For those of you who follow HFS closely, you’ll know we have a small but extremely focused and competent analyst team in Bangalore. And if one region has shown all of us in the services industry how we can pivot fast to keep the wheels on IT delivery… it’s India. So we couldn’t be more excited to add Ram Rajagopalan to the team who will lead many of our consulting studies in addition to getting stuck into our coverage of AI, IoT and supply chain. And one thing I love about this guy… have can he smile with actually smiling? Maybe he learned that during his time with IBM, Wipro and Genpact…
Welcome, Ram! Can you share a little about your background and why you have chosen research and strategy as your career path?
Thanks Phil! I am excited to be part of HFS.
I am a professional with 18 years of experience spanning across strategy consulting, market research, business development, and executive program management of initiatives. Most of my experience has revolved around consulting assignments for either opportunity growth or internal issue resolution. I have worked with hi-tech clients in banking, automotive, electronics, public sector, and instrumentation industries in Europe, North America, Japan, and India.
I have always loved strategy consulting irrespective of the variety of roles that I have done in my career, and have been keen to get back into strategy and research after gaining experience in marketing and business development roles in the industry.
What are the areas and topics that you’re initially focusing on with your HFS analyst role?
Initially, I am focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on IT companies. This involves understanding how IT/ITES enterprises are responding to the COVID-19, and planning to counter COVID-19 in short to medium term. I will also be working on a consulting project on Automation. This will focus on the future of automation in the new normal situation.
What trends and developments are capturing your attention today in technology and business operations?
I believe that companies will explore automation and security solutions. This is attributed to the adversity due to COVID-19. The large companies will look at an integrated approach to leveraging automation, artificial intelligence and analytics based on their client needs. Permutations and combinations of these activities will result in new use cases to serve the evolving needs of customers. This will take a while as the enterprises are focusing on their impending needs to sail through the stabilization phase of COVID-19 effectively.
How are the India-heritage IT service providers dealing with the current COVID-19 crisis, Ram? Do you foresee some major issues with clients occurring as a result of moving so many staff into home-working situations? And do you see this eventually returning to the same delivery model as before when all this is over… is will we see something different emerge?
We should look at this aspect by tiers of IT companies, end-user businesses and the types of services. Clients in industries such as BFSI, government, and manufacturing will not want this situation forever. They would be keen to see their supplier side employees back in the onshore, offshore and nearshore centers. The nearshore focus might increase as clients would want to stay closer and adopt new ways of working with the suppliers. Secondly, the large companies have the advantage to convince their clients and get more of regular application development and maintenance work transitioned to them. Clients will have a lot to handle after the current situation. IT suppliers can help them by sharing their load in regular IT services. This may not be easy for mid-tier and small IT companies due to the typical challenges around cash flow management and scale of operations.
Secondly, “Work from Home” situation will depend on the level of trust established with the client and the lack of time-tested security solutions.
When the COVID-19 ends, the IT world will be business as usual. This does not mean that the companies will not carry the lessons learned from the current situation. The large and mid-tier companies will start in-house activities to improve the ways of working remotely. Large companies have already started looking at strengthening their security solutions either organically or inorganically. We will get to see Agile increasingly becoming mainstream across the majority of suppliers.
And, what do you do with your spare time (if you have any…)
I watch cricket, specifically test cricket. I also love outdoor jogging, and reading books on a variety of subjects. One thing that I have been trying since my college days is to understand more about this world from a non-linear perspective than just feeling convinced with linear theories.
Well… certainly an interesting time to make a career change Ram… we eagerly await the result of our COVID-19 work and seeing your first pieces!