AI is becoming main part of most businesses: Capgemini India CEO

AI is becoming main part of most businesses: Capgemini India CEO

The AI technologies are getting more mature and Capgemini's recent survey says companies are using it for prediction and as a main part of the business

Capgemini India's CEO Ashwin Yardi Capgemini India's CEO Ashwin Yardi

With the company's recent survey showing over 55 per cent of CXOs looking to scale up artificial intelligence (AI) adoption, Capgemini is focusing more on expanding its portfolio across AI technologies. The AI technologies are getting more mature and the survey says companies are using it for prediction and as a main part of the business. Also, with nearly 95 per cent of workforce operating from home and the company moving the entire hiring and training process virtually, Capgemini India has been shaping up an entirely new working mode since the onset of the pandemic. In an exclusive conversation with Business Today's Rukmini Rao and Rajeev Dubey, Capgemini India's CEO Ashwin Yardi discusses the latest trends, innovation and workforce ramp-up plans for India. Edited excerpts:

BT: Since the onset of the pandemic what has changed for Capgemini India?

Ashwin Yardi: Since March, 95 per cent of our headcount has been working from home. They are fully enabled and functional. We were among the first ones to reach such a high percentage of work from home. We continue to work from home. All aspects of our business today are virtual. In fact, for our 2021 campus hiring we have completed around 100,000 assessments online. We continue to hire, on-board and train all our employees virtually. So today almost entire business runs virtually including delivery. Moreover, a larger number of clients, especially in the European region, are now more comfortable working from offshore. This openness about offshoring will benefit the IT industry overall.

BT:  With over 1.2 lakh employees in India, how do you see workforce management in the coming days?

Ashwin Yardi: We have defined a new normal model. Today we have 95 per cent-plus employees working from home. Before COVID-19, we have had a flexible work policy with usually 10 to 15 per cent of them working from home. We are now shaping up our entire model to make it a business-as-usual that means some new ways of working and collaborating with different teams on a sustained basis with new infrastructure facilities. We will start to roll it out progressively from next year. COVID-19 has made us realise a significant part of our business can be done virtually, although the answer lies somewhere in between.

BT: Capgemini recently acquired engineering consulting firm Altran. From an India perspective, how do you plan to leverage the set of capabilities they bring in?

Ashwin Yardi:  Capgemini has had a footprint of engineering and R&D business and Altran came on board with close to 14,000 people in India. The key philosophy of acquiring Altran was that it came with a strong portfolio and offerings around what we call as operational technologies- designing products, building products including the embedded software. Capgemini has a much larger footprint of IT - Digital Cloud and data. So, we feel this is a good integration of IT and OT and that's how we are starting to bring it together and take it to the market with a couple of big focus areas being data AI and 5G. Altran also comes with a strong network and 5G core technology capabilities and jointly we have already started offerings in the space of 5G and edge computing. In India, specifically our market footprint is relatively lower but lot of our clients have a strong India footprint. We have been taking the offers to their GICs. It is a part of our global delivery model.

BT: In the IT services space, a lot of large transformational deals have been happening quite consistently, especially in the digital space. What is your game plan around such deals and the margin play?

Ashwin Yardi:  We look at deals from multiple dimensions. We also have an ambition to be strategic partners with certain clients. Usually, the digital deals are with higher margin. Today they could be a part of a very large deal, but the component of it could be small or it could be much larger. So, every deal is looked in a different context. On the margins we are at 12 per cent-plus and we have given an overall guidance. We want to improve our margin over the next three-five years.

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