Monday, June 11, 2012 Business Standard
For the first time, an Indian IT and BPM services company is institutionalising the concept of allowing employees to work from home. Zensar, the RPG Group firm headquartered in Pune, has said it wants to have 30 per cent of its employees working from home, locally and in towns and cities near its centres. The move will be implemented in three-four years.
Ganesh Natarajan, vice-chairman and CEO of Zensar Technologies, says the move would restrict investment in huge capacity creation in terms of providing for physical infrastructure and connectivity. It will provide the company access to good talent that may not be willing to relocate to other cities, he says.
A recent discussion at Nasscom and an analysis of facts shows that nothing could be further from the truth. Look at some numbers that paint the growth of BPM in India in the last five years. The BPM industry is expected to end FY 12 at a smart $16 billion of export revenues employing over 8,70,000 people and while vertical specific BPM services, finance & accounting, HR, procurement & logistic and managed services account for the larger share of the pie, customer interaction or voice processes continue to contribute over 40%. The industry players themselves are a varied lot, from global in-house centres to end-to-end BPM players to specialised niche players to IT-BPM combined firms offering bundled offerings. Data analytics, legal process outsourcing and platform based BPM services are growing at a rapid clip with service providers now acting as extensions of client operations and becoming strategic high value adding transformation partners.
The supremacy being established by Indian BPMs in the fast growing segment of data analytics deserves special mention. The increasing relevance of big data and its extensive use for decision making has led to increasing sophistication of data analytics tools and wide ranging application in areas such as equity and financial research, management of multiple supply chains and sales and marketing functions. The skills needed for BPM employees in this area now include statistical tools, database manipulation, business programming and financial modeling and new services are being added to the portfolio ranging from sales force optimisation and customer segmentation to predictive analytics for business operations management.
The role played by Nasscom in this transition of the Indian BPM firm from a context oriented outsourcing agency to a truly value adding core services partner has been exemplary. Leading industry firms have been mobilised in a host of industry strengthening initiatives, from building a brand strategy for the demand and supply side to generating a robust talent pipeline to minimising recruitment frauds and optimising transportation and other costs like safety and security. Nasscom itself is conducting ongoing research work on country competitiveness of China, Philippines, Latin America and South Africa and making both industry constituents and the powers that be in governments aware of the new opportunities and potential threats.
“As we grow, my hope is almost 30 per cent of our workforce will be virtual by 2016 — they will work from home and from other cites connected with our global delivery hubs elsewhere,” he adds.
Zensar Technologies has about 7,500 employees, of which about 1,500 are located outside India. Zensar has global delivery centres abroad in Shanghai (China), Boston and San Jose (the US) and Johannesburg (South Africa).
Natarajan says while the company already has nearly 200 people working from home in Pune, it is in the process of introducing the practice in Hyderabad, its second largest centre in the country. In Bangalore, where the company aims to develop intellectual properties, templates and reusable solutions in the areas of cloud, social media and mobility, Zensar is looking at enabling almost 50 per cent of its employees to work from home locally and in smaller cities of Karnataka.“Right now, we have around 100 employees in Bangalore and we plan to have another 200 employees who will work from home or smaller cities in the state,” he says.
Work from home is not a new concept. Most global technology companies such as IBM, HP, Oracle, Cisco, Accenture and Dell allow employees to work from home, with the permission of their managers. But, the practice is not widespread and is mostly driven by the need of respective employees.
In India, most IT services companies are not comfortable allowing their employees to work from home. Even those employees not deployed on any project (known as the bench) are required to spend the regular 8-10 working hours in the office.
According to Natarajan, the reason why most IT services companies are not comfortable encouraging employees to work from home is the absence of a monitoring mechanism. “Most people feel they won’t be able to supervise employees not working directly under their eyes.”
Zensar is deploying new software and technologies that will measure the performance of employees working at another location. “We are investing in technology and connectivity. We are also developing new tools that will measure the performance of employees based on the outcomes delivered,” says Natarajan.
About Zensar Technologies (http://www.zensar.com/)
Zensar Technologies is among the top 20 software services providers from India. Zensar is the world's first enterprise-wide SEI CMM Level 5 company and was also later certified as a CMMI Level 5 company with industry expertise that spans industries including retail, manufacturing, banking, insurance and healthcare. An RPG Group company, Zensar has more than 7000 employees with a sales and operations presence across the U.S., the U.K., Europe, Middle East, South Africa, Singapore, Australia, China and Japan. The Company delivers comprehensive services in mission-critical applications, enterprise applications, e-business, BPM and Knowledge Services. Zensar has developed tools and methodologies, including the proprietary Solution BluePrint (SBP), which enables its clients with innovative business solutions and a rapid ‘go-to-market’ capability. The Company supports Fortune 500 clients with software business solutions that help them compete in the digital economy.
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