Cutting edge technology creates sustainable jobs for small town model
Shrikant Savant, my classmate from IIT-Bombay, is a leading expert on AI and Machine Learning. A PhD from MIT, he lives in Boston working on applications of ML and Ai in his field. He visited our Ideas to Impacts (I2I) Pune office and gave an excellent talk about the disruption being caused by ML The most interesting discussion was how AI and ML related services can be provided with our “small town model”!
A bit of a background here: Shrikant had met me 6 months back with the idea that he wanted to generate jobs for software engineers in his native village near Ahmednagar. He had known about our small town model of delivering IT services from non-metro towns. We decided that the best way was to train two of these engineers in our offices in Pune and Rajgurunagar (our first small town center about 50 km from Pune). Shrikant was committed enough to even sponsor this training!
Six months down the line – these two guys have worked hard and we are only too happy to get them on board at I2I. They validate our thinking that all that the kids from small towns need is opportunity and mentoring.
In the meanwhile, our model is also getting validated in other ways. In about a year, the I2I team is more than 100 people, servicing customers in India, US and Europe. These include a world leading enterprise product company, a path-breaking B2B cloud startup and even a Big Data Gartner “Cool Vendor”. So far, Indian off-shoring was restricted to the metros. The small town model seems to be logical next step of Indian off-shoring, with its cost benefit and social impact.
Of course, it does not help if the jobs created in the small towns are not sustainable. Most of the services we provide – test automation, advanced GUI development, performance engineering, supporting Indian government’s transformational GST rollout – create sustainable jobs because they are cutting edge!
These practices are being led by our seniors who came to Pune from small towns such as Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Islampur and Bokaro. But now, more interestingly, some are starting our centers / practices in their native towns – such as GST services in Guntur, IoT services from Dhule and Security services from Sangli! All these places have great colleges and these senior professionals are returning to their roots to build their teams with local graduates, train, mentor and manage them and deliver a world-class service to Indian and global customers.
We keep looking for such senior professionals to deliver this win-win for the customers as well as small towns. So, all I have to do to complete the plan with Shrikant is to scout for one such professional in Ahmednagar so that the two engineers can work out of their native place, hopefully in something related to AI and ML. Only a matter of time! Till then, they are enjoying their work in Rajgurunagar.