As demand for talent in niche technology areas such as data analytics gets fierce, some software companies are turning to universities and colleges to keep up with the digital revolution. Wipro Technologies, India’s third-largest software provider, is in talks with several engineering colleges and universities to introduce courses in data analytics as part of their curriculum.
Its goal: to expand analytics talent pool in the country and adapt to the changing business and technology landscape in India’s $108-billion information technology industry. “The reality is that Indian companies are scrambling for good talent in areas such as analytics, cloud and mobility,” said an industry source with direct knowledge of Wipro’s initiative, which is expected to be in the final stages of approval.
Once introduced, the programme will help Wipro introduce tailored courses in topics that are important to its ongoing business and reach out to a wider talent pool at the time of campus placements. “It’s the first of its kind in the Indian software sector, although students who undertake the programme are under no obligation to work for Wipro,” the source added.
The initiative is an extension of the company’s Wipro Academy of Software Excellence (WASE), where it offers science graduates an opportunity to do a Masters degree from the Birla Institute of Technology in Pilani. ET couldn’t independent verify the names or number of colleges where Wipro will offer courses.
The move comes at a time when India’s top software outsourcing companies are trying to build expertise in “Smac” – the acronym for social, mobility, analytics and cloud – that is expected to be a major source of their revenue in the coming years.
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As traditional outsourcing services such as application development, maintenance and testing gets commoditised, these companies expect their clients in the US and Europe to step up investments in new technologies, but the dearth of talent worries them.
A 2011 Mckinsey report predicted that IT industry will face a significant shortage of analytics talent, particularly of people with deep expertise in statistics and machine learning. The consulting firm said it expects a 50 per cent to 60 per cent gap between the supply and demand of people with deep analytical talent.
Over the past few quarters, software services companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and HCL Technologies have been partnering with startups and running in-house training programs to expand their expertise in these technologies. While Wipro recently partnered with Chennai-based startup Orangescape, Noida-based HCL Technologies, India’s fourth-largest technology firm, works with several startups.
Technology advisory firm Gartner estimates that the global business intelligence — which includes analytics — market will be $17.1 billion (Rs 1,02,000 crore) by 2016. TCS, India’s largest software provider, recently organised a two-day gathering with college deans and principals to speak to them about what the industry wants from academic institutions. Infosys, HCL Technologies and Mindtree said they do not have such partnerships at the moment, while a Wipro spokeswoman declined to comment.
In a note last week, Mumbai-based brokerage firm Kotak said Wipro is working on three large analytics contracts, each with potential to return $50-100 million over 3-5 years. Wipro gets 7.2 per cent of its nearly $7-billion (Rs 42,000) revenues from analytics practice, the brokerage said.
Data analytics company Mu Sigma in 2012 set up the Mu Sigma University that picks fresh engineering, computer science, and science grads from Tier 1 & Tier 2 colleges across India and the US and puts them through a training program in analytics. “The kind of talent – people with the right skill set, tool set and mindset – that are required to address the challenges businesses face has been hard to find,” said a Mu Sigma spokesperson.
Source: Economic Times