Supervision to Super Vision


The changes technology has been bringing to our lives have been never imagined two decades back. Technology brought mostly good things and created huge job opportunities that never existed few decades back. In India, this translated into the IT and BPO jobs that gobbled up every graduate they could find to satisfy the ever increasing need for more and more IT professionals. The demand and supply glut helped create thousands of colleges and IT job became the fast track to prosperity . This sector also ended up pulling up thousands of underprivileged families to move up to middle class with sons and daughters of farmers, taxi drivers and even laborers finding their way into IT and BPO industry of India.

Most of us think that this dream run will continue for many more years for them to bother about any change. However the reality on the ground is that this change has already begun and have started challenging all of those who could easily get a job when the supply fell desperately short of demand. Those who did not deserve high salaries and good job opportunities ended up filling a lot of the open ranks when this balloon was still growing. Most of them have now become supervisors and end up contributing primarily in the people management aspect of IT industry.

In one of the conference in US, it was clear that the cost pressure on all the customer countries would impact on the IT supplier ranks hard. The first collateral damage in this cost pressure would be all those who do not show value but are a cost to the business. The “Supervisors” of today fall in this bracket easily. Most of the technology company supervisors are those who have no more than basic experience of creating technology outcomes and struggle to prove their value in the organizations yet to come up from the old model of steep organizational pyramid to a far more nimble and flatter organization.

Some Industry leaders are candid with the fact that employee productivity will increase at least by 150% to continue earning the same money they do now. To add to that, automation will eliminate a lot of jobs and will through unprecedented challenge to thousands of those who have grown up doing things that is no more being seen as a value.

This is a wake up call for all the “Supervisors” and managers to change from doing “Supervision” to creating a “Super Vision” for them. My own tips to all those who are hanging by such a thin thread and may have little value in this fast changing technology services landscape can be summarized in the following sentence.

Change your attitude. You have to learn, unlearn and relearn all the time to be relevant to business. If you choose not to do that, remember, someone is already working hard somewhere to eliminate your job.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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