Covid has expedited a lot of thinking and innovation about how we do businesses globally and push boundaries
CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Dr. Patricia Connolly- CEO & Partner, SMC Squared
- While setting up GCC in India, how has SMC Squared enabled growth in the segment?
Yeah absolutely. So our perspective on growth comes from our deep insight of US and multinational companies and how they look at this question. So we are able to promote growth in India based on the deep roots that we have from Corporate US experience. I have over 30 years of experience working in corporate America.So, we understand what they are looking for, what they need strategically. And we are able to be a partner with them, not just in thinking about numbers of immediate but numbers in growth. So, for example we spent the morning with a new client, that is understanding very tactically what they are going to be doing in the next 12 months. We are really looking ahead five years with that and looking at the growth opportunities strategically, stemming from the IT but also business services, manufacturing, distribution and sales. So, because we take a strategic view and partner in that way, we are able to get a much broader sense of growth and opportunities in India.
- Future plan for India –Hiring, investments, infrastructure etc.
Oh absolutely. In terms of hiring, even in the last few months, we have tripled in size. In terms of seeds, we are on this incredible ramp. As our perspective during Covid, we continued to grow. US companies were coming to us for assistance in attracting talent as they were moving away from other geographies. Having other issues during COVID, they were looking for help and assistance from us and we of course chose India. We chose India even though we had massive experience globally with IT centers across the world. But we chose India because we think this is the best place for talent and innovation. So, we are really very focused on bringing jobs to India and bringing great opportunities to those individuals joining the companies we work with. In addition to that, companies are very interested in having an extension of themselves, their headquarters and their cultures seeded here in India. So, I happen to be seated in a brand new office place that we have developed and built for a company. This is a part of our core thing. In terms of infrastructure, not only are we looking at jobs for technology professionals in India but we are looking at construction jobs, and architects and the ongoing operation of these GCCs, as being great asset to India and future employment. So we look very broadly at that. We invest heavily in this. So, my company is a privately owned company. I am the CEO and one of the owners. I am actually the majority owner. So we invest in the infrastructure, put the capital in and really make sure that our clients are well suited with a very customized solution. We have quite a bit of investment rolling in right now.
- With the ongoing recession and mass layoffs, SMC Squared remains bullish on building IT capabilities for its GCCs, can you share some insights on this.
Sure, it’s no surprise that the US is in a recession period and it’s probably going to be that way until we have a transition from an election perspective at the federal level. So we are positioning ourselves to be an American servitude market where companies are making careful decisions and spending and we find that we are a great option for companies. They are looking at what we do to our system. We are able to be a very unique partner in this position. We don’t see our ability to promote India and sell our services and therefore build GCCs as things to build our economy. I’ll tell you a story, it’s also called a butyrous factor. So when the economy is poor in the United States, the things that really work and are very foundational to running a household and feeding your children and doing all those basic things, those are the things that continue to strive. So we have such a great business proposition and we feel so strongly about our position here in India. We are being looked at as the provider of services even when the economy is bad. So, we are very uniquely positioned unlike many other IT services organizations globally which see a downturn during this time.
- How is SMC Squared forecasting the hiring outlook in terms of skill, technical workforce or even diversity hiring?
Yes , great question. So we are actively looking at not only skills that are heavily demanded in the market but we are also looking ahead to what is coming in technology. We have a management that are engineers, computer scientists. So we are keenly interested in the technologies that are coming. And being able to bring those skills to US companies that may be lagging in bringing and acquiring that talent in the United States. So we are very keen on technology and being aware of trans and being ready to provide that opportunity to our US companies. Switching gears to your second part of the question from a diversity hiring perspective. As you may have noticed I happen to be female. You know, I think women get smarter as we have many things going on in our lives. I have said that on stage in front of people, many many times. I think I will say that more. But, I feel like we have this great opportunity to recognise India’s tremendous education system and all of the women that are in this education system are coming out and providing just Incredibly great opportunities for them. But as a company, we are uniquely positioned because we are not just looking at Diversity hiring as a starting gate. It’s all the way through their careers. Very very important. And I talk to the client, the C-level colleagues that I have in client organizations. Male or female, doesn’t matter. We have the same conversation about nurturing this talent work. It’s really the hidden gem that we need to be paying careful attention to. As women progress in their career, maybe they get married, maybe they have a child or two or three. We want to make sure that they know from SMC’s perspective and the companies that we work with that there is an open door to come back to the workplace when they are ready, to be upskilled, continue to take training, to know that their jobs are safe and they are valued. So, we don’t want anybody walking away from us saying you know, I can’t do this with this company. This is exactly the opposite. So this is exactly the opposite. So we have a very very open door. Everybody is welcome at the table. But we recognise that women have additional demands put on them and we want to make sure that we are assisting them in the process and we are valuing them throughout their career. So we have got some wonderful examples of hiring women into some very very strong roles. We just want to keep doing that. But we have a lot of young women as well and we want them to know that they have seats here. That’s the kind of culture we want to build.
- How GCCs are contributing to global business, what are the tech abilities and advancements to meet growing demand from business partners
It’s almost the minority of companies that are doing this globally either from supply or demand, sales perspective, talent perspective. I mean we are so global in nature. Actually you know, Covid in some way did us a favour. It kind of expedited a lot of thinking and innovation about how we do business globally. So, we are really embracing that and making sure that companies know that the old barriers are probably not there. Not the way they had been . We want to make sure that we are assisting organizations in their growth strategies. So if they are looking at adding manufacturing or distribution in India, we are wanting to be a partner with them to make sure that they know that they can do it. We end up connecting with partners that we have within India to help them.So, it’s almost like a tribe of supporters that help each other grow, both in India and with clients on a multinational basis. So, it’s very fun. I really enjoy my role. It’s a technical role in some senses. You know, we are technical people but it is a highly business creative role and I love the strategy of it. So, we are always looking out, you know, not just the typical three years. We are looking at 5-7 years in the future and how we can create great opportunities.
- Potential for other operations throughout India
So, we are currently talking with partners about operations in the entertainment space and I really wish I could share that with you but I can’t. You know some very very fun opportunities are there . It will be just a blast if this all happens. You will be so excited to bring your family and friends.We are looking at, as I mentioned, manufacturing and distribution very heavily, to be able to assist our clients in bringing those kinds of opportunities. With that, it brings a wealth of jobs, you know,it’s bringing whole new industries and whole new companies. So, we are really excited about that.
- Anything you would like to highlight on behalf of SMC Squared
Yes sure.There are a couple of things I am proud of. So, we are a women owned business and women-led business. My executive team – US and India, what I look at, director and above, is 60% women-led, which wasn’t a mandate or a quota, or any of that nature. It was just really being open to women having great opportunities. So, that’s one thing that we are really proud of. Another thing that we are really proud of is that in the United States , we are the market leader in bringing GCCs forward, specifically in India. There’s a lot of conversation about Latin America, South America, other geographies, and we are very pro pro India. That gets us a lot of attention because we have not only the data and the statistics but the great work experience with India teams that make that happen. We are the number 1 organization that is looked at, in this very unique niche. This is what we do and we do it very well. So, that makes us kind of a go-to for companies that are referring to us.