Takeaways from Zinnov CXO Forum 2018


GICs take Center Stage

Ramesh Subramanian and Anup Khandelwal

We enjoyed participating in Zinnov’s CXO Forum at BMC, which took place in Pune last month. Zinnov’s CXO forum was an opportunity to receive innovative industry insights, product information, and guidance on digital enterprise management at Global Inhouse Centers (GICs).

The focus of the forum was to create a blueprint for the future for GICs. Technology-driven change is rapidly accelerating change and providing incredible opportunities for Indian GICs to play a larger role in leading top-of-mind investment priorities for MNCs. The forum seeded some good ideas that will be relevant for Infogain’s interactions with many of our GIC clients which I thought would be worthwhile to share in a larger forum.

Let’s look at Zinnov’s blueprint of a Digital Enterprise to understand the opportunities for Indian GICs:

Understanding the Digital landscape

The forum members acknowledged that they, and in fact most G500 enterprises, have suffered disruption by the so-called Digital Native companies. Large investments are being made to counter this onslaught, with automotive, software Internet firms accounting for nearly one-third of the G500 R&D spend. Research labs and CoEs are being established by large technology companies to pave the way for India-based digital work such as machine learning, much of which is currently concentrated in Bangalore.

Creating a Digital Workplace is crucial

  • Workplaces have evolved over the years with increasing involvement of technology at each stage.
  • Traditional organizations, and even Digital Natives, are somewhat lagging behind the pace of technological advancements.
  • Digital Workplace is the application of new age technology to people, processes, and spaces to enable a truly Smart, Empowered, and Intelligent Enterprise.

Building a Product Management Function in GICs

Members at the forum discussed the importance of taking up Product Management ownership from GIC locations for both local products and/or global products, whenever it is feasible. Some GICs are developing Product Management capabilities by leveraging a mentor connect with HQ location. The objective is to create shadow Product Managers within GICs till competencies and technical know-how is built, and then to take on end-to-end product management responsibility. Some other pertinent thoughts on this include:

  • Product Managers are at the intersection of the business, customers, and developers.
  • Product Management is in a nascent stage in GICs, with only 7% of organizations handling core product management work.
  • Co-locating Product Management with engineering teams helps harness the potential of the India GIC.
  • Having Product Management co-located with engineering teams also opens up new avenues for innovation within the GIC.
  • By nurturing Product Management function in India GICs, companies can leverage the potential of emerging markets and create top line impact.
  • Involvement of site leadership is critical to drive Product Management within the GIC.
  • Emerging technologies and business models are greatly reducing the time to market.
  • Access to product and user data is making analytics a core skillset to enable decision-making for Product Managers.
  • GICs are structuring the skills and responsibilities associated with a PM role to reduce chances of an expectation mismatch.
  • Product Management teams in GICs are increasing their focus on outbound activities.

Where should GICs go from here?

In conclusion, GICs need to move beyond what they offer today and provide more value to their parent organizations. GICs are at a point, where they should play a strategic role, rather than be just a low cost offshore center, by supporting the product development across the life cycle and being the epicenter of newer technology and process role outs. Finally, GICs must evolve and integrate the digital offerings and start to offer more value, be it to HQ or end-customers.

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