Monday, March 19, 2007

On High Demand – A Surge In The Third Wave Of Outsourcing


Recently, infrastructure management services (IMS) in the field of IT is being paid a lot of attention, even gaining a decided toehold in the industry. And, as with all segments seeing huge business demand, IT firms in the IMS domain are rushing to ramp up their headcount, in order to meet the surge in demand. While, they are able to recruit fresh talent quite easily, the problem is with finding experienced hands.

“Global experts have predicted a burgeoning demand for IMS talent in the country. The overall IMS industry in India will open 30,000 – 40,000 jobs in the next three years. Supply is going to be a challenge. The challenge will be not only about quantity, but also quality of people,” says J. Kalyanaraman, senior VP, Human Capital Management, HCL Comnet.

Some recent examples of the ramping up that is going on is evident in HCL, a firm that has been seeing employee numbers increase 100% each year, even as its current IMS employee numbers stands at 4,100-strong. Then there is Wipro Infotech, which has over 8,000 employees and partner resources working on IMS-related projects, while continuously ramping up as outsourced work surges in. Other system integrators like Infosys and IBM have also been rapidly adding to their teams, while smaller firms in the IMS-related space i.e. Microland and Slashsupport see no option, but to increase their staff count, as well.

The may be an intense ramping-up going on, but it has also pushed up the attrition rates, which currently average at about 40-45%. However, efforts are being made to engage employees for longer periods by providing better roles and career progression options. And, firms like Wipro Infotech and HCL have begun to rely on their internal training programmes to meet requirements. Tapan Bhatt, VP, HR Wipro Infotech says: “Given that there are few large players in the market, companies fight for the same talent pool. However, a large proportion of our talent requirements are grown internally. This is done by ensuring that our teams get a wide exposure on a wide variety of infrastructure platforms and regular talent transformation interventions. To meet our internal requirements, we also ensure that there is a huge influx of fresh talent straight from campuses into our organisations.”

Called the third wave of outsourcing by industry pundits, the IMS market is pretty big i.e. it currently stands at 12 – 20% of total IT spend and growing.