Ambient Impact

As a platform that aims to empower businesses, the company has enough innovations on its plate to keep talent occupied

Photograph by Vivan Mehra Photograph by Vivan Mehra

if you have started a religion, it helps to stay connected with your followers. At Microsoft, the seers from Redmond - from founder Bill Gates to current CEO Satya Nadella - know this well. As part of efforts to build a following, they have been systematically reaching out to India, following a similar pattern of interactions each time - meeting CEOs and addressing the developer community. Nadella followed the tradition during his just concluded visit to India. Only this time, the scale and level of engagement went much deeper considering that India matters both for talent sourcing (India operations have the biggest pool of engineers after the US) and business. Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, set the stage at the CEO Summit in Mumbai by pointing out that the tech giant works with some 3,00,000 companies in India. Nadella has characterised Microsoft "as a platform company" that was building each layer of the tech stack for the new era, and has written and spoken about the company "creating rich AI supercomputing; and we are making computing more ambient with multi-sense, multi-device experiences." To talent seeking to learn and grow, this means opportunities for developing technology for a far-reaching impact. That is why, apart from its compensation policies, the company has been ranked high on providing a clear career growth path and learning opportunities to employees.

The company is betting big on cloud and AI or 'intelligent cloud' in India, and plans to make its cloud computing platform Azure "the world's computer". Microsoft Azure has 57 data centre regions globally, with three centres in India, in Pune, Chennai and Mumbai. In fact, just a week before Nadella landed in India, Microsoft announced that with a view to advancing its commitment to invest in the country's engineering talent, it was launching its India Development Center (IDC) in the National Capital Region (NCR). The IDC NCR, as it is being referred to, "is Microsoft's third development centre in India, serving as a premier facility for driving cutting-edge innovation. The centre will build on Microsoft's commitment to tapping India's engineering talent to create solutions for global impact."

For Microsoft, it has been a long journey in India. In 1998, when it set up its first IDC in India in Hyderabad, it had just about 20 engineers and operated out of a facility rented from Natco Pharma. Today, it has a sprawling campus in the city's financial district housing thousands of people and a multi-layered parking lot for at least 4,000 cars and equipped with all the bells and whistles - ambience, recreation facilities, amphitheatre, cricket grounds, to name a few. Not to be missed is the Makerz lab where engineers can try out their ideas and build a better tomorrow.

The company, which positions itself as a platform and an ecosystem provider, operates all its technology groups in India - Artificial Intelligence, Cloud & Enterprise, Experience & Devices Group. "Going from a devices and services company to a mobile and cloud company, Microsoft has been has been creating a collaborative culture for software developers. It has been on a transition path from a culture of been-there-done-that to a culture of learning and experimentation with employees across the board working together. Therefore, there are opportunities to match one's aptitude and interest to the multiple venues for growing the business of the company," says S. Raghunath professor of Strategy and Chairperson, Centre For Corporate Governance and Citizenship at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, who has been following develoments in the IT and tech sector.