In this new phase of industrial transformation, companies across industry sectors are striving to digitally transform their business operations to become flexible to changing customer expectations and resilient to unforeseen disruptions.
The Indian IT-BPM industry, with its four-decade track record of providing information technology (IT) and business process management (BPM) services to clients around the world, is now growing. dawn of the fourth industrial revolution (or industry 4.0). He now deals with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data and the cloud. In this new phase of industrial transformation, companies across industry sectors are striving to digitally transform their business operations to become flexible to changing customer expectations and resilient to unforeseen disruptions. From its position as a leading IT-BPM service provider, India’s IT-BPM industry sees an opportune time to meet the emerging technology needs of its customers from various verticals. This sector, the largest private sector employer in India, recruits a large number of engineering graduates in the fields of specialization from the country’s engineering schools. As the boundaries between industrial sectors and / or academic disciplines erode, we believe this sector has a vital role to play in meeting the needs of industry through significant use of a workforce. qualified engineering.
Today, the Indian IT industry recruits engineers solely for their potential to become generic software programmers, adaptable to changing tools and platforms. The in-depth knowledge of the field, especially that of non-computer science (CS) engineers, is hardly used by this industry. One of the main reasons for this is the massive standardization of processes in IT-BPM projects to attract customers. On-the-job training programs transform engineers, whatever their specialization, into software engineers, absorbing them into these ongoing projects. Recruitment is done in large numbers to overcome the problems of attrition. A reserve of engineers is maintained to attract them to client projects whenever necessary. Engineering schools have responded by putting in place organizational structures to facilitate internships in the IT sector, compared to other industry sectors – the well-known “core” and “IT” division in internships. However, with emerging technologies attracting a significant number of jobs, mainly in the Indian IT sector, there is some promise for non-IT engineers to translate their specialized engineering skills.
The emerging technology solutions that India’s IT industry is poised to deliver are different from those offered by IT giants such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others. As they build generic products and platforms in the emerging tech space, India’s IT sector – an industry dominated by outsourcing services – is positioned in a niche position to deliver emerging technology solutions that are customized or tailor-made for its long-standing clients. Customers from verticals such as logistics, healthcare, retail, banking and finance, automotive, construction, aerospace, etc. are now turning to this sector to meet their digital transformation needs. Compared to traditional IT-BPM projects, emerging technology projects offer better opportunities for engineers in non-IT specializations. Indeed, emerging technological solutions, e.g. AI, require expertise at the intersection of computing, mathematics / statistics and relevant domain knowledge. Non-computer engineers working in emerging industry-specific technology projects can use skills from their own engineering backgrounds to improve the accuracy of problem description, reduce the burden of data collection, and improve assessment and evaluation. interpretation of the model. Therefore, for the Indian IT industry, this is an opportunity to engage significantly with non-IT engineers beyond the usual requirements of software projects.
But for this to become a reality, there needs to be a structural change within the Indian IT sector. Although they have ventured into the emerging tech space, the existing process workflows within the Indian IT industry are still turning engineers into generic software programmers. These workflows, aligned with traditional software development, mainly aim to refine the distribution of tasks so that engineers can work independently in distributed teams and that their contribution is duly taken into account. However, such workflows are not suitable for emerging technology projects where tasks are much more entangled and clear division of tasks is difficult. In our research, we observe that entry-level roles in the emerging tech space (data engineers), although they are recruited for their specialized skills in data science and other non-IT skills, continue to work with the workflows of existing software development. Placed at the bottom of the hierarchy, their work context is strongly influenced by the expectations of software project management. Unlike those in leadership positions, who are closer to understanding the customer’s business or industry-specific use cases, data engineers are unable to see through use cases. of AI, which significantly erodes their contribution. They continue to work with the usual model or artifact-centric collaboration in software development where high-level architecture specifications following modularity, customization and reuse of software programs dictate the assignment of tasks. But collaborating in emerging technology projects, like AI, requires iterative experimentation focused on the customer’s business and industry-specific use case. We believe that for non-IT engineers to substantially translate their basic engineering skills into their work, there is an urgent need to rethink process workflows in the IT industry. Greater collaboration focused on use cases is needed to effectively harness the skills offered by non-computer engineers, especially in their entry-level roles. With proper working systems, non-computer engineers can play an important role and shape innovation in Indian IT industry.
* Rajalaxmi Kamath is an associate professor and Vinay V. Reddy is a doctoral student at the Center for Public Policy, IIMB. They are currently involved in writing ethnographic findings in an AI research unit of an IT organization in Bangalore.
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[This article has been published with permission from IIM Bangalore. www.iimb.ac.in Views expressed are personal.]