Friday, March 25, 2005

IT Consulting: A roadmap

In yet another virtual interaction between the current batches and the alumni, Mr. Narsimha Rao (Narry), Associate Vice President & Head - Hyderabad Centre, Infosys Technologies Ltd and an XLer of PGDBM, 1990 batch, answered the queries of the students on IT & IT consulting, through an audio-conference.

“Prior work ex is not mandatory for joining the IT sector. In fact you might not have systems as your specialization and still join Infosys, provided you are able to justify it. We just need you to have a basic level of knowledge and inclination towards the IT industry; that's what we look for in a candidate when we go to Bschools.

When we go to campuses, we mainly look for a person’s general level of inclination towards the IT field and his/her keenness towards the company (Infosys in our case). Again, we expect that the MBA candidate who applies to our company has done some basic research about the IT industry as a whole and how things are moving, what’s new coming up etc. Systems electives can carry a bit of weight, but surely they are not essential. We are more interested in the way the candidate approaches us and how much he is willing to learn in IT. Anyways, whenever we have fresh recruits, we give the requisite training which is in line with the responsibilities they would take up. We do not expect the candidate to be a systems major. But we do expect that the person coming for the interview to have fair amount of knowledge of the IT sector and to have interest in the same. The person should have some focus as regards to why he is applying to the IT Company and not come just because that was the job available in the campus.

It is not even essential to have an IT background. What is more important is whether you have an inclination and interest to join an IT company like Infosys. You should be inclined towards working in a technological environment. If you are afraid of technology or do not like working with technology, then certainly Infosys is not the right place for you. For example, for a finance guy, there are opportunities in verticals like banking and insurance where your domain knowledge/ experience may be useful.

People with, say core finance background, can join in as finance consultants in IT companies even if they don’t have formal background in IT. They must be able to convince the interview panel of their interest in IT. Anyways when companies recruit from campuses, they give specific trainings in IT to people. So, basic level of interest to work in IT will do the job.” Narry said.

Regarding the work profile, he explained: “A business analyst will mostly be associated to an industry vertical. He will be involved in proposing IT solutions to business problems. A package consultant will not be restricted to a particular vertical. He will be involved specifically in studying the needs of the organization and determining which package solutions would be good for it, and then actually see that implementation through.

Typically, business consulting in IT companies is done by people with good amount of functional experience. A business consultant is supposed to suggest ideas to solve some of the problems of the clients and see through the execution of those ideas. Indian companies have begun business consulting, for example Infosys Consulting. But most consulting roles in IT companies will involve some basic flavor of IT. Pure business consulting is largely a domain of McKinsey etc.”

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Information piece. However after some years of working in an Offshore India IT company one tends to feel that this sector is not exactly the best place for a B-School Passout given that people only tend to spend time creating documents (answering numerous RFI/RFP's, Proposal, Presentations etc) or wait till the time they get body shopped for client engagements abroad.

Though much is promised on campus about possible Business Development/ Client Relationship management/ Sales roles... these only tend to go to candidates hired laterally at onsite (read" phirangs).

And of course there is nothing to do with "Management" in most of these roles.

No Indian offshore company can offer a good role to B-School Passouts, and neither can they be handed out challenging assignments or quality work that looks at harnessing their talents/potential.

Makes one wonder if people who hand out advise know what is happening on the ground. Personally I did not sign up for this and feel I am slightly stuck. Also this is more the opinion of most of my other collegues who have graduated from B-Schools like XLRI and IIM.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with this posting.

Business Consulting in Indian IT companies... please do not make me laugh. No offshore company is viewed in this space. Sadly the image most offshore companies have is a provider of cheap bodies who can only handle low-end work.

Anonymous said...

Actually the comments are not true: it is IIMA/B/C alumni who are heading Planning, HR and geographies across most offshore IT companies, including Infosys and Wipro if you check. Maybe the sour grapes here are because, so far, they haven't hired any XLers at the top. So then the XLers say "such jobs exist only for firangs"?? Please, get a life.

Anonymous said...

Being a B-school passout, and having spent over 14 years in US, mostly with US based consulting companies, I tend to believe there could not be a better time than now for B-school grads to take IT career in companies like Infosys "seriously" as career option with passion to take the offshore competency to the next level. Companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro have established brand equity globally and not necessarily as "low-cost-option" to IT consulting. I can compare this era of Indian IT companies as Toyotas, Hondas, Datsun/Nissans and other Japanese companies entering US car market as "cheap & fuel efficient" option and slowly but surely climbing up the value chain with brands like Lexus (Toyota), Acura (Honda), Infinity (Nissan), competing with brands like Mercedes Benz, Jaguars, and Porche.
As the offshore IT companies grow, in revenue sales & brand image, they'll have to grow themselves in value add consulting to protect future business. China will soon become a competition for lower cost option in IT consulting and rising cost of salaries/standard of living for Indian IT pro's will soon pose the biggest threat to IT offshore companies winning business overseas based on "cost advantage" only.
B School grads will play a vital role in taking the offshore business consulting expertise to the next level, with excellence in global business domain understanding along with IT technical talent pool available in India, and I am sure there will be enticing challenges and life time opportunities to excel in that complex business envoronment.

Anonymous said...

"It is IIMA/B/C alumni who are heading Planning, HR and geographies across most offshore IT companies, including Infosys and Wipro if you check."

No one brought this point up in the first place. But if you must argue then there are there are XLers at top positions in the so called IT services companies as well... take for instance companies like Cognizant. So wonder what this thing about "sour grapes" is about in the first place. Sounds like some "Joker" posted these comments... and that does not surprise me.

But this was never the point of the arguement sparked off by the first posting... so let us not detract from the core issue here.

Have worked in markets like the US and UK myself over the last 6-7 years with end user companies like MetLife, American Express and Goldman Sach's... and know from experience that these companies would never give any "IT Consulting" assignments to Indian IT Companies. As a Programme Manager at MetLife and Amex, I noticed that the project model is largely around staff augmentation and Application Outsourcing. When we needed IT Consulting we went to IBM!

Whatever said and done these companies still lack the maturity needed for IT Consulting. Try comparing the output from an Accenture or an IBM for an assigment by what players like Wipro and Infosys tend to produce.

Do agree that B School grads could play a vital role in taking the offshore business consulting expertise to the next level... but nothing of note is being witnessed now.

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