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Tier 2 & 3 cities now hotspots to set up Global Capability Centres in India: Kamal Sharma, Digital Transformation Leader, Carrier

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Amid the digital transformation wave in the pandemic, India has become a lucrative country to set up Global Capability Centres (GCCs) for several organisations, and availability of digital talent, maturity of startups, peer-GCC ecosystem and a conducive policy environment are among the factors enabling the GCC growth story in the country.

According to a latest Nasscom report titled ‘GCC India Landscape: 2021 & Beyond,’ more than 140 GCCs have set up their base in India in the last three years, taking the total to over 1,430 and Bengaluru is leading the pack.

The report said that engineering and research and development (ER&D) lead the growth story of GCCs in India with a 55 per cent market share, as digital technologies create new sources of revenue for ER&D GCCs to cater to the local customer base and develop engineering capabilities.

IANS spoke to Kamal Sharma, Digital Transformation Leader at global home appliance leader Carrier, on how not just traditional tech hubs but tier 2 and 3 locations have now become a hotspot for setting up GCCs as various state governments are offering incentives such as single window clearances, ease of land allocation, stamp duty exemptions, and CAPEX/interest subsidies.

With technology set to disrupt every area of business across industries, how do you see the role of Global Capability Centers (GCC) evolving over the next 2-3 years and what would be the key factors driving growth?

The value unlocked by GCCs is clear, as we see a significant increase in the number of new capability centers opening around the world by global organizations from a wide range of industries. I am sure that GCCs are heading in the right direction to evolve as centers of excellence for digital transformation to solve problems. The right questions need to be asked about why a GCC is being set up, which capabilities to mature and how to set up a robust operating model.

The key growth factors to succeed in the GCC space are a razor-sharp focus on capability, which really drives digital transformation to the core of the organization, winning the talent war by creating a seamless employee experience lifecycle, and creating the right culture, which is diverse and inclusive, and sets up your employees for success and satisfaction.

We have seen many organizations choose India as a preferred strategic location for a Global Capability Centre with many opting to have a multi-city presence. What makes India a lucrative location for GCCs?

With half of the GCCs worldwide currently based in India, we are already a mature location that provides multifold benefits to any organization planning a capability center. Our advantage isn’t simply about cost anymore, but now it revolves around more strategic decision drivers like quality of talent pool, skill development, readily available infrastructure, government support, and an ever-increasing innovation ecosystem of startups and academia.

It’s also worth noting that, in addition to the traditional Tier 1 technology hubs of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai, India has several upcoming GCC hotspots. These alternate locations such as Pune, Vizag, and Coimbatore are enticing due to lower facility costs, lower competition, and, in some cases, 10-15 percent lower attrition than Tier-1 cities, resulting in better service delivery and lower hiring costs.

To increase the attractiveness and viability of tier 2 and 3 locations, various state governments have begun to offer incentives such as single window clearances, ease of land allocation, stamp duty exemptions, and capex/interest subsidies.

There seems to be a post pandemic “War for Talent”. How does Digital Hub India (DHI) plan to compete for the best talent?

The war for talent is real, and we see that the talent market is in a state of entropy, and no organization is coming out of this unscathed. It is very important that the organization is on the same page and understands what the talent wants.

Flexibility will be critical in the future, and now that the hybrid/remote working experiment has shown to be successful, the talent market is asking that we consider unique working arrangements. DHI is cognizant of this as well and has already introduced a hybrid working model that is producing excellent results.

Employee involvement is essential. Our efforts are to be consistent in our communication and outreach, regardless of where our employees are located. Even though we work remotely, we still run programs on continuous feedback, recognition, and opportunities to learn and grow. We believe in being innovative rather than using physical distance as an excuse to avoid engaging with employees.

There is a lot of haze in the minds of employees. It is critical to provide clarity to the team about the vision and how their career framework will develop. The leadership at Digital Hub India invests time in strategic planning, company meetings, and employee connections to help employees visualize how the strategy is implemented and what role they play.

As a capability center technology prowess and staying ready for the future is a must. What are the upskilling priorities for Digital Hub India?

In recent years, our capability center has been recognized as one of the most awarded GCCs in India, and I attribute all that success to one key factor: the capability of our people. Our ethos at Digital Hub India is firmly rooted in the belief that people are our most valuable asset.

To achieve long-term growth and success, we must do everything possible to nurture and grow talent. To win the war for talent, we must focus not only on the present but also on the future of work.

We offer our workforce multi-modal and holistic upskilling opportunities, including technical and functional training in niche skills such as IoT, analytics, cyber, cloud (AWS), and behavioral and leadership training. An organization-wide learning platform, as well as a digital foundation program for focused digital learning, are available to the workforce.

What has cloud technology enabled you to do better? In terms of business outcomes, what benefits have you experienced because of running on AWS?

Carrier’s strategic partnership with AWS is an important part of our digital transformation as we strive to drive more innovation and connectivity to make buildings more sustainable, efficient, and comfortable.

We have a large team working in the connected services domain at the India hub. Cloud is assisting us in increasing our speed and agility, as well as supporting global programs. We believe that by using analytics, IOT, AI/ML, and connecting them intelligently to our products and creating connected products and services, we can harness new opportunities for growth and provide a better customer experience.

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