There’s no shortage of talent in India: Capgemini India CEO

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on July 03, 2014

ARUNA JAYANTHI, Chief Executive Officer, Capgemini India

For Capgemini, the French IT consulting firm, India is a major market globally and it will play an important role in everything Capgemini does.

In a testimony to this, the company’s India staff strength crossed 50,000 in April, making it the largest employee base in the world. The Paris-headquartered company employs a total of 1.34 lakh personnel across 44 countries.

The company is looking at further increasing India headcount to 50 per cent of the total global base by early 2016, which would result in the country becoming the hub in terms of delivery and innovation, says Capgemini India Chief Executive Officer Aruna Jayanthi.

In a tête-à-tête with Business Line, Jayanthi, who was ranked third in 2012 and 2103 as the most powerful women in Indian corporate world by Fortune, is of opinion that there is no shortage of talent in India. An elected member of the Nasscom Executive Council, she says that there is a need to direct the talent to the emerging needs. Edited excerpts:

On Capgemini India’s employee strength crossing the 50,000-mark. What does this mean and how much more do you intend to add?

Today, our India headcount is just about 40 per cent of the group. Our ambition is it should be 50 per cent of the group by early 2016. When you are 50 per cent or more, this becomes the hub in terms of delivery. I think a lot of the standard part – development work, application management, BPO and infrastructure management — will be completely done from India. We will also start to do new work and innovation. So, India will have a big role to play in everything that Capgemini does.

So, India is now becoming a bigger hub for Capgemini?

India is a very important market for us, and I think it has done quite well in the couple of years in terms of growth. We have had a good customer base, and even though our presence in not much in the public sector, in the private sector we got some really good clients.

Is attrition at Capgemini India a nagging issue? On the employee front, Capgemini also has a bottom-heavy pyramid structure?

No, it’s not a nagging issue as it is at the industry average. Actually, sometimes, some level of attrition is healthy as it helps you churn the team. I am not worried by where we are on attrition. We are way below the industry today in terms of a bottom-heavy pyramid. We are still not where we need to be.

With the emergence of other locales such as the Philippines and Vietnam, would cost arbitration be the saviour for India’s offshoring sector?

Today, cost arbitration is the hygiene factor, everybody can do it. All large companies have the same level of ability to do offshoring whether it is India, the Philippines or any other country. In an organisation, we cannot really depend on cost arbitrage as a marketing pitch. For a company to truly compete, it has to go far beyond cost-arbitration and focus on business values that would be delivered to a customer.

Is India positioned to execute on technologies such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud?

I don’t think we are ahead of the curve, I think we are well positioned to execute. The major market is still the traditional legacy work, which is slowly changing. For some companies it would be 10 per cent, for some 20 per cent and some others 5 per cent. So the market is shifting, more business will come from the cloud but today they would be nowhere near maturity.

On the general industry opinion of shortage of employable talent in the country?

I don’t think there is a shortage of talent in the country. However, we have to direct the talent to the emerging needs. I think basic talent exists, it is just that we have to reshape a little bit of our skill developments and training to get that right. To groom them in the right direction, may be in another six months or maybe we have to work with engineering colleges and institutes to develop that piece of it.

You are also on Capgemini’s Sweden country board as chairperson. What is the role and what are the benefits for Indian operations?

On the Swedish board, I have to see how Capgemini grows in the Swedish market. Also, the second angle I see is how to can push more work to India. The goal is to see how we can work or partner with companies in the region and push work to India as Europe is emerging as an outsourcing market.

Published on July 03, 2014

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