Indian IT much beyond exploiting cheap labour: HCL

SAN FRANCISCO: Indian technology companies have moved beyond exploiting availability of cheap labour in India to helping their clients reimagine their businesses, said Anand Birje, corporate vice president and head of the digital & analytics practice at HCL.

He said the partnership has gone beyond merely providing IT support to the client to cover every aspect of their business now. “The clients would know their business best. But we are part of where they want to be,” he said, citing HCL’s partnership with Volvo announced recently, as the car major plans to shift to an all-electric future and also an era where many cars will be bought directly without going through dealerships.

Arthur Filip, executive vice president of sales transformation & marketing, spoke about the strong design and engineering inputs HCL is providing to its clients. “70% of the circuitry and the processors under the glass of Samsung smart TV are engineered by HCL,” he said. “Similarly, HCL has contributed to the designing of not just the electronics but also the fuselage of the new Boeing 787.”

“Labour arbitrage is not sustainable. We do not even talk about it. Now it is about a much larger engagement,” said Sunder Mahalingam, chief strategy officer, HCL Corporation. He said IT companies were involved in areas like finance, human resources, marketing, and are now moving to the cloud to gain efficiency and innovation.

Filip, however, said it was still important for countries to keep doors open for movement of quality manpower. He said they were trying to convey this to the highest levels of government in the US and other places, and spoke about how France has opened its doors for competent technology professionals. Such countries are going to be ahead of the pack, he said.

Another major thrust area is data analytics. Birje said data being the new oil, many companies had tonnes of data lying around in various places and in systems and also generate them on an ongoing basis. “We help them organise the data and leverage it to deliver a better product experience to their customers,” he added.

(The writer was in San Francisco at the invitation of HCL Technologies)