Indium has developed a niche as a digital engineering service provider with a focus on providing data analytics services to companies irrespective of their domain or data maturity. In the next 3 years, the company plans to rapidly increase its talent supply chain, build a more collaborative work environment, and focus on branding to boost sales and attract good talent
Today, digital transformation is not just about moving data to the cloud and collecting data from different sources. It’s about filtering, segmenting, and drawing out relevant insights from it, to make business decisions. This is where data engineering comes in. According to a report by Research & Markets, the big data engineering market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.3% between 2021 and 2026. Specifically, the APAC markets are expected to hold a significant share owing to the increasing adoption of smartphones and other digital devices in this region.
In India, one of the foremost companies that specializes in data engineering and data science is Indium Software. Founded by Ram Sukumar and Vijay Balaji, the company currently offers D&A, cloud engineering, application engineering, digital assurance, and low code development services to its customers across the U.S, India, and Europe.
In this interview with Smart CEO, its co-founder, Ram Sukumar dives deeper into the Indium transformation from a digital transformation to a digital engineering company, the company’s journey during the pandemic, and the way forward.
As the CEO, what are your top 3 priorities today?
Given the demand we are seeing in the IT industry, one of our key priorities is to build the talent supply chain at all levels – freshers, lateral hires, managers, and leaders. We want to do this in line with the variety of skills required to meet our digital engineering solutions.
Secondly, with an increasingly remote and hybrid work environment emerging, we want to amp up our employee engagement to help increase collaboration and integration across the company. This will help maintain our culture, encourage reskilling and even reduce attrition. We have developed a variety of initiatives on this front, such as creating Communities of Practice, building a My Indium mobile app, and also leveraging technologies to enhance employee engagement.
Lastly, we want to focus on branding. This will help sales win key customers and HR attract talent. We’d like to strengthen our branding across all our digital engineering service lines as a globally recognized IT company.
What kind of challenges did Indium face during the pandemic and how did you overcome them?
The first wave in April 2020 brought in business uncertainty and an immediate need to get our workforce completely remote in a matter of one week. We managed to execute the remote strategy extremely well and many of our customers were happy that we ensured business continuity.
The business uncertainty, however, took longer and by July 2020 we started seeing the green shoots of demand. What we didn’t forecast was that by October 2020, the demand would increase significantly. We hadn’t focused on our talent supply chain so much so we were caught by surprise (a pleasant one though).
2021 was all about building scale while continuing to work remotely across most of the company. The second wave was more focused on health and safety as many employees were impacted and some lost loved ones. Now with travel opening up, and a few clients requesting for an onsite, we are working through some challenges to ensure that we continue to scale. Overall, I would say the challenges have been different in each phase of the pandemic over the last two years.
IT is one of the few sectors which has witnessed good growth and increased hiring activity even during the pandemic. What are your thoughts on this?
The opportunities are very exciting. With going digital no longer an option, globally, we see companies of all sizes increasing their demand for IT services and looking for partners. We expect significant demand and growth for IT Services at least for the next 3 to 4 years. That being said, it is important in this phase for service providers like Indium to focus on the right skills and clients so as to not spread too thin. Building talent at scale to deliver to customer expectations will remain a key aspect of “sustainable growth”.
What are your thoughts on the adoption of AI and related technologies?
I am an AI optimist. AI need not necessarily mean speaking robots and driverless cars. There are many use cases for this technology in retail, fintech, and healthcare. At Indium, our tex.Ai solution, combined with our expertise in NLP, is seeing a lot of interest to help accelerate the extraction and redaction of documents, images, and videos. I am now seeing ethical AI also become an important topic in large enterprises which have constituting frameworks and processes to manage this. So, clearly, the AI movement is in motion and will gain maturity and higher usage over the next 5 years.
What steps are you taking to upskill employees in an increasingly digital environment?
We’re focusing on three initiatives to upskill our employees; communities of practice, partnerships with several platforms offering skilling courses, and investing in Indium Academy to skill both internal and entry-level talent across technologies and soft skills.
Indium Academy is the cornerstone for our future talent. If we look at today’s engineers, there is a war on lateral talent. While this is definitely a part of our growth agenda; we also realize that there are newer technologies that have sprung up. We are looking for talent in technologies that are very nascent (around 2 to 3 years old). So, we believe that by investing in our academy and in our own training, we can not only address our needs of today but also build future talent in newer areas that are emerging, and which are not necessarily available as a part of a large community today. For example, take low-code. Until a few years back low-code as a community did not exist where we could simply go and hire from. Therefore, we had to create our own community in order to be able to deliver and evolve. Today, we have over 100 low-code development engineers who come out of our academy, where we take people with certain primary skills, and then we impart those secondary skills and get them ready for our business needs.
Where do you see Indium 3 years from now?
We expect to be among the top digital engineering companies and expect our headcount to be from the current 2,100 to over 5,200 by then. We also expect to have a larger local presence in the U.S in terms of delivery and technology teams, while we continue to expand our sales presence.IDA Ireland ITeS100 ITeS 100 Ram Sukumar Indium Software