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Capgemini to set up CoEs in India this year: Chief

French IT company Capgemini on Thursday said it will be setting up dedicated centres of excellence (CoE) for driving innovation efforts.

The company, which employs half of its over 3 lakh-strong workforce in India, also sees the number of Indians at senior executive level growing in the next few years, its chief executive Aiman Ezzat said speaking at the annual NTFL organised by IT industry body Nasscom.

“We have a number of labs around innovation and we’re going to set up new centers of excellence on …Internet of Things, smart factory, intelligent supply chain in India this year,” Ezzat said.

The chief executive said the company has hired sector experts and not just consultants in India to set up and operate platforms dedicated for specific industries like auto, aerospace, telecom etc because it believes that India is not just a location from where it delivers work for clients as a backoffice, but also a hub of innovation.

Expressing satisfaction with the performance from India, Ezzat termed it as “phenomenal in terms of value creation”.

“We have grown the pool of Indian executives in the firm and you see in the future, they’ll probably be more Indian senior executives overall in Capgemini,” he said, adding that at present it has about 100 Indians as global account executives who manage clients, from zero three years ago.

At a time when attrition is very high in the industry, Ezzat said he believes the “next best recruit is a person who just resigned” and the company has been bringing people back after six months or a year.

“The first thing you have to do is change your mentality around talent. Accept the fact there is more fluidity. We also bring people more easily, you know, because digital allows us to be much more efficient in terms of hiring, onboarding, and training talent,” he added.

It is important to take care of people by looking at individual needs, he said, pointing out that a wish to switch projects after spending six months on one has to be accepted by the manager.

Proactively building talent is also very important and the firm is looking at various avenues like asking people who have just retired to join for a three-month project, Ezzat said.

Ezzat said the COVID era has led to a period people call the ‘great resignation’ but added that companies have to look at leveraging it.

“I can access talent in different cities where I’m not today, because now I accept the fact that people can work potentially 100 per cent remotely, so I can have a talent pool. I can onboard a train with people at a very low cost. So I can go and have students, I can have people retire, they can have somebody who has no technological background,” he said.

There is a shortage of 2 lakh hands for cloud-related work alone and firms have to continue to invest in building skills because availability of talent is a challenge, he said. PTI

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