Puneesh: How do you think, the role of ERP has evolved in not only transforming the businesses across the globe but also as a career option for young IT students?
Lalit: ERP is now mainstream. During my stint in companies like Infosys, Cambridge Technology partners I have seen the revenues of IT service companies shrinking in the ADM space and increasing in the ERP vertical space. This also brings in challenges for the IT service companies in terms of skilled manpower requirements jumping up, based on growth. Also ERP implementation has its own challenges in terms of the fact that the competencies required for resources working on ERP is highly domain focused. This brings in a situation that the normal IT training requirement of service companies has to be fine tuned to cover domain. So while ERP goes mainstream it is also now a career option for young IT students. We have noticed at SICSR that a major chunk of our placements from the MBA(IT) batch caters to requirements of IT service companies both Indian MNC’s and other MNC’s in the ERP space. This has also led us to restructuring our curriculum to include ERP. A recent trend is also manpower requirements on ERP available in SaaS mode like Salesforce.com
Puneesh: What was the impact of the recent economic downturn on global ERP initiatives in your view and what mitigants you initiated in Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research to make your students recession resistant?
Lalit: The recent economic downturn actually resulted in IT departments trying to do more from their current ERP implementations and delay or decelerate IT spending on new ERP packages. At SICSR our focus was onto add more domain and technology skills to our bouquet of offerings to our students. This was to ensure that they can get onto roles related to management of technology and management by technology. Our focus covered technologies related to Cloud Computing and also Infrastructure Management. The other areas where we focused on where Entrepreneurship, Software Quality Process, Business Intelligence/Data Warehousing, Banking & Capital Markets and Information Security
Puneesh: Tell us something about the topic of your current research on why Indian products could not reach to the level of Indian services at global level and how will your research benefit others
Lalit: Indian products while being good, have not been mainstream like the Microsoft and Oracles of the world. This puzzle is an interesting one and has many dimensions to it. While Indians work for the MNC’s of the world for product development and design, there are not many Indian product companies which have touched the sky. Some of the attributes to this puzzle relate to the fact that revenue growth is easier in a service company and many of us are not ready for the long haul for a product company. Also noticeable is the fact that a lot of us have ignored the Indian market and lack the strong marketing skills, and leadership which the Steve Jobs, Gates of the world have. This is also coupled with the fact that the VC culture in India has not been as strong as it is in the US. This research intends to solve this puzzle and be a sounding board to all Indians who would love to build a product, a product company and make the software product brand “MADE IN INDIA” powerful. If this research can help even one Indian IT product company become a Microsoft or a Google I think then the research has brought in value. Also I feel that research ought not ape all that happens in the Americas and I feel that leads to a “ME TOO” culture in Research. In short it has to be contextual and hence this is something I am passionate about and want to do it
Puneesh: Where do you think Indian B-Schools stand against the world’s best today and where do you see them in 5 years and why?
Lalit: Indian B-Schools while rated good, are still not as revered as the Harvards or the Stanfords of the world. At the same time most of the focus is on placements and this has become a yard stick for all Indian B-Schools. The focus on placements is so great that all other things are not as much priority and all this leads to hysteria on all B-schools clamoring to do one upmanship on placements. Also most of the Indian B-Schools, a lot of focus is on Teaching rather than research. This leads me to think as to what is our differentiator? A true Indian B-School will be one which differentiates itself on delivering education relevant and contextual to India while at the same time being International in its approach. The primary issue with Indian B-schools is that they only focus on teaching and not research. We have to move from a system of knowledge dissemination to knowledge creation. In order to be a world class B School we need to globalize our curriculum and also our faculty. The other aspect we need to look at is our students lack students work experience. Students in India are learning, more learning and yet more learning for knowledge which they can apply later. At the same time it is now the right time for Indian B-Schools to innovate and come up with an educational model like the Indian Offshoring Service companies came in with a Global Delivery Model which made India the hub for all software development. Another serious thought or direction is the use of Education Technology where the Indian B-Schools lack. An example is how MIT came up with Open Education Resources like MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW).
Puneesh: What message you would like to give to the budding and bloomed IT leaders and how should they shape their vision and effort direction to keep themselves on the top of IT landscape of world?
Lalit: The budding and bloomed IT leaders have a lot to chip in for. We all know how the world is becoming smaller and smaller. Anyone wanting to enter the IT arena has to watch out for technologies like Cloud Computing, Virtualization, Information Security, Business Intelligence/ Data Warehousing, Infrastructure Management and Open Source. At the same time the global delivery model is under pressure to deliver more from less. Transformation, Innovation are the new buzzwords. No longer are clients satisfied with Cost Savings. We are also seeing a change in the Software Development Methodologies like AGILE, SCRUM, LEAN going forefront coupled in with Business Process Management going mainstream. I think the budding leaders need to watch out for all the above recalibrate, renovate and TRANSFORM themselves to deliver for all that the clients are now looking in for with technologies that did not exist before. The question is that the world is ready for CHANGE are the budding and bloomed IT leaders ready and capable to deliver the CHANGE
It was really an excellent and learning discussion with him and I am sure the readers would have enjoyed picking these pearls of wisdom from a senior expert like Lalit.
His Brief Bio:
Lalit Kathpalia is a growth oriented IT professional with 23 years of work experience both in India and abroad in software development, training, program management and project management, ERP over varied platforms and diverse software. He started his career in the IT industry with Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd in Mumbai and then worked in several companies including Infosys Technologies, Cambridge Technology Partners (CTP), Larsen & Toubro Ltd, HSBC Global Technology Centre and Computer Horizons.
Before joining Symbiosis SICSR, Lalit was the Chief Delivery Officer for CELTEM Knowledge Solutions and Delivery Anchor for the Banking Unit, APAC of Infosys Technologies. Lalit has played a pivotal role in starting the Student Mentoring Program and enhancing the Software Development and Research Cell with Live projects. Lalit has also worked to make a tremendous difference to placements at SICSR and the use of Education Technology with concepts like Blended Learning, Learning Management Systems. Lalit believes passionately in the motto of SICSR – “Building future leaders for the IT industry worldwide” and stands by it.