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NSIA 2017 Winner – Shahed Kamal

Work Trip to Tata Consultancy Services, Chennai, India

Shahed Kamal, Deakin University

Winner of IT Enabled Business Innovation Category

NSI Awards 2017

 

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Introduction

I had the exciting opportunity to spend a week at Tata Consultancy Services, one of the largest scale IT companies in the world. This opportunity is thanks to NASSCOM, which every year runs an innovation award competition that includes a business innovation category and a technical innovation category. My innovation, “CollabHero”, a peer feedback and collaboration platform was awarded the 2017 NASSCOM business innovation award and as the CEO of CollabHero, I was fortunate to go for a fully paid trip to Chennai, India and spend a week at one of the biggest offices of Tata Consultancy Services.

I had heard of the Tata brand before like the Tata car, Tata tea, etc. but I wasn’t aware of their IT business which they like to call TCS. Moreover, I wasn’t aware the scale of TCS within the Tata group, it is reported that a large percentage of the Tata group revenue is from TCS and is known as the cash cow of Tata group. The Tata consultancy service employs around 400,000 people and the Chennai operation alone has about 60,000 people.

 

Things we did

Day 1:

Prakash, head of delivery for Australian customers of TCS, and Nidhin, from TCS’s HR team, picked us from the hotel and we all reached to the TCS main office in Chennai bright and early. It is a huge campus and looks beautiful from the outside. There was a strict security process including noting down the serial numbers of our laptops and ensuring we had no USB or other media devices.

Once we passed security and got our badges for the week so we can pass through security, we were taken to a board meeting room where Prakash gave us an overview of the week. This was followed by a session about Tata and TCS, then we had a session from the HR team about the different ways TCS hires new employees, keeps the current employees engaged and helps their employees grow through continuous learning and development. During mid-day, Nidhin took us to the TCS food court, it spans across 6 blocks and has more than 20 food outlets with lots of options to choose from. After lunch we had more sessions from different teams of TCS about the different business units that TCS operates which helped us understand the scope of TCS and the industries they serve.

Day 2:

We were taken to the research and innovation facility of TCS, situated in the IIT campus, which is one of the leading engineering colleges in India. The facility is known as IITM Research Park. We were shown around the facility which had brainstorming rooms and labs where academics, students, TCS staff and clients come together to workshop innovative solutions. We were shown demos of innovative projects implemented by TCS which has happened as a result of partnerships with academics. We then got the opportunity to talk to Academics who work for TCS and build innovation. We also met Sundhar who runs an incubator inside TCS and works with startups, whereby I had the opportunity to chat with him about CollabHero. He asked me to reach out so I am positive for a collaboration between TCS and CollabHero in the future.

 Day 3:

Today we had the opportunity to meet the team at TCS digital interactive. They told us about all the exciting things TCS is doing with modern technology like artificial intelligence, virtual reality and machine learning. We had a presentation on the exciting new technologies and also saw demos of solutions built by TCS.

Day 4:

Today we were taken around the TCS facility. TCS Chennai has a really big facility that caters to the 30,000 employees on this site. They have a wide range of amenities from a fully functional library to tennis, squash and basketball courts as well as a gym facilities. The property manager took us around the facility using a club car to see the different buildings. The librarian gave us a comprehensive tour and understanding of the library facilities in TCS. We also got to visit the iconic tower of TCS which allows you to see all of Chennai city. It’s a new built facility and contains a board room for executive management and two floors where all TCS solutions are displayed so this could be a one stop for all customers.

 Day 5:

In our last day, we visited the innovation labs of different industries. Firstly, the retail lab which is a fascinating room modelled to be a retail store and all the solutions TCS built for their retail clients. Secondly, we visited the banking innovation lab and had interesting discussions about the future of banking and what TCS is doing to help their customers in the banking industry to innovate.

 

Highlights

People:

The highlight of this trip has been people. Let me start with Prakash, head of delivery for Australian customer of TCS. Since he looks after the Australian market, has lived in Australia and he often interacts with a lot of Australians who are TCS customers, he was assigned to oversee us during our stay. Prakash is an impressive member of the TCS team and leads a team of about 400 people. During our week we got to meet his team of executives which included KJ and Srikanth. His team is passionate about what they do and it was a delight to meet them. Then there was Nidhin, who was from HR and accompanied us at all times from picking us up to the hotel to ensuring we were fed and looked after at all times. Some other amazing people we met during our stay was the rest of the HR team: Ramanath, Uday, Tejas. We also met Karthik and Venkatesh from the innovation land team as well as Sundar and Raghav from the innovation and research team.

 Innovation & Opportunity:

I have been amazed at the innovation happening inside TCS. It is impressive to see how in spite of serving a large client base and offering a range of services, TCS did not stop innovating. They have research labs where teams constantly come together to workshop solutions for the modern world. Teams works together and use new technology like artificial intelligence to come up with innovative solutions for their clients.

 

Conclusion

This has been an incredible week and all the lessons I have learnt will help me lead CollabHero to becoming a successful and innovative company. This experience and getting to witness the scale of TCS has made me dream bigger for CollabHero and to make a significant impact. Finally I’d like to thank everyone who made this possible, especially Sameer and Amulya from NASSCOM and Prakash and Nidhin from TCS for this incredible experience.

 

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