India's largest software services firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has hired over 20,000 employees in the US over the last five years, which has reduced its work visa dependency and de-risked business significantly. The Mumbai-based company, in its 2019-20 annual report, said it has accelerated its localisation programmes.
"Our delivery model has evolved over the last few years. Our Location Independent Agile promotes systematic collaboration across distributed teams and reduces the need for co-location.
"This, coupled with greater use of managed services contracting models have given us more flexibility around where our teams are based," TCS Executive Vice President and Global Head - Human Resources Milind Lakkad said.
He said TCS has hired over 20,000 employees in the last five years in the US, making it one of the top job creators in IT services and consulting.
"Every year, we hire hundreds of fresh engineering graduates and train them on new technologies. In FY2020, we hired over 2.5 times our usual fresher intake, and also made the training more account contextual, accelerating their ability to play productive, client-facing roles. For very short-term assignments, we use sub-contractors," he explained.
Lakkad said all these steps have brought down TCS' use of work visas to "a small fraction of what it used to be five years ago, de-risking our business significantly."
Over the past few years, Indian IT firms have significantly increased hiring in the US and other international markets as these countries have taken steps to tighten their work visa regimes.
America accounted for 52.2 per cent of TCS' Rs 1,56,949 crore revenue in 2019-20, while 30.6 per cent revenue came from Europe. India and 'others' geographies contributed 5.7 per cent and 11.5 per cent to the fiscal's revenue, respectively.
Lakkad said virtualisation of many activities with SBWS (Secure Borderless Workspaces) will reduce the need for travel and co-location of employees even further.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, TCS pivoted to a new operating model called SBWS, using which it has been able to continue supporting customers in their mission critical operations as well as transformational projects.
The company, which employs over 4.48 lakh staff, said SBWS will continue to be an integral part of its new operating model and represents the future of work.
TCS CEO and Managing Director Rajesh Gopinathan, in his message in the annual report, said SBWS helps TCSers enjoy a better quality of life, while making service delivery more resilient as the fully distributed model is better suited for business continuity.
He added that customers are comfortable with this model and want the company to take more work that others are not able to handle.
"This has given us the confidence to come out with a bold new Vision 25x25. We believe that by 2025, only 25 per cent of our associates will need to work out of our facilities at any point of time; and every associate will be able to realize their potential without spending more than 25 per cent of their time in a TCS office," he noted.
It is not just TCS employees who are logging into work digitally now. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, TCS will hold its annual general meeting (AGM) virtually this year on June 11.
TCS AGMs are held in Mumbai -- which is among the worst coronavirus-affected cities in the country. The annual event sees significant attendance from shareholders to hear management views on business decisions and get insights into the future course for the company.