Idea is to capture innovation at grass-roots level
HCL Technologies, India’s fourth-largest IT services exporter, continues to drive innovation in the engineering and R&D segment, making high-value software contribution to products across industry verticals. GH Rao, president – engineering and R&D services, HCL Technologies, says its thrust will be on developing more products and solutions in sync with the latest advancements in tech-nology. Excerpts
What’s your strategy when it comes to developing products and solutions?
It is an important area for us. We do have teams developing solutions in various domains such as internet of things and telecom. We also have solutions cutting across business verticals. It is one of the key thrust areas for us and a differentiator.
What is likely to be the technology interplay between internet of things (IoT) and social, mobility, analytics and
SMAC will overlap with IoT a great deal. However, IoT would supersede SMAC in many ways as the latter has a very limited connotation. In case of IoT, the letter T is the big differentiator — it can mean anything and the possibilities are infinite.
Also, the word ‘digital’ has mostly got to do with how you run your business, since every product is becoming a service. IoT is much more broad-based.
Do you have long-term engagements with customers in the engineering and R&D segment?
There are long-term customers, though it is not like the traditional IT services of ADM or infrastructure. Our annuity business is quite different, where we constantly innovate and build different products for customers every year. We have customers with over 15 years of relationship. The stickiness in our business is quite high.
For engineering & R&D services, Japan is the second-biggest market, after the US. What are HCL’s plans for Japan?
We do good work in Japan with marquee clients as the country is synonymous with consumer electronics, automotive and heavy engineering. We do have a lot of Japanese customers.
How is HCL Technologies driving innovation?
We have three different fora within HCL to drive innovation. One is called ‘mad jam’ or make a difference jamboree, where we encourage grass root level engineers to come up with ideas and they are screened at the business unit level.
There is competition at the company level, and the ideas that win get funded so that they are actually implemented. The idea at HCL is to capture innovation at the grass root level. Second, innovation is not just something that can be done overnight — it has to be captured when it spontaneously occurs. For that, we have created a forum called the value creation framework. If an engineer has an idea and it is relevant, everybody is encouraged to participate in it. We also reward and recognise these thoughts. The third area is spot recognition for path- breaking ideas that don’t go through the structured process.