SMAC has become mainstream for the top 30% of industries such as insurance, retail and healthcare
What is the size of the SMAC industry globally and in India? What is Zensar doing in this space?
The size of the overall SMAC industry globally will be close to $1 trillion by 2020. From the Indian software exporters’ point of view, it will be $15 billion within the next three years, and over $ 225 Billion by 2020.
Translating that to people it would mean at least 5-6 lakh people employed in this space by that time.
Zensar Technologies has a Digital Enterprise group focusing on digital transformation solutions, where we work with clients in the US, Europe and India to understand what applications can be taken to the Cloud, which is almost 30 per cent of the SMAC opportunity.
The second area is Social Listening involving analysis of information on the social media. Zensar provides a service that will enable our clients, especially those who are interacting with consumers directly and often, like insurance companies, retail banks, etc. on how to improve their marketing initiatives or service quality etc. This service involves a rich interweave of social media monitoring and applying analytics to it to help the client make informed decisions and very often in real time. A lot of marketing analytics is based on what is happening in the social media today. Increasing number of users are the Gen Y, and being digital natives their access to social media and their use of it for any transaction is immense, thus churning out a lot of data all the time. Big Data is about combining intelligence from your own measuring systems with what the world is talking about you.
The third biggest area is the use of Mobility. We have multiple projects going on all over the world helping our clients enable their customers to access data over mobile devices. Rich user interface, high interactivity and responsiveness of existing applications on any mobile device are the asks of the customer and are the areas where Zensar is seeing immense traction.
The fourth area is Social Media – which is still a niche area as a lot of people are still experimenting in the media from the B2C point of view. There is still some way to go in businesses actually using social media to enable business transactions. In terms of maturity, I would say it is Cloud, followed by Data Analytics and Mobility, followed by Social Media in that order. This is the way businesses are currently approaching and prioritizing their digital initiatives.
What is the effect of SMAC on the larger talent market?
The whole services opportunity exists on Cloud and Analytics. Apart from that, if you look at the skillsets required, you need people who are very aware of and sensitive to customer preferences, technology changes and also have the capability to understand people. Personally, I think it is going to be a huge opportunity for young MBAs, BBAs, and people with business analytics background. Digital technologies are less technology and more application, and hence the space will see less of techies as it will be about how people can use social media and the analytics platform. In the US, data scientists and analytics specialists who know what to do with large quantities of data are being wooed by the developments in the IT space thanks to SMAC. The talent market needs business integration and analytics.
Data is considered the new Oil! This statement signifies the enormous opportunity for specialists in Data Science. Data Scientists are expected to have a penchant for the study of unstructured data, the structured data and the streams of data that come in from a variety of channels to configure how to manage the data, create suitable structures to store them lending flexibility to tap into them as per priority and business needs while at the same time addressing the security concerns or potential fallout from storage related issues. There would be a need for entry level data cleaners and a whole host of specialist statisticians who can build sophisticated models to handle the complex data forms.
With so much of data floating around, it is very easy to lose a sense of data, lending huge opportunities to creative people.
What about educating the talent pool?
In the Indian education system, there is hardly any program that deals squarely with business analytics. The gap is now being filled by the MBA programme, where there is a semblance of an analytics course. In the last five years, a lot of Harvard Business School MBA graduates have joined Google, not because they have knowledge about the space but they have the passion for it. For them, technology is a way of life and this is the kind of skill that can’t be taught. The current social generation is optimally suited for growth.
Has SMAC become mainstream?
SMAC has become mainstream for the top 30 per cent of any industry. If you look at the insurance, retail and healthcare industries, it has become absolutely mainstream. The sectors where it has not become mainstream are traditional industries such as manufacturing and infrastructure. We are now doing a series of workshops worldwide on understanding the digital opportunity and applying it to different businesses not just to improve market share and growth opportunities but also in terms of improving productivity of existing resources. In a manufacturing company, if SMAC is applied as an integrating force with the suppliers and subcontractors, the company will become much more efficient. SMAC is becoming mainstream for companies in the consumer facing side of the business, as they pursue increased efficiency and innovation in that side of the business, but that is also slowly changing even in the B2B (business-to-business) segment as well. I would expect full mainstreaming by 2015 where every company would almost be compelled to adopt SMAC by then, or run the risk of perishing.
Is HR prepared for disruption in the talent market?
HR normally tends to be one generation behind reality. The biggest spender on technology is no longer going to be the CIO, but the CMO. The marketing officers will have to look at technology much more than they used to. HR has to evolve from a process and dictatorial function to a much more receptive function through social listening, and improving policies to cater to the aspirations of the employees. This change in HR is required. We have done that fairly successfully at Zensar, but when I talk to many HR Heads I feel like they are watching the world go by.
Will jobs become redundant?
Traditional services like package applications and custom built applications, infrastructure management, business process outsourcing and now these newer age digital technologies like social media, mobility, analytics, and cloud are all on a continuum.
One does not replace the other. Operational efficiency is still an imperative, and at the same time, innovation and creativity are what really enable the company to increase market share. In balancing these priorities companies will need solutions across all areas and nothing will get obsolete. There will be better ways of doing old stuff and improved solutions to help focus on the good stuff. All companies will continue to invest in the old processes and will also continue to create new ones, which is why the opportunity for young people with no traditional technical background becomes so important. Whether you are the CEO, the CFO or the CPO, you have to be completely in tune with the latest preferences and trends. HR should be much more open in understanding what are the preferences of the new generation, what is that the new company would do to show that they understand. People will have to do a lot of unlearning and relearning.
Will it lead to the development of a smarter employee or a smarter company?
Smarter people are the reason for innovation in SMAC. They are forcing companies to change. The rate of change in technology is accelerating tremendously and people are much more technologically-savvy when they enter organizations. The corporate culture is changing to accommodate new technology and smarter people than they were 10 years back. Nobody ever is prepared for transformation, but the culture of the company has to change. Digital transformation has been around for two years now and everybody realizes that SMAC is the way of the future. It does make sense to wait and watch to see what’s happening with technology. My own belief is that more revenue will be generated from SMAC related areas in the next couple of years, than was in the last decade.