“Companies are seeking partners who can assist them in building better products and reach newer markets. GlobalLogic is well-positioned and surely amongst the top 5 firms that can ride this shift,” says Sumit Sood, MD, GlobalLogic India in a recent interaction with CXOtoday. The $300-million-plus company and has doubled in the last 3 years, and is looking to  double again within the next 2-3 years. Sood also explains his journey in the tech industry, the trends and challenges facing today’s global delivery firms and how the company is recruiting skilled engineers to meet today’s disruptive business needs.

How has your professional journey been so far from the Virtusa days? What key tech changes have you noticed in the industry?

I spent 14 very rewarding years at Virtusa, which helped me become the professional that I am. The experience of establishing operations in new markets and working closely with various Fortune 100 banks and telecom companies allowed me to have an insider’s view of business priorities and how technology could be a great enabler. I decided to move to GlobalLogic at a time when the industry is witnessing a paradigm shift – from efficiency to innovation. There is a silent tech revolution happening out there that is changing the world that we live in. As an example, the competitors for auto manufacturers are not other auto manufacturing companies but ride share companies that are making redundant the need to own a car! And technology is at the heart of this disruption.

India is a key geography for GlobalLogic and the market in our opinion is looking for players that can provide end-to-end services from design studies to engineering to operations. Companies today are looking at partners who are committed to sharing the realization of a complete product roadmap – from creating the industry to defining products with the latest technologies and then ultimately getting them to market faster.

What are the typical challenges global delivery firms are facing today?

To the naked eye, the challenges remain the same old. Local regulatory environment, cultural differences, time zone differences, tight margins and high SLA penalties, non-standardized contracts etc. etc. Same old, same old! But if you peek under the hood, the biggest challenge is innovation! Everyone is globalized or globalizing. The efficiency equation OR as people call it, the race to the bottom is at its fag end! The ability to really understand your clients business at its core and more importantly, their end customer and how they interact with the business and consumer products and services – that is the biggest challenge in front of the industry today.

On the other hand, increased automation is changing the quantum of work needed to keep the lights on. We are seeing it in the subdued demand for new hiring and the increasing job redundancies being created across the industry. “Innovate and do more with less” as opposed to “do the same at lower cost” – defines the tectonic shift in customer expectations.

Can you please tell us about some of the rising trends of collaboration applications and its impact across industries?

Cross functional teams are increasingly working across another dimension – geographical location(s). Gone are the days of single channel communication – Tele Conference or Video conference calls. Teams these days collaborate and work simultaneously on the same design or document or spreadsheet, while talking to each other over a video conference. Tools like Google Docs, hangouts and Microsoft SharePoint are enabling us to collaborate and contribute in ways we never imagined before. Industries can now source the best talent available globally, create the right teams and deliver the right products!

How difficult is to recruit skilled engineers to meet today’s disruptive business needs. Also how difficult is it to retain your hires?

The easy access to jobs over the last decade and a half has led to some complacency amongst our talent pool, across the nation. As an example, in the IT world, at some point India stopped producing software engineers, we were producing programmers.

Skilled engineers are surely a premium commodity across the industry, having said that, the fundamental mathematical and analytical capability continues to be very strong. So recruiting skilled engineers is quite a tough challenge but molding recruits into the right engineering mindset is a doable task! And that is what we find ourselves doing increasingly. Given the nature of GlobalLogic’s business, high intensity raw engineering – connected cars, medical devices, communications software, IoT enabled ecosystems – we do spend a lot of time, effort and energy towards training people to perform in such high performance teams. Retention continues to be a mix of science and art! Science, when it comes to vanilla hygiene factors like salaries and benefits and Art when it comes to helping people realize the value that they add to their careers by participating in the projects that we execute!

Given our strong engineering heritage, we are an attractive poaching ground for a lot of startups as well as established majors and lucrative monetary offers are a common happenstance amongst our teams. However, the opportunity to work on cutting edge technologies, open and flexible work culture and strong opportunities to grow helps our employees thrive and continue to want to work at GlobalLogic. Two thirds of our leaders are grown from within.

We have been identified by industry leaders like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Zinnov GSPR as a top promoter of work-life balance and as a leader in consumer & enterprise software, respectively. We have also been listed by SiliconIndia as one of the best places to work for in the R&D segment.

What are your plans for the India market?

India is a very key geography for us – as a market and as a maker for products in other markets. We plan to continue to scale up on both fronts and expect our India headcount to double up in the next 3-4 years. From a market perspective, we are seeing tremendous opportunities in the Telecommunications, Healthcare and Retail/e-commerce – areas that align very well with GlobalLogic’s strengths. We are working on some large innovation programs with leading Indian enterprises as well as startups across these industries!

What is your leadership mantra for tech professionals to stay afloat?

Learn, unlearn, and relearn! As Alvin Toffler mentioned a few decades ago. “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”. Be flexible, don’t be afraid to do new things or do things differently. Move across cities, countries – broaden your horizon!

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