NSIA 2017 Winner – Fangzhou Jiang
Work trip to Tata Consultancy Services, Chennai, India
Fang-Zhou Jiang, University of New South Wales
Winner of IT Technical Innovation Category, NSI Awards 2017
First and foremost, I would like to mention that the trip to TCS is extremely memorable and unique. I strongly encourage anyone studying in the space of IT to consider participate in the future NASSCOM competition, as this is definitely an experience that is way beyond my expectation. This trip gave me an exposure to the Indian IT Industry and business culture as well as hands-on experience of the business world that, in my opinion, would have a long-lasting value. To give anyone who is reading this some context and perspective, I will structure the article by first providing you some background knowledge. Then, I will talk about my daily activity in TCS during my stay. This will be concluded by some general discussion.
I applied for NASSCOM Student Innovation Awards last year as a PhD student from UNSW. My research focused on applied data science in mobile system. I worked on many industrial projects, out of which “uStash” is the most relevant to the Indian market. Put it simple without too much technical details, we would like to make the user Quality of Experience better in accessing digital content when travelling or commuting. We believe that we have the invention to do that, and it has great potential in developing countries without good cellular network while facing the challenge of high density population. NASSCOM gave us an opportunity to reach the market and real customers by connecting me with TCS.
You might have heard about Tata Group in India. Tata Consulting service (TCS) is a subsidiary of Tata Group, and is one of the largest Indian companies by market cap on its own. TCS is now placed among the most valuable IT services brands worldwide. Surprisingly, they employ 400k people worldwide, almost 5% of Australian’s workforce. Although I read about these facts before visiting them, I’m still amazed by their degree of collaboration with Australian businesses. Their customer spans across banking and finance, retail, travel and transport, insurance as well as energy and telecommunications sectors in Australia and New Zealand. For example, they have a team of 450 people dedicated for Westpac bank, and many the household names, i.e. Qantas, Vodafone.
I was hosted by Prakash, who is the head of delivery in Analytics and Integration. He and Nidhin from HR team picked me up from hotel in the first day, and I was also very lucky to have Nidhin escort me throughout the whole time in the campus. Prakash and Ramnath from HR guided me on the daily agenda with different teams at TCS. My daily activity can be generally categorized as follows: 1. Understanding how TCS’s business is structured, 2. Meet teams from different business units and 3. Site tours.
1. Understand how TCS’s business is structured.
We were introduced about 150 years’ history of Tata and 50 years’ of TCS. In addition, we discussed vision of TCS in the areas such as industry 4.0, mass personalization and automation intelligent agile cloud. I was fascinated by TCS’s hiring process, and how they improve employee engagement and help their employees grow. Furthermore, we had sessions with different teams of TCS about the operations of TCS business units in many different industries.
2. Meet teams from different business units.
- IITM Research Park.
We discussed about co-innovation network who helps connect startups with the market and VC funding. I also met senior data scientist who talked about building up fundamental mathematical skills for data scientists.
- TCS digital interactive
AI, VR and machine learning. We had hands-on demos of solutions built by TCS.
- UX/UI Innovation lab
I had a much deeper understanding of the work of UX designer, and solving a team problem from their perspective.
- Retail Innovation lab
Interesting to see object detection powered by tensor flow deployed in solutions TCS built for their retail clients. Many interesting demos such as smart signage and location based social network.
- Banking innovation lab
Innovations utilizes NLP and AI to improve the efficiency in banking. It’s interesting to know all their teams are moving towards agile framework in corporate of such size.
3. Site tours
I was given a full site tour around TCS facility. This campus facilitates 30,000 employees. There is a full range of amenities, e.g. library, gym and basketball/tennis court as well as a six block food court. Prakash and property manager took us around the campus via a club car. We also had the privilege to be on top of the TCS iconic tower. This is the board room where C-suit level meeting takes place, and you can have a breathtaking view of the whole Chennai city.
- What you will learn from the trip?
People are the biggest highlight. It is great learning experience to talk to people from different background about how they approach a problem and propose solutions. I met many people during my visit that are super passionate about their work and the company. This alone tells the calibre of TCS.
- What makes the experience so unique?
It is a very unique opportunity to have hands-on experience about Indian IT Industry and business culture.
People in India in general are very nice and passionate. India is still behind in terms of infrastructure, but development is rapid. IT industry in India has very wide and long-lasting moat in global competition e.g. with the salary of hiring a software engineer in Sydney, you can have a full dev team in India. Amazed by both the skill and “death wish” of Indian taxi drivers. Indians don’t drink coffee without milk. Their cold espresso made via dripping method is actually very good.
To sum up, I would also like to thank Amulya and Sameer in NASSCOM for organizing the trip. The experience is very unique and definitely broadens my horizon. I learnt a lot insights in the business of IT service. I met incredible people with incredible story and experience such as Prakash, Sundar, KJ, Srikanth and Ramanath.