When Hitachi, the Japanese industrial, electronic and construction conglomerate, acquired GlobalLogic, a Silicon Valley-based digital engineering services company for $9.6 billion last year, Hitachi's CEO Toshiaki Higashihara said the deal will strengthen the Tokyo-based behemoth's digital operations in a wide range of businesses and "...elevate QoL, or quality of life, for people through contributions to realise a sustainable society."
businessline caught up Sumit Sood, Group Vice President and Head of APAC, GlobalLogic, for a status update on how both the companies have progressed on their vision and what lies ahead.
Excerpts from the interview:
How has the journey been post acquisition by Hitachi? Have the expected synergies started accruing?
It has truly been an incredible journey for GlobalLogic. I am very proud to say that today, our run rate is almost over $1.5 billion, and in fact, last year, our growth was close to 38 per cent. So, in the past 18 months since the acquisition or 14 months since it actually culminated, it is evident that the overall growth has been absolutely phenomenal.
Through this acquisition, GlobalLogic has enhanced Hitachi Group’s ability to deliver on its strategy to promote social innovation business through digital technology to solve the issues faced by customers and society.
Hitachi is a $85 billion conglomerate, not a company, with a legacy of around 110 years now, and they work with industries that power our lives. I was very impressed with Hitachi’s vision, which is far more detailed and granular in the future of the entire industry.
For Hitachi, it was imperative to be agile and nimble to create an ecosystem around themselves that will leverage their portfolio of innovative technology offerings and provide holistic services across numerous industries.
Therefore, they believed that GlobalLogic should function as an independent company. What also fascinated them was our culture, and hence, they used it as a seed and first implemented it outside Japan, and eventually, in Japan. Moreover, they wanted GlobalLogic to be taken to the client so that they can transform their business.
The acquisition has opened a new vista of opportunities for us, and the synergies are building up for an exhilarating future. We are leveraging a larger playing ground for Hitachi through a combination of its information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) expertise and offerings, with our robust digital product engineering capabilities and services to accelerate digital transformation and development.
India continues to be the main hub for you with a majority of your employees stationed here. How tough was it managing this workforce during the pandemic?
Earlier in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, we began invoking our business continuity plan (BCP) response and initial transition of employees to work-from-home (WFH) across key geographies including India, North America and Europe. Transitions were also initiated across India (over a week ahead of the announced national lockdown in 2020).
Within one week, 100 per cent of GlobalLogic’s workforce shifted to a virtual form of working, from home or remote locations. For us, WFH wasn’t a new concept as the ‘future of work’ we had envisioned was introduced as earlier as 2019.
Flexibility is part of our DNA and we have always focused on “what” our talent does, irrespective of location. Covid proved exactly what we have believed in and have been doing, which is delivering performance — every time, anywhere.
Are you looking to step up your recruitment?
We primarily operate across five verticals — communications and media, automotive, finance and commerce, healthcare, and technology, which are both vertical and horizontal for us. But as we continue to grow with Hitachi, we are expanding our business portfolio and venturing into sectors such as energy, railway, and manufacturing, which will help Hitachi to transform themselves and their clients.
Hitachi has a very strong presence around the world, which helps us tap certain geographies and accelerate significantly, right across verticals, markets, as well as microservices. Moreover, GlobalLogic’s vision is to be a $5 billion company by 2030 and we are on the right track and mindset to achieve our goals.
Keeping this in mind and thinking from the talent footprint perspective, we have been continuously working to expand our employee base. What’s fascinating is that two years ago, globally we just had 13,000 employees. But now, we have over 28,000 employees, and in India, we are more than 14,000. Now, with our vision and expansion trajectory, I believe that we are looking at hiring upwards of 1,000 people a month.
Since you have positioned yourself in cutting-edge science and technology, how do you upskill/reskill your employees?
We believe in a learning culture where the entire organisation is empowered to grow and evolve. Our people are our key assets, and we invest in their development with a focus on roles that are horizontal and vertical. We foster a culture of inclusive growth and succession planning to nurture, upskill our talent, and make them future-ready.
Through numerous learning interventions such as Percipio, Learn Upon, Udemy and Globesmart, our people continually elevate themselves by upskilling new success stories.
At GlobalLogic, we have ‘13 state-of-the-art digital academies’ namely Data Skills Academy, DevOps Academy, Architect Academy, Digital Academy, Design Academy, Blockchain Academy, Insurance Academy, GCP Academy, Insurance Academy, Global Leadership Academy, Business Solutions and Consulting Academy, Communication and Culture Academy and Program Management Academy.
These academies provide experiential learning to our employees through real-world engagements. As the industry landscape and dynamics continue to evolve, it is imperative to re-evaluate professional progress from a fresh perspective. We aim to scale 5X to increase business growth and workforce resilience by cultivating the next generation of digital talent.
For us, skills are the new currency, and we are committed to creating an agile learning environment that centres around our employees’ capabilities and experience.
Where does India stand in the product engineering space vis-à-vis other countries?
According to Nasscom’s and Deloitte’s study, India is amongst the top destinations for outsourcing product engineering services. Nearly 40 per cent of the companies globally prioritise building a technology ecosystem and improving performance by digitalising the end-to-end product development lifecycle.
The ER&D industry is facing a transformational phase. With scalable advantages available with cloud engineering, there is a large potential for India to emerge as the hub for digital solutions across the ER&D space with advanced technologies like AI, IoT, 5G and Edge, and collaborations with industry leaders to shape the digital future.
India can associate itself with an ambitious agenda of becoming a global leader in reinventing core industries through mobile strategy, data discovery, and applications powered by advanced technologies such as DARQ (Distributed Ledger, Artificial Intelligence, Extended Reality, and Quantum Computing). India can leverage its strengths such as talent pool and cost competitiveness to drive outcomes across different verticals.