Their focus is on interest and opportunity, not necessarily monetary rewards. The next generation IT talent have a mind-set, aspirations, and expectations markedly different than those of all previous generations. Flexibility and job mobility are key.
Corporate responsibility is also a critical consideration for this generation when looking and working with employers. This high-impact group will also have demands, tipping the traditional balance between employer and employee power and leverage. The best and brightest are likely to be pursued with great competitive zeal. Employers will need to find ways to build continuity, retention, and long-term engagement with these workers. For some of us, the future workforce is already with us and companies must decide now how they will recruit, manage, and develop these people, or face losing the war for talent and competitive edge in the coming 10 years.
The other significant aspect of IT talent now and for the future is the fundamentals around ‘engagement and retention’. For both employees and employers to realize full potential, it is immensely critical for us to create a transparent charter on the potential, roadmap and eventual realization of opportunities. With a highly mobile workforce, the opportunity to create and realize a framework that optimizes productivity at the same time provides flexibility for the next-generation workforce responsibly is compelling for engagement and retention.
The Kelly Global Workforce Index [November 2012] reported that 77% of people are connected to work outside typical workday, 35-40% attribute ‘self’ as the main reason to be connected and 62% in APAC (53% in all countries) attribute technology as the key driver for improved work efficiency. Along the lines of this report, Wipro is working with Microsoft’s Enterprise Strategy Program to define the next-generation workplace model through which we will untether our employees from their workplace, in order to improve productivity and optimize workforce management.
So far, we have collectively identified technology models and are working with our business teams to optimize employee and organization productivity for deeper value. Wipro, as a services company, would be looking to take such innovative solutions along with Microsoft jointly to the marketplace.
Overall, our philosophy on ‘Next generation IT talent’ is simple:
  1. Partner with academia to nurture the blend of core technologists and business technologists
  2. Embrace the next generation IT talent. Adopt approaches to integrate diversity with existing workforce
  3. Leverage technology for optimal engagement and retention
  4. Balance adoption against enterprise priorities for greatest value