There is dearth of trained IT manpower

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Aug 6 2012, 06:01am hrs
Navyug Mohnot is regarded as the face of the quality movement in the Indian IT and BPO industry. After his B Tech from IIT Delhi, he went to the US on a fellowship, to do a PhD from the University of Rochester. He returned to India and set up QAI India in 1994 to evangelise the concepts of process and quality. Over the years, QAI has pioneered the deployment of best practices in the area of operational excellence. Of late, the firm has aggressively moved into addressing business opportunities in the BPO, telecom, BFSI and other service industries. We are currently evangelising concepts around innovation key to the next orbit for growth. We are also working with the youth of today to make them more employable, he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

How has your journey at QAI been so far

The journey has been not only long and exciting, but also equally rewarding and satisfying. When we set up QAI in India, IT industry exports were under $100 million. We all know what that number is today!

Back then when we set up QAI, the charter was to cater to, rather than compete with, players in the IT industry. Over the years we evangelised concepts around process, quality and operational excellence. We have undertaken innumerable consulting assignments, trained and certified over 1,50,000 people, bought and then sold a company in UK, acquired one in USA, raised multiple rounds of capital, have serviced clients in 30 countries and most importantly have had fun doing so.

And then QAI moved onto to addressing operational excellence opportunities in the BPO, telecom and BFSI and other service industries, incorporated in Singapore, Malaysia and China, and are currently evangelising concepts around innovationkey to the next orbit for growth. QAI is also working with the youth of today to make them more employable.

What is QAI all about

After the strategy consulting companies answer the where and what; QAI comes in with the hows. We are in the business of advisory and consulting in the area of process improvement at the organisational level and building the skills and competencies of the workforce. Moreover, going by Phil Crosbys advice, QAIs credo to try being reliable and useful to our clients worldwide. I think we have done a rather satisfactory job of that.

When did the concept of quality and process improvement come to India

The manufacturing industries have had mature processes, methodologies and tool sets for a long while the IT industry started to really adopt around the early nineties. The whole idea of ISO 9000 gained popularity given the regulation of ISO 9000 certification for exports to Europe. This was followed by the widespread adoption of CMM, and CMMI. Then became popular Six Sigma and now Lean and TRIZ, the People CMM, ITIL, TRIZ for Innovation and countless other frameworks. The ESCM, COPC up until a few years ago for the BPO industry, TL 9000 for telecom, ISO 20000 for IT service management are currently in vogue. The latest model for the service industry is the CMMI for services from the Carnegie Mellon University.

Organisations journeys towards process, operational and business excellence is an ongoing series of journeys and newer approaches seem to be evolving all the time.

What were the triggers

Most actions in industry are motivated by economics. The journeys towards excellence were precipitated by the requirement of ISO 9000 certification for exports to Europe. Additionally, over the years, QAI hosted approximately one hundred thought leaders and gurus to India to lecture and introduce advanced concepts. I recall CG Smith Software in Bangalore caught the fancy of the world in becoming the second Level 5 company in the world after NASAs centre. The case studies demonstrating return on investment (ROI) got circulated. Top management saw value, marketing mileage and cost savings.

Are companies that go in for certification successful

Is there a casual relationship between certification and successI cannot conclusively claim. There are many factors to profitability and continued success certification alone is not an orbit changer. However, what certification can definitely do is enhance profits through greater productivity and quality, collapsing cycle times, reducing rework, and greater customer satisfaction.

Is there a dearth of trained manpower in the country

Yes there is, and thats why the industry needs to and quite effectively resorts to such creative practices. There is also a dearth of qualified and inspirational teachers and a dearth of senior management numbers, given the demand, growth and requirements of the industry at large.

Your roadmap for the education space...

Our immediate objective is to take our consulting and advisory to a global level while taking trainings, certifications and skill building solutions to local institutions. We have put in place a Source and Hire model. We, for our corporate customers, do the sourcing, training, assessment and certification of talent and provide them skilled manpower. We have created diploma and certificate courses along with add on courses for embedding into educational institutes. The whole value chain is very positive with a win-win for all parties.