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New Delhi: Tech Mahindra has made it mandatory for its top executives, including CXOs and those who report to them, to skill themselves with the latest technologies, such as generative AI, Web 3and 5G, so that they can help implement the solutions based on such technologies at the lowest levels, said Jagdish Mitra, chief strategy officer and head of growth at India’s fifth largest software services exporter.

“We are definitely mandating it, in terms of saying that if you need to get to the next level or to a better project, this is what you need to do. We measure every unit and monitor the managerial teams even at the lowest levels on how that team is doing in terms of high tech and deep skilling. We’ve taken it pretty much to a level where we’ve asked the senior leadership, everyone, that they need to know these two or three technologies and its applications," he said.

Implementing solutions based on the technologies across the company’s functions and managerial teams has been made a part of the review mechanism, and almost a pre-condition to move up the corporate ladder.

“Both in the company as well as in the group, we are very focused in terms of making sure our leaders, CXO minus one, minus two and so forth, get tech exposure on a regular basis, and are seen talking about what they can do with it. What are you doing with it is also a very critical review conversation," he added.

On whether the move is facing a backlash, Mitra said use of the technologies including metaverse, 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) would eventually become critical for any industry as it will be needed for increasing productivity and enabling supply chain, and the early adopters stand to have an advantage over the laggards.

“Some transformational changes will get a little bit of a backlash. But, it will be imperative for every business leader of tomorrow to understand deep tech and its usage... you need to be able to understand how to use generative AI? What to use it for apart from asking ChatGPT to write a poem for me."

The group has been following a peer-group ‘carrot’ model, wherein executives having successfully executed the learnings into action would be recognized for their efforts and showcased as exemplary, which may encourage others to follow suit.

The on-demand AI tool identifies skill levels, research and interest areas, based on which the executives are subsequently trained.

Mitra, however, clarified that non-performing executives undergo training and are not laid off, but their growth opportunities become limited compared to others in the peer group.

Use of AI is not new to Tech Mahindra, Mitra said, while highlighting that the group’s legal team has been using versions of generative AI for over a couple of years as a productivity enhancer by removing old or unwanted clauses in contracts. “Our HR has been using a lot of image recognition, human interface, chatbots, AI to be able to interact with our 160,000 employees, to be able to connect a lot better."

The new technologies will be marquee areas where most corporates will be focusing and investing on, but contrary to popular beliefs, technological developments are not likely to take jobs away, he said. These emerging technologies are tools to help accelerate execution and productivity and, therefore, may replace jobs that have lower complexity such as testing, basic coding and data capturing.

“We will have a new set of jobs that will get created and will be more industry-specific. Businesses will also look for skills, and generative AI will be a big supporter of enabling your work to be easier. My belief is that it will improve productivity anywhere by 10-40%— 10% for complex roles, and 25-30% on regular activities," Mitra added.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gulveen Aulakh
Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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Updated: 05 Apr 2023, 12:57 AM IST
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