I was in India this week on customer advisory and attending the Nasscom HR Summit in Chennai, I had the honor to keynote the event on Day 1 and moderate a panel on the synergy story between man and machine. All that gave me a good insight in the state of the Indian HR market, worth for a blog post. 


As usual – instead of making it a lengthy blog – let me share my top three takeaways:

High Technology Interest – I found a welcome difference in attitude towards technology by the Indian HR executive, compared to their peers in Europe and North America. Those parts of the world often witness the delegation of all technology understanding to the ‘colleague who cares for HR Technology’, which is an attitude I try to coach HR executives to get rid off. The Indian HR executive is a welcome change and more interested, knowledgeable and open to learn and use technology. Bots were the most common topic of conversation, now we will have to see how adoption in real world implementations will be.

Learning a top concern – Gone are the rapid hiring days in the bustling India of the 90ies and dot com Boom times, now it is all about employee augmentation and Indian HR executives are looking for Learning to address this. With a very high smart phone and solid network penetration it is good to see enterprises are looking for mobile first solutions and show a high degree of readiness to use predictive analytics and machine learning to experiment both with content creation and content provisioning. Should Indian enterprises keep the pressure on vendors at this level, we may well see the Indian Learning market surpassing the traditionally leading 1st world market in regards of capabilities and outcomes.

BPO / Outsourcing of high interest – Equally eye opening for me was to see that (again – no longer the traditional attitude towards hiring and getting big like a decade ago) Indian enterprises are more looking at BPO / Outsourcing. Not only in the traditional RPO side where enterprises in India need outsourcing providers to help with the peak demands – but in very ‘bread and butter’ (wait make that ‘naan and butter’) situations. The drivers are the same as in the 1st world – more rigid labor laws, more investment in employees, a more conservative way to grow businesses, the concerns on bad press in case of layoffs etc. are all reasons we hear in other parts of the world.


It was an honor to participate at my first NASSCOM event as a speaker / moderator, but even more to get insight in the dynamic Indian HCM market. The event itself was well organized, well attended and well received by attendees. Being a new comer I asked veterans on how this year’s edition compared with previous editions of the conference was overall positive. A CHRO of a large enterprise went even so far to call it the best event he has attended in a while. Can’t add more.

And being in India was also a great opportunity to catch up with local vendors Neeyamo, PeopleStrong and some N.N. – always good to catch up IRL and feel the pulse at some vendors. Finally I had a chance to take a 4 hour tour of Chennai, I think I was here last in 1996 (came for the tennis tournament) – what a difference 20 year make in India. Sad to see that Marina Beach (still) has not recovered fully from the Tsunami, good to see the impressive Parthasarthy and Kapaleeswar temples as well as San Thomas Basilica again (they had not changed much). I feel like I am getting my India legs again, 3rd trip of the year, 72 hours, no chance to escape the Kabali launch!

Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here. Oh yes and on Slideshare, here