The offshore outsourcing we’ve seen in the IT industry since the beginning of this decade is a trend that’s at once encouraging and disconcerting. It’s heartening because it brings the benefits of free markets and economic globalization to places that previously have been marked by poverty and strife.
However, it’s also alarming because it causes qualified technology professionals in developed countries to lose their jobs due to purely bottom-line considerations, which can have ripple effects in the larger political and business spheres.
In a few ways, Hexaware Technologies, a global provider of IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services, is emblematic of this trend.
The company, which was founded in 1990, trades on the Mumbai and London stock exchanges. It operates six development centers — four in India and one apiece in Germany and Mexico — along with offices in North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim of Asia.
Hexaware’s stated mission is “to build value for customers through innovative use of technology and talent.” To that end, the organization is focused on delivering business results from technology solutions, and it specializes in business intelligence, business analytics, enterprise applications, transportation, IT in human resources and modernization of legacy systems.
Hexaware has about 175 active clients, 60 of which are Fortune 500 or Global 500 companies. Talent has played a large role in accomplishing all this in less than two decades.
Today, Hexaware employs 7,000 workers globally, many of which are technology professionals based in India. No matter what their background may be, they can all expect a standard hiring and training experience.
To begin with, the company looks for certain qualifications in candidates for employment, said Deependra L. Chumble, Hexaware’s chief people officer. “Education and background help us in short-listing people depending on the job requirements,” he said, adding that the ratio of hiring recent college graduates to experienced professionals is about 7-to-3.
“We look for both recent college graduates and already established IT professionals,” Chumble said.
“While we hire many new grads from engineering schools and management institutes to bring in fresh knowledge, we also hire experienced people to bring more expertise to the company.”
In particular, the company looks for experience with certain technologies and solutions, including but not limited to .Net, C++, Cobol, J2EE, Oracle DBA, MySQL, Sybase and HTML/Java Script. Additionally, Hexaware considers industry-specific experience in areas such as banking and finance, CRM, airlines, insurance, hospitality and logistics, along with technology-specific certification.
“Certifications help us in identifying the right people having the right skill sets and expertise,” Chumble said. “Certification and experience also help in showcasing to us and the clients that the expertise possessed by an individual is confirmed by a recognized industry organization and the IT professional has acquired the knowledge required to perform the same at a specified level. Hence, education and certifications both are valid and desirable.”
Moreover, certification is used to align talent within the organization, Chumble said. “Certifications play a major role in matching the right people with the right positions and roles. If a candidate has appropriate certification, then our initial applicant screening process is less time-consuming.”
Hexaware also takes into account proficiencies that aren’t purely technical. Key behavioral competencies include customer focus, process orientation, continuous learning, team building, strategic thinking, decision making, networking, communication, planning and organization and problem solving.
Once onboard, new hires can expect to go through a great deal of training. Hexaware has an extensive three-month program for recent college graduates, particularly those recruited from engineering schools and management institutions, called FTP (Foundation Training Program).
The four phases of FTP include:
Phase I – Three weeks of boot-camp training on:
- Soft skills
- Operating system concepts
- Programming concepts (such as algorithms, data structure, problem solving)
- Database concepts
- Languages (such as C++)
- Web technologies
Phase II A – Two weeks of foundation training on:
- Hexaware domain and practice
- ADM (analytical data management) life cycle
- Microsoft Office tools (Word / Excel / PPT)
- Case study
Phase II B – Six weeks of specialization training on:
- New technology
- Technologies such as .Net, USAS, AS/400, mainframe, Oracle, PL/SQL, BA/BI and various ERP applications
Phase III – One day of quality training, including information security
Phase IV – Two weeks of coaching and mentoring
For experienced professionals, the training is somewhat different. The company conducts specialized project-specific development based on the requirements and needs identified during appraisal of candidates. However, they still receive training on Hexaware domain and practice.
Hexaware also has defined career paths for its employees. The company is segmented into five verticals that offer growth opportunities to individuals in multiple career streams. Cross-functional movement across streams is encouraged per predefined criteria. The career streams include:
- Project management: This caters to delivery of client projects. It covers the entire life cycle of software projects such as development, application servicing and maintenance, testing, package configuration and analytics.
- Technology: This deals with developing competencies in technologies such as ERP solutions from providers such as SAP and Oracle, mainframes, business intelligence and business analytics, Java, .Net and software testing.
- Domain: This refers to developing competencies in industry verticals such as travel, transport, hospitality and logistics, asset management and domains such as finance, human resources, supply-chain management and CRM.
- Business development and account management: This covers creation and growth of lines of business through marketing, sales and account management efforts.
- Enabler: This function enables the other streams to effectively execute their functions. This is further classified into six sub-streams that include finance, human resources, administration and training.
As Hexaware expands and takes on new projects and clients, the specific competencies it looks for may change. However, it likely will continue to assess candidates on the basis of their experience, skills (technical and nontechnical) and certification.
– Brian Summerfield, firstname.lastname@example.org