IEEE & CSI talk on Rebooting Software Services

Last year, I had conducted a half-a-day workshop for NASSCOM on “Rebooting Software Services Industry” where I presented on why the threat of a premature death of the industry as written by mainstream media is real — this is the industry that has made India an export powerhouse — and what needs to be done to tackle the problem and grow. My friend Mr Sankaranarayanan followed it up with C6 Framework which is a tool for company’s embarking on the difficult task of change — something that the Indian IT Industry urgently needs to do.

Today, the industry is feeling a bit more confident — the headwinds of automation and policy uncertainty in the USA still exists, but there have also been some tailwinds that the industry leaders like Cognizant, TCS are seeing with their new “Digital” projects. To present the updated scenario, Computer Society of India & IEEE Computer Society of Madras Chapter invited me to do a talk today which I did.

Computer Society of India & IEEE Computer Society of Madras Chapter
Venkatarangan presenting to the members of CSI and IEEE Madras

Today software engineers are feeling they are left falling behind more than ever. There is a soup bowl of technologies every engineer is expected to be knowing — DevOps, CI/CD, Docker, Javascript, NoSQL, AI, and, etcetera. While there are thousands of Software engineers who are not able to get a job, the ones who are good are commanding premium salaries. According to a recent survey (17 April 2018) by Times of India done across 40 Indian companies including Amazon India, Ola, Flipkart for Software Engineers with 3–5 years experience the salary for a Data Scientist was ₹25–29 Lakhs/Annum which was a 25% hike from 2017, a Mobile Developer was getting ₹22–26 Lakhs/Annum which was a 14% hike from 2017 and a front-end developer was getting ₹18–22 Lakhs/Annum which was a 25% hike from 2017. To afford these salaries, companies have to ensure productivity and avoid wastage caused by bureaucracy — how can they do that?

“Type faster!” — Nat Friedman, Experienced Software Manager

There are no dearth of new opportunities arising due to increasing number of devices, emerging technologies like Hologram, AR, VR, IoT, and, growing amount of data collected and the intelligence that needs to be extracted from that. According to a survey by Gartner, the total, IT spending worldwide in 2020 is going to be $3752 Billion.

“I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.” — Nelson Jackson

To exploit this opportunity, companies have to start transforming themselves. It is not enough for IT Services firms to be just preaching Digital Transformation, they need to internalise it and practise it extensively.

Four steps for Digital Transformation

Companies need to look at acquiring and nurturing talent, their important asset, very differently. It is not going to be enough to train fresh engineers on say a programming language, a backend database and deploy them on projects. Gone are the days when Software firms had layers of management, sales, support who were removed far away from actual programming. Everyone in the company should be having at least basic programming knowledge and have an appreciation of the underlying technology that is being used — this will help them to empathize with customer problems and propose solutions accordingly.

10 IT Jobs-In-Demand in 2010 by ZDNet
Challenges in Hiring are more sociological than technology
“Everyone” should learn a programming language

To implement the changes that are needed to address this “new” environment, companies need a tool to do change management. That’s where C6 Framework that Sankar & myself have got helps. C6 Framework has six steps:

  1. To build a Coalition
  2. To develop an impressive Concept that can win hearts and minds
  3. To Communicate effectively across the organisation
  4. To have 100% Commitment from the top management
  5. To Celebrate even the small wins at regular interval
  6. To nurture a Culture that values change and not tradition

“The fundamental response to change is not logical, but emotional” — Tom DeMarco

With my fellow members of CSI Madras and IEEE Madras
Mr H R Mohan presenting a memento
The personalised cup that was kindly gifted by IEEE

Originally published at Venkatarangan’s blog.

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Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, CEO Coach & Microsoft Regional Director (Honorary) in Chennai, India

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Venkatarangan Thirumalai

Venkatarangan Thirumalai

Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, CEO Coach & Microsoft Regional Director (Honorary) in Chennai, India

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