India should build more global products: Bask Iyer, VMware

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bcclIndian IT firms need to move away from me-too products and create a high value product out of the country, says Bask Iyer, the chief information officer at software virtualisation firm VMware, where around half of its senior leaders are of Indian origin. “Everyone in India uses WhatsApp, but why do we need Silicon Valley to create it for us. It’s a $22-billion company. That’s the next thing, how many $22-billion companies can we create from Bengaluru,” says Iyer. “A lot of great companies worldwide are started by first-generation Indians, so why can’t we do it right here?”

India is home to a quarter of VMware’s global workforce of 20,000 and an important development centre for the $9-billion company, which is part of Dell Technologies. “India is where most of our engineers are, and I believe the best way to attract the next generation of talent is meaningful jobs and honestly, those are in CSR,” he said.

The team in India is working on several community projects, such as the one on sign language that helps a person better communicate with the hearing impaired. Even if the person does not know sign language, they can talk to a computer, which in turn makes the sign that the hearing impaired can understand. “Now, that kind of project sparks a whole tonne of innovation and it rubs off on your products too…,” Iyer said.

“As a market, it is big for us with a lot of digital transformation happening and a lot of our IT customers have big offshore centers here, so we have to make sure the support and availability is there. There is also a lot of end-to-end product development happening here,” he said.

Another idea that has come out of its centre in Bengaluru is to use biometrics on a smartphone to mark attendance, instead of a regular badge that is not very secure. “People are working on various things to improve employee experience which also challenges conventional thinking. It’s important to set high goals so that even if people hit 80% it’s a good thing rather than setting low goals and meeting them,” said Iyer, who last year volunteered to take up the position of general manager for the Edge/IoT practice at Dell Technologies.

Private cloud and public cloud will grow, but more decisions are being taken on the Edge platform, he said.