India may have a lot of engineers, but the skill set is not necessarily the right one. The point is that this represents an opportunity for companies like us — Manu Parpia, CEO and MD, Geometric.

Geometric has broken its clientele into five verticals and they will have separate profit and loss accounts from April 1. The idea is to given them flexibility and ownership, and freedom to make their own decisions, said Geometric Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Manu Parpia. The software services firm is focusing on its existing clients, instead of tapping new ones, while attrition remains a concern.

Excerpts:

On the emerging trends in the IT industry, and especially in the verticals Geometric is present?

For the IT industry as a whole, it is something more mundane in the sense that customers are asking for more end-to-end responsibility. I say that the ability to think through a customer’s problem is far more important than the ability to simply execute it. I think the Indian IT industry has shown that execution prowess. Now, it’s clear that we have to do much more.

In our field, I see 3D printing, like custom designing, significantly changing manufacturing in the next 10-15 years, especially for small articles such as crockery and accessories for automobiles.

How are engineering and PLM services shaping up?

I see there is some strategic shift that has happened. On one side, the demand is growing and supply is shrinking, and this could also lead to disruptions. This also creates opportunities for companies.

The demand is increasing as the need for digitisation across the board is increasing, need for collaboration (sub-contracting by original equipment manufacturers) across chains is also increasing. If you look at Japan and Germany, the demographics are such, the supply is shrinking, so there is a lot of opportunities.

But isn’t that an opportunity, rather than a challenge?

Right now, it is not an issue, but going forward, it would become an issue. Engineers would be in short supply everywhere. India may have a lot of engineers, but the skill set is not necessarily the right one. The point is that this represents an opportunity for companies like us.

How are you looking at these kinds of opportunities?

We have decided to tap these opportunities by focusing on our customers, instead of working hard to acquire more clients. We have a target list of additional customers, but they are very few – 10-15. We have 35 existing customers, many of them $1-million customers, which will give us our growth for the next year of so.

Secondly, we have also broken them into five verticals — industrial, automotive, aerospace, CAX (Geometric next generation products) and Growth Accounts and Partnerships (more delivery focused). From April 1, each of these verticals will have their own profit and loss accounts. The idea is to given them flexibility and ownership, and freedom to make their own decisions.

Are you also looking at inorganic growth?

We want to acquire some skill set in two areas; one of them is in the aerospace arena. We believe we should look at small acquisitions, if we can, in India for technical expertise. We are also looking for small acquisitions in Europe to support our strategy of growth.

On attrition at Geometric?

Yes, in my view the attrition in Geometric, which at 16 per cent (industry attrition at 13 per cent), is very high. We are on the right track, and we are looking at bringing it down.

rajesh.kurup@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 14, 2013)
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