24 March 2016 06:59:28 IST

‘Protectionist moves might increase cost structures’

Cyient, Hyderabad,

Indian companies will find ways to overcome these measures, says Nasscom Chairman BVR Mohan Reddy

BVR Mohan Reddy is stepping down as the Chairman of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) in two weeks. He took charge at a time when protectionist moves began to hit the Indian IT industry again, threatening to increase cost structures. In an interview to Busin essLine , BVR, who is also the Executive Chairman of the Hyderabad-based engineering services firm Cyient Ltd, speaks on the challenges the industry is facing and the changing business and job landscape.

The rhetoric against offshoring accentuated in the US poll campaign and European Union countries is reported to have been resorting to restrictive measures. How these developments are going to impact the industry?

We’re seeing protectionist moves in various countries. This will have an impact on cost structures. Costs for companies might go up a little bit. But there’s no change in business prospects. Indian firms will find ways to overcome these measures. For one, they can go for local hiring.

But we have increased our engagement with the Indian government and with lawmakers and relevant committees in the US and other countries to voice our concerns. That the Indian government took up the visa fee hike issue with World Trade Organisation shows the intensity of our engagement.

What are the challenges the IT-BPO industry is facing globally?

Besides the attempts to bring in protectionist measures, the industry is faced with the challenge of disruptive technology landscape. This requires a different approach by companies. We had successfully faced similar transformative phases in the past. We will have to change our skill sets to address the challenges. The other challenge we face is cyber security. All the stakeholders in the industry value chain are concerned and we need to take measures to address this grave concern.

The job opportunities in the IT sector are coming down over a period of time. How is this landscape changing and what’s the kind of prospects it holds for job seekers?

Jobs are not coming down but the nature of jobs is changing very fast. You need to quickly update yourself with newer skills to suit the changing requirements of the industry. Disruptive technologies demand newer skill sets from job seekers. For one, cyber security in itself requires huge number of people. The US alone would require 30 lakh cyber security experts by 2020.

How the Nasscom as an organisation is evolving to take care of the demands from newer sectors within in the IT industry?

Based on the Narayana Murthy committee report, we have identified seven Sectoral Councils to have a specific focus on them. Internet and e-commerce, products, BPM and other sectors have grown tremendously in the last few years and they require a focussed approach. I have travelled extensively in the country to talk to our members and listen to their concerns. We have set up a social media window to provide a vent to our 1,800 members. We have set up a call centre too to take note of their concerns.

We have also started engaging the MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), who constitute the majority of the membership base, by making them inclusive in the Executive Council. We are attempting to bring them to mainstream and make them feel inclusive.