Article: The new talent revolution

Talent Acquisition

The new talent revolution

SMAC has opened the IT sector wide to many users and professionals says Binu Philip, Director-HR at Microsoft India
The new talent revolution

For the first time, there are four disruptive trends at work with SMAC and not just one, which was the case in the past


SMAC is going to be the leading disruptor in this decade in terms of businesses and industries. Will it have the same effect on the job front?

SMAC is indeed going to be a disruptor both in terms of how businesses look at technology and expectations from IT managers. SMAC would also impact the skills required of the IT professionals of the future. In fact, it may also lead to the emergence of newer types of IT professionals and foster entrepreneurship and innovation. For example, the opportunity posed by app stores to host applications has led to millions of individuals taking up app development as a part-time or even a full-time profession. Several ISVs have taken to app development and some of them have apps that have been downloaded over a million times already. In fact, several studies have projected SMAC to generate more jobs as well.

Is the change happening fast enough? Are HR teams prepared for SMAC?

I feel we are still at the base camp. Companies understand the value of Cloud but the potential of analytics or big data is still to be leveraged broadly. While social and mobile have become a way of life with consumers, companies have some way to leverage its potential for business. The evolution will gain pace. HR teams in IT organizations not only need to understand this change but they need to be ahead of this evolution to help prepare the employees for the future. I do not think SMAC will essentially change the core of HR function, but may provide us with new ways and resources for being more effective. It is important for HR to understand how they can leverage SMAC for the HR function – be it attracting talent, creating learning infrastructure, improving retention & engagement becoming more collaborative.

How will SMAC affect the larger talent market and what are its repercussions?

SMAC is opening up the IT market more widely to a larger number of users and IT professionals. The entry of such professionals is in turn leading to a higher level of innovation and entrepreneurship. This also means that the talent one is seeking may not just be found in traditional sources but may be available more widely. Organizations seeking to benefit from this talent revolution will need to find newer, faster ways to engage with this talent base.

How is SMAC changing the prevalent HR processes and systems?

SMAC is leading to better connected employees. It is also opening up the opportunities for employees to be more innovative, collaborative and entrepreneurial. They are no longer thinking the PC only, but newer form factors are posing greater possibilities around newer work scenarios for them. HR professionals around the industry are also moving quick to leverage the benefits posed by this highly connected and collaborative workforce.

The Learning & Development function recently launched a mobile application for our managers called ‘Managing at Microsoft’. Someone like me who travels extensively can use this application on my Nokia Windows Phone (mobile) while at an airport, access sketch videos and short training modules (on cloud) and share it through Yammer which is our internal Microsoft social platform (social). With the boundaries between work and play blurring, this provides me flexibility to learn anytime/ anywhere and at my pace.

Since we are in a knowledge economy, won't it lead to a talent crunch? What kind of skillsets will henceforth companies be looking for in talent they hire?

While it is not the first time that disruptive technologies are bringing about an evolution in the business landscape, the magnitude of impact this time is expected to be far higher than in the past. This is largely because for the first time we have four disruptive trends at work with SMAC and not just one, which has been the case in the past. It means that organizations will indeed need to move quickly to take advantage of this evolution.

What is the size of the SMAC industry in India and globally? How much budget has Microsoft allotted to it?

Microsoft has clearly articulated that it will be a ‘Mobile First Cloud First’ company. This is all the more relevant for a country like India where mobile devices are the preferred mode of technology consumption. There won’t be an exponential increase of revenue from SMAC, but there is definitely a shift. According to NASSCOM, in the short term we may see approximately 16 per cent of IT spend of companies in this space, which will grow significantly over time.

This could probably be called the fifth wave of change from the mainframe era. Over the years, revolutions in the IT space have also been followed with an explosion of talent in the respective eras – Mainframe, mini computing, PC/Client Server, Internet and now SMAC. But will SMAC make talent redundant or will it evolve talent to an entirely different level?

In India, we have much more mobiles phones than PCs or laptops. Hence, it has become very easy for us to enter the space. The pace at which technology is evolving will only add to the opportunities and we should be able to leverage the potential of talent. This will certainly pose a very positive challenge to universities and IT organizations to constantly upgrade themselves and prepare both students and employees for this emerging wave. SMAC makes the talent more geography neutral. The ability of the talent to work and collaborate from anywhere, anytime. Hence, it becomes very talent friendly.

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, Technology, #BestPractices

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