In yet another sign of the growing use of automationin the IT industry, consulting major Capgemini is increasingly deploying automation to assign employees to projects. The Paris-headquartered firm has replaced 30-40% of the work done by its resource management group with IBM's cognitive computing system, Watson.
Resource management groups in IT companies are responsible for assessing skills and then assigning someone to a project. The group, generally disliked by employees, is often blamed for unsatisfactory assignments. But now employees at Capgemini will have to blame IBM's cognitive computing system Watson if their projects fail to please them.
"We are using IBM Watson in our resource management. The cognitive process helps identify the right skilled person at the right time to meet a requirement request. By doing this, we are able to significantly improve the efficiency and efficacy of resource management thus meeting our customer needs," Ashwin Yardi, chief operating officer at Capgemini India, told ET.
Yardi added 30-40% of the work done by the group of about 500 people had been taken over by Watson. Capgemini says that there have been no layoffs but has assigned them to other parts of its business.
The company is also looking at ways to drive more efficiency in its HR system. "If in the past we had to look at 100 resumes to hire one person, we are looking at how that can be brought to 20, so that we can better target whom we are picking. We are also putting some part of the assessment - likes tests - online, so that less time can be spent interviewing candidates," Yardi said.
Experts say that increasingly IT companies will look at automation for their internal and service delivery purposes, not just the work they do for clients. And it isn't just a need to cut costs that is driving this adoption. "The expression which is often used in the high tech industries is `you have to eat your own dog food.' This provides comfort that the technologies work, that the providers understand how to use them and that the service providers are committed to using the specific tools they are recommending," Peter Bendor Samuel, chief executive officer at IT consultancy Everest Group, said.
Post the Igate acquisition, competitiveness is high on the Capgemini agenda. The company has come up with a four pillar strategy that counts industrialisation, resource management, efficiency in procurement and automation.
As part of effective resource management, Capgemini has created a new categorisation of employee skills - classifying them from level 1 to level 4. By mapping out the technology and skill levels of all employees, the company is able to cross train them in different technologies as and when the need arises.