Infosys is getting its employees future-ready, training them in emerging and new technologies such as machine learning in connected cars, ahead of bagging contracts in these areas.

“All these are a small percentage of our business today, but we expect a more significant portion going forward,” Srikantan Moorthy, Executive Vice-President and Head, Global Services - Application Development and Maintenance, Infosys, told BusinessLine .

He said the software major is taking an approach which would ensure its workforce will be skilled in different technology requirements of its clients who are pivoting towards electric vehicles and connected cars. Infosys counts Toyota and some US car makers as its clients.

Reskilling

“We see a need to invest top dollars in reskilling and training employees in technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomous technologies as our clients are eventually heading that way,” said Murthy.

Infosys recently partnered with online learning provider Udacity to enrol its employees in the latter’s Self-Driving Car Engineer Nano-degree programme.

Changing landscape

Infosys, TCS and other traditional system integrators are having to relook the way they approach deals.

Industry watchers say gone are the days when companies emailed excel sheets to their clients about the cost of their ERP (enterprise resource planning) or supply-chain projects. Swift technological changes have caught clients (automakers in this case) off guard.

“If you take the electric-vehicle push, the whole supply chain will change and some component makers will no longer exist.” said Sanjay Puri, founder, Auto Nebula, a US-based investment fund and accelerator for connected cars.

“In such a scenario, what is the point in investing in dealer management systems,” he asks.

Vijay Ratnaparkhe, President and Managing Director, Robert Bosch Engineering India, said automakers are changing their business models to capture new sources of revenue.

As part of the Udacity initiative, 500 Infosys engineers will be trained in the next 12-18 months so that they can identify issues Infosys’ clients are grappling with, such as mapping, safety, cyber security and others.

Thinking ahead

Murthy believes that while these initiatives currently contribute very little to the $10-billion company’s bottom-line, it will be “significant” going forward.

He said that as technologies have begun to change, one of the first approaches the company has taken is to reskill and upskill its engineers.

He said that by getting the employees trained in emerging technologies, the firm is giving them the opportunities to be ready even before bagging full-fledged business.

He pointed out that a lot of existing vehicle makers are already looking at autonomous vehicles.

“We are looking at clients who are getting into this space and are beginning to experiment and have partnerships to jointly build solutions.” Murthy said Infosys has always focussed on significant amount of training.

“Part of these have been classroom-led, and now we have created a platform for blended learning which offers the opportunity to learn anytime and anywhere.

“The idea of leveraging technology and using blended learning has come a significantly long way in terms of how we focus on the learning part. And the second piece is the intervention related to emerging and new technologies in order to get us ready ahead of the business, and that has been evolving as well.”

‘Design Thinking’

Under former CEO Vishal Sikka, ‘Design Thinking’ had taken off in a big way with thousands of engineers trained to acquire the skill.

“Design Thinking is about helping out people with the creative confidence to be able to look at a situation not so much from the point of problem-solving, but from the point of collaborative learning about problem-finding. Raising the creative confidence of our people continues. We are trying to get our workforce future-ready.”

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