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Infosys’ Model for Delivering Differentiated Digital Skills

 

I recently attended the official opening of Infosys’ design center in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2017, Infosys committed to hire 10k workers in the U.S. by 2022. Part of that commitment is a plan to open six training and delivery centers across the U.S. intended to provide benefits including:

  • Partnering with local colleges who have specific capabilities such as design education, which are critical for delivering digital services to enterprises, but in short supply with existing workforces
  • Delivery centers for these skillsets which can work closely with regional and national enterprises to address legacy processes which have been a challenge to address using offshore delivery
  • Creating a more intimate relationship with Infosys clients from onshore.

The six centers Infosys committed to build are:

  • Indianapolis, Indiana: target 2k workers by 2022
  • Raleigh, North Carolina: target 2k workers by 2021
  • Hartford, CT: target 1k workers by 2022
  • Phoenix, AZ: target 1k workers by 2022
  • Richardson, TX: target 500 workers by 2022
  • Providence, RI:  target 500 workers by 2022.

A closer look at the Providence center

The Providence center was officially opened on February 12, 2019 but has been operating since summer 2018. Its initial client is a major bank. The center was initially established with a partnership between Infosys and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), a leading school for industrial design located a few blocks from the center. RISD was ranked number one in 2015 and 2016 for graphic design, printmaking, and industrial design by QS World University Rankings. The partners are contributing:

  • RISD: coordination of course development with Infosys, classroom instruction, and student placement services into the center and Infosys workforce
  • Infosys: identification of relevant work skills required, internships, and jobs for graduates.

To date, the center has hired 100 employees (ahead of plan). Half the hires are from RISD and half are from Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI).

At the opening, Infosys and CCRI announced a partnership which committed each organization to work to train and employ CCRI students in relevant design technology skills. The impetus for the partnership is that community colleges teach 50% of the college level students in the U.S., but these graduates obtain relatively few job offers relative to their numbers. By providing relevant work experience, Infosys and CCRI expect to increase the rate of job search success for these graduates. To date, Infosys has found that the CCRI students have a higher level of job performance and morale than their typical employees. The partnership uses the DEAL (Digital Economy Aspirations Lab) as its development venue, where students learn, in a corporate environment, skills that are immediately relevant to Infosys and other employers. In addition, DEAL will sponsor two joint task forces:

  • Identifying entry-level roles suitable for community college students across industries, and creating paths to move into those jobs
  • Articulating the value of these experiences to four-year colleges so that students can receive credits from those colleges to apply towards four-year degrees.

Conclusion

Skills to deliver digital technologies are in short supply globally. A key value of digital technologies is the ability to engage people much more effectively. Infosys has taken this challenge and built a differentiated center focused on industrial design technology implementation for its existing clients (mostly tier one global enterprises). It has built the center next door to one of the top colleges in the world for industrial design. By working with local colleges Infosys is able to ensure that skills are learned which are immediately relevant to the work required by Infosys’ client engagements. Industrial design is fundamentally a creative process, which means each worker is a unique asset. The colleges identify students who have the capability to succeed in creative work; Infosys then works with the school students to develop relevant skills. The result is a differentiated design capability created in Infosys’ workforce.

The next decade will see a rapid growth in demand for industrial design capabilities across industries, as 5G, open banking, and omni-channel delivery infrastructure becomes operational. As data and channels grow, customer engagement will become the critical differentiator for successful enterprises. Creating a workforce with advanced design capabilities at scale is necessary to capitalizing on this new environment. This center is a first step in the industry to shifting the ITS proposition to differentiated delivery.   

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