The Skilling Wizard

Rekha Menon is taking Accenture into the future by re-training the workforce.
 Goutam Das   New Delhi     Print Edition: October 8, 2017
The Skilling Wizard
REKHA MENON Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture in India (Photo: Nilotpal Baruah)

The IT industry, even a few years back, wouldn't have imagined hiring cross-functional design thinkers, people with ethnographic skills, anthropologists, the "creative types". But they do now. The industry is in the middle of a long disruption and that means companies have to hire new kinds of talent while up-skilling their existing workforce. Transactional work is getting automated.

Employees are expected to do more value-added, more intelligent work. Seventy per cent of Accenture's technology workforce in India has been re-skilled over the past two years - that pivot was the company's No.1 priority. Consider the scale of that task. India is today Accenture's largest geography - the company employs more than 150,000 people in the country overall. While it does not give a count of its technical workforce, that's more than a significant chunk. The Chairman and Senior Managing Director at Accenture in India, Rekha Menon, says her company led peers in that journey to the digital, part of it because the talent got ready in quick time. Customers, across industries, needed to adopt to new technologies. Accenture called it "Rotating to the New". In the quarter ended May 2017, the company's net revenues from "the New" - which includes digital, cloud, and cyber security-related services among others - were approximately $4.7 billion, or 50 per cent of the total. "Globally, we started calling out our digital revenues two years ago. Part of this meant that all people are skilled in new technologies," she says. SMAC (Social, mobile, analytics, and cloud) skills, however, are now hygiene factors. "We are starting on the next phase - cyber security is a big area. We are also accelerating big data and analytics, AI, and Virtual Reality," says Menon. Her other highs over the past year included ensuring that innovation remained a top priority. Recently, the company opened an Innovation Hub in Bangalore. Menon says Accenture has also accelerated its collaboration with startups over the past one year. "We have engaged with 50 start-ups. We are opening up the boundaries."

 

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