Disruptive technologies are increasingly becoming an integral part of the workplace. However, as workplace demographics are transforming, adapting to the latest technology trends in the workplace becomes a challenge for employees.
In a recent conversation with CXOToday, Sindhu Gangadharan, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at SAP Labs, explains why the need of the hour is to make the workforce ready for the next-level of technology disruption and how companies can match the evolving needs of today’s ‘intelligent enterprise’.
CXOToday: What according to you are the biggest tech trends this year for Indian enterprises?
Sindhu Gangadharan: India is fast moving toward becoming a digitally advanced country and we are witnessing significant change in the way businesses are transforming. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), Internet of Things (IoT), etc. are speeding the pace of innovation and creating radical changes in every industry.
Adoption of cloud solutions have increased and this will further accelerate. This year will see many companies evolve into what we call as the ‘Intelligent Enterprises’, or in other words, those that are using technology to fundamentally change the way they work, and are unleashing tremendous value in the process. It is through these emerging technologies that companies can gain deep analytical insights into their business and adapt their business processes to the fast pace of change in the marketplace. This however means that companies have to prepare their workforce to reach the next level of digital disruption.
CXOToday: Do you think the workforce, especially in India, is currently ready for the next phase of technology disruption?
Sindhu Gangadharan: India’s talent ecosystem is diverse and has a strong legacy. However, it is also experiencing the perfect storm of rapidly changing skills requirements. About 40% of employers report difficulties in finding skilled talent as per a recent Nasscom Future Skills Report. The need of the hour is to bridge this gap and make the entire workforce ready for the next phase of technology disruption.
And this requires not just reskilling and upskilling initiatives, but also a certain extent of cultural change. Of the 4 million jobs in the industry today, the nature of 60-65% is likely to change over the next five years and new jobs will emerge. A talent pipeline for the future needs to be built and the existing workforce needs to be reskilled.
We should begin from the grassroots with educational institutes investing in deep tech courses and move to organizations enabling to the workforce to enhance those skills. More than technological disruption, we are looking at the workforce as an enabler for the transformation. Businesses are changing, but it is not possible to make an enterprise change without its people. Today, the entire workforce might not be at the peak of tackling the disruption, but we will soon get there.
CXOToday: How can companies bring more skilled employees in the workplace, especially in the areas of tech-related research and retain the top performers?
Sindhu Gangadharan: The challenge is faced when companies try to scout for talent in the industry rather than investing in their employees. Keeping in mind the current technology renaissance taking place, technology companies should invest on their workforce and equip them to drive insights. Companies can leverage their expertise and knowledge banks to empower their employees to understand the nuances and requirements, which will further enable their business.
For example, at SAP learning happens all the time and in different ways – on the job, through interactions with peers, and via formal learning activities. Since our people are our greatest asset, we invest in them to ensure that every aspect of their learning is covered and keep them one step ahead of the digital transformation. We have created a culture of continuous and collaborative learning which ensures that all our employees are ready to face the current and future challenges in the technology landscape and thereby help our customers run better.
CXOToday: Apart from creating a strong workforce, how is SAP Labs working with its partner ecosystem to enrich customer experience?
Sindhu Gangadharan: With the rapid change in technology landscape, companies need to stitch together effective partnerships that can leverage the emerging technologies and provide value to customers. Many India technology companies are committed to working with their partner ecosystem and get into new alliances to help customers exceed their expectations and maintain a competitive edge.
Today, it’s important that customers conveniently and quickly get access to applications that they need to help them speed up their growth. This is why, we created our SAP App Center, through which customers around the world can discover, try, buy, deploy and manage applications developed by our partners, knowing that each app has been tested for quality and certiﬁed for integration with SAP solutions.
We’re currently curating over a wide range of apps on the SAP App Center developed by partners across the globe, all designed to help SAP customers enhance and extend their enterprise and line-of-business solutions and enable partners to monetize their intellectual property.
CXOToday: What does SAP Labs India plan for 2020?
Sindhu Gangadharan: In 2020, we are dedicated to creating disruptive solutions for our customers and partners to help them become ‘Intelligent Enterprise’ and will also continue to be recognized as the best company to work for in India. SAP Labs India has a lot in store for the coming year and our plans are focused across four pillars – making SAP Labs India the most innovative, collaborative, and customer-centric development Center, having an end-to-end product focus, with our employees being recognized for their thought leadership and innovative mindset and ensuring that diversity and inclusion are at the core of our day-to-day work culture.