IT managers are taking up non-IT challenges

Indian IT companies of the caliber of Wipro are ready with a solution to deal with World business slow down particularly US and and are able to utilize their talented mangers to head into diversified areas. In this article we have given details of the company as how they have identified and deployed their managers to take care of different businesses other than IT. For this Wipro has even taken over some companies and increased their scale of operation. We feel the other IT leaders may also follow suit so that their talent is retained and their mid level executives need not worry about their jobs. When the IT business is back to normal then this talent can be gradually re-inducted back wherever required.

Another reason is those who just love being in technology, often do not want to make the crossover. Techies have seen no value-addition in other departments. That’s because when they are in R&D or product development they are writing code and working in very small groups. True, they have deadlines to meet but the degree of independence is very high. When they move into management they feel they are losing control. They feel that the outcome of their efforts is not in their hands. In management, one has to delegate authority and responsibility. That is some thing techies find very hard to do.

More often than not when a techie is promoted to a supervisor he ends up losing as an excellent performer and become a lousy manager. Organizations have recognized that technical and functional skills on a job cannot be equated with managerial skills to lead a team.

Not every techie who grows in his career is excited at the prospect of handling managerial responsibilities. Here’s what a handful of companies have gone to get around this vexing problem.

This issue has been playing on the minds of many technology companies for a while now. And they devised an ingenious way to deal with it: carve out an alternate career path where people are allowed to follow technological pursuits with single minded dedication in a different functional area (business unit) with higher responsibility.

Take the case of a Wipro IT manager GH, when shifted from technology business to lead Wipro’s water treatment business, nobody was surprised within the organization. The soaps-to-software diversified enterprise, offers quite a flavor of experience for employees who seek new challenges in different businesses.

While Wipro’s HR team denies any sudden flight of IT professionals from technology business to other areas given the uncertain US market environment and predictable wage levels, they do report lot of interest from middle and senior management professionals for such lateral growth opportunities.

With Wipro’s strategy of equally aggressive posture in growing all its diversified interests in consumer care, lighting, technology, infrastructure engineering, professionals see strategic roles in emerging sectors. While IT is still the big business for them in terms of revenue or hiring numbers, quite a few functional leaders have made a comfortable switch to other businesses.

What is triggering the trend is that Wipro is creating a buzz in emerging businesses, be it consumer care division acquiring brand Unza or Wipro Infrastructure Engineering (WIN) buying Hydrauto. Both these buyouts have made the respective businesses grow.

Wipro Technologies has about 80,000 employees and the other businesses do not come anywhere close to it. There are some 15-20 functional leaders who have made the switch from technology to infrastructure engineering and some half a dozen of them have moved to consumer care & lighting.

Wipro Infrastructure Engineering CEO shifted from technology business while WIN global chief finance officer too handled multiple strategic roles in IT.

Wipro Infrastructure HR head also moved from technology. It can now be expected to witness movements more from IT peripheral and general management functions like sales, marketing, HR, finance and business domains.

Many of these emerging businesses within Wipro are also creating new leadership which offer professionals a chance to build something big in a secure and well-funded environment. Also, the corporate body of the company is seamlessly built with no iron-tight compartments that restrict movements.

They have also sent some technicians from the shop floor at WIN to the IT business. For Wipro’s water business, they have invited interest from across Wipro including their friends and family and, they have received more than 100 enquiries for this business.