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Dinesh Venugopal interview: ‘We’re focussed on providing digital transformation; Covid gives chance to expand in India’

Access to India’s IT talent, which was limited to the lower end of the pool in the initial waves of outsourcing, has now expanded and companies are looking to tap more highly-skilled technology professionals as they look to provide end-to-end services.

In an interview to The Sunday Express, Dinesh Venugopal, president, Concentrix Catalyst told Soumyarendra Barik and Pranav Mukul that the company plans to double its presence from 2,500 people in India to 5,000 across roles involving aspects such as immersive experiences, internet of things, metaverse, etc. Edited excerpts:

In terms of the hirings that are made in India by US companies, the intent to outsource was primarily to save costs. Has this changed over the years, and more so in context of the pandemic?

I think the first and second, and even the third waves of outsourcing were more focussed on cost as the primary driver. At Concentrix Catalyst, the India presence is going to be primarily driven by the value that we can get to serve a global customer base. Earlier, where you’re focussed only on North America, you wanted customers close to that, but India has a wide talent pool. And it’s like a bell curve, you have people on the high-end of the talent pool, who are now employed only by the product-based companies.

And then we have the services companies that employ all kinds of talent across the board from the high-end to folks who can do multiple things. Then we have the BPO sector as well. So from our perspective, we are focused on the higher value producing service offerings for our customers.

If you take revenue per employee for us, if you take the average billing rate, all of that is quite a high-end, because we are focussed on providing digital transformation at the highest value and, and that’s why we believe there is talent that in India, if we acquire them, train them build them up, we should be able to start delivering higher value talent in from India, and we are already doing that, but we should be able to do that at scale, in 5,000-10,000 kind of a scale very soon. The leading cutting-edge brand that we want to create in the marketplace is important for us because we want to really attract the best talent to come and work for us.

How is Concentrix Catalyst looking at hiring in India?

India has always been a strong delivery arm for us, it was never a customer base for us, but now, what we are seeing is a big shift happening. Right now, 50 per cent of our people are in the US, 50 per cent In India. But what we are seeing is that our customers in the experience side who usually want talent very close to where they work with are now willing to have people anywhere in the world due to the pandemic. So that gives us an opportunity to really expand in India.

We’re thinking that the cutting edge technologies that we work on, like immersive experiences, IoT, Metaverse, we can attract some of the best talent in India; and not just that, then we will train them and skill them.

That is really why we think in the next year, we could double the presence from the 2,500 people that we have to 5,000 people in India, that’s really what our focus is right now.

Are these positions going to be mainly entry level, and do you also look at smaller towns while hiring?

Our final model won’t look like a pyramid, it will look more like a diamond. So we’ll have a lot of people with mid-level experience, but a few people with super experience and then we’ll have a fresher community but not as big as what you’d normally do in a commoditised market.

We absolutely feel that the tier two cities are a good source for talent. Especially if you want to find the right answer. We’re not looking for a 100,000 people, we’re looking for 2,000, then 10,000 people in a couple of years. We think we can find them in tier two cities as well from good colleges in tier two cities. From an operations perspective, Concentrix has had a good track record of hiring in tier two cities.




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