Digital services for most Indian companies
is around 25 per cent and growing. However, these firms still have over three-fourths of revenue coming from traditional services, which is declining rapidly. For those who work on such projects, despite investments by Indian IT firms to retrain staff, the year ahead will be much more challenging.
The year also saw the unions becoming more aggressive and seeking better work atmosphere for technology workers.
The industry also faced its worst period in a decade due to growing protectionism in the US, its main market, UK, and Singapore, where governments began cracking on visas that Indian workers used to travel to these nations to work on projects. In the US, President Donald Trump, who came to power promising to reduce moving of IT jobs to countries such as India, started new restrictions in issuing visas that discriminated against India-based IT services companies
and favoured local American technology firms such as Apple and Facebook.
To counter this, Indian firms began aggressively hiring fresh graduates from colleges in the US, looking to replicate the assembly line training model that they had built to grow the outsourcing industry. TCS now has over 30,000 local hires in the US, while Wipro says half of its team in the US are local Americans. Infosys plans to hire 10,000 people in the US.
However, the battle is only half won. Firms such as Infosys and TCS are fighting court cases from local US workers who have made allegations of discrimination. A hostile government just adds to the burden.
There have been spinoffs with this move too. Global firms who are looking for talent have stepped up the setting up of captive centres or are expanding their teams in India.
Back home, TCS and Infosys underwent top management changes.
While it was a smooth transition at TCS with former CEO N Chandrasekaran being elevated as chairman of Tata Sons and R Gopinathan taking charge as the new head, at Infosys, it was the opposite.
Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani was forced to return to the helm to salvage the firm's reputation and bring stability back in the aftermath of the face-off between the former Infosys board and its founder N R Narayana Murthy. R Seshasayee, who was the chairman, quit after a public spat with Murthy after Vishal Sikka resigned from the company. There were allegations of wrongdoing in the severance pay given to former CFO Rajiv Bansal two years ago. Despite independent probes that gave a clean chit to the former board and CEO, Murthy insisted that the report be made public.
After his return, Nilekani gave them a clean chit and declined to make the report public citing confidentiality. He also tasked the team on a global hunt for a new CEO. The team selected Salil Parekh, a former Capgemini executive, as the next boss who will take over on January 2.