Wipro has revamped its in-house training support for employees and launched at least three technical training programs over the past year to reskill its staff in newer areas of technology, especially digital, amid evolving customer needs in a rapidly changing technology landscape.
This is part of an organizational renovate being undertaken at India’s third largest software exporter by CEO TK Kurien with a focus on heavy automation of commoditized service lines and creating a leaner and multi-expert workforce.
The efforts come at a time when Wipro’s rivals such as Infosys are also rapidly overhauling their training framework in recognition of the fact that employees need to be reskilled on a large scale, and top talent needs to be identified quickly and separated from the rest of the pack to work on the toughest and most challenging new-age customer projects.
The three new programmes — ACME (All-round Capability Model of Excellence), UpScale and Cutting Edge — are part of a drive to skill in multiple areas, unlike in the past when the focus was mostly on learning one skill well, Wipro’s head of talent transformation Vishwas Santurkar told an interview.
Santurkar [ vice president at Wipro] says that “(ACME) has five dimensions of skills. Technology is one obviously. Second is domain. The third dimension is functional areas. The quality processes, especially with Agile methodology coming in, the Agile methodologies and those areas is a fourth dimension which we feel is very important for an employee to learn. And the fifth is behavioural skills”.
The Upscale program will place an emphasis on learning new skills, in addition to an employee’s existing area of occupation, which fits into Wipro’s new strategy of linking incentives to the ability to cross-sell several service offerings.
In March, during a meeting with analysts, Kurien had said that the company was putting a new incentive scheme in place, where incentives would be linked to incremental revenue and would also make it compulsory for account managers to cross-sell at least three of the company’s five service offerings for them to earn variable pay.
He also says that “UpScale looks at what are the surround skills in your core skill area which an employee can take up. And the whole idea was that you have one core skill in which you have deep knowledge. On top of that, you take up another two skills”.
The third programme, Cutting Edge, ties into the company’s new digital strategy and will attempt to identify the company’s top technical talent and highly skilled programmers who will be rewarded and incentivised differently from the rest of the organization.
Santurkar says that “Cutting Edge is meant for seasoned developers. It is by invitation. People can’t just get into the programme. People have to nominate themselves. And then we evaluate what the person has done and whether they have the ability to get into a skill like this”.
“In Cutting Edge, what we do is we run a three-five day hands-on workshop driven programme. DMTS people come, they facilitate this programme and we have a network of specialists in Wipro. Since they have undergone these Cutting Edge programmes, they get labelled that they are Cutting Edge certified,” he added.
Indian IT’s traditional Fortune 500 customers are undertaking large-scale technology transformations as they are being challenged by digital firms such as Amazon and Facebook.
Customers such as retailer Target are pressurising vendors such as Infosys and Wipro, and asking for highly-skilled technical staff that is capable of solving complex, new-age technology problems.
“I think we are facing the highest levels of disruption in our history. If we don’t change and adapt, we won’t be around a few years from now,” said Navneet Kapoor, managing director of Target India in a recent interview.
Santurkar said that the Cutting Edge programme will be scaled up further this year as part of Wipro’s digital push. Other than these new training initiatives, Wipro has also created a Digital Architecture Academy and also a separate academy that focuses on Open Source.
Santurkar also says that “The objective of the Digital Architecture Academy, is to train the existing architects on the digital technologies and how to architect systems for the digital world. Be it cloud, or be it analytics, any of these areas.”