Techies must be Techno-Commercial

The R&D needs of corporations around the world are increasing year over year as competitive pressures require even more innovation, and at even lower cost.

Recent research indicates that India has the potential to make a significant contribution in fulfilling this global need. For example, Global sourcing estimates that in five years, about USD $17 billion of R&D work worldwide will be outsourced globally with approximately 70% ($12 billion) of this work sent to India.

Areas outside of IT and telecommunications, it is understood that fields like biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and nanotechnology are expected to have significant potential in India, particularly in the Research and Development capacity.

India’s key advantage is its well-established higher education system that turns out the types of entrepreneurial graduates sought by companies worldwide. To get more specific, of the 64 million university graduates in India, about 36 million are graduates with science degrees in different areas of specialization. Of the latter, about 9.6 million hold postgraduate degrees.

Given India’s diverse, educated talent base will continue to create a significant R&D market within the region, and will most likely extend to other areas beyond telecom.

Our view of a ‘techno-commercial’ engineer is one with both R&D and customer management skills. We feel that in order for R&D work to be successful engineers must first understand customers’ business case, as well as their present and future network vision.

Therefore it is most desirable that a fair number of our engineers get involved in deep rooted R&D as well as direct interaction with customers to better understand their requirements. In some respects, an approach to product design and development can be made by starting from the customer’s end specification to build solutions that more accurately meet their needs and network economic goals.

Some organizations may be resistant to offering their engineers this type of customer exposure. Companies like Ciena approach to engineering and position in the market as the ‘network specialist’ drives a substantial need for intimate levels of customer interaction in a variety of capacities And, as a significant proportion of our global R&D capacity is moving to India, the engineers at Ciena, India are involved in several of the company’s significant product line and technology development.

Exposing them first-hand to the needs of our customers only further ensures the relevance of what we bring to market. Clear visibility of the customer’s technological and business needs helps spur creativity and innovation in the R&D community.

Further, it is critical in our philosophy that we offer experienced candidates the opportunity to follow a career path that extends beyond their dedicated function and enables them to grow professionally, if they so desire.

Employees embrace the broad-based exposure provided to each member of the team, will certainly grow into decision making roles. With a number of technical and people leadership opportunities available, it is expected that qualified and motivated employees will be afforded leadership opportunities, including increasing levels of authority.