IT education has been big bucks in recent years with scores of companies entering the arena. The latest one to be bitten by the IT education bug is Siemens Ltd., through its wholly owned subsidiary Siemens Information Systems (SISL).
Siemens Information has recently launched a broad-based, high-end IT training course called Siemens IT Learning. And why not? With the IT education market currently estimated at Rs 1,200 crore and said to be growing by over 50 per cent per annum, there are obvious reasons for Siemens to get into it.
Moreover Siemens is not new to IT education, having set up training centers in Chennai and Delhi through a tie-up with Sapient College, SAP's education and training division. This had made SISL the only authorized training partner of SAP across the globe, a recognition it still holds.
Having already invested about Rs 10 crore, the latest venture doesn't require SISL to fork out large sums of money. Says D Bhattacharya, deputy general manager technical education and training, "The investment requirement presently is only incremental. The process is an ongoing one."
SISL has forged an exclusive partnership with Wave Technologies (UK) Ltd. and Prometric. While the former is a world leader in developing and providing IT learning and certification training program, the latter is the largest global organisation for administering vendor certification examinations in the area of IT learning.
The existing and projected shortfall in qualified IT professionals seems to be the reason for Siemens to get into this area. Speaking to domain-b Anil Laud, managing director of the company said, "As per Nasscom, 2.2 million trained IT professionals will be required in the country by 2008. However, we are likely to face a shortage of about 70,000 professionals every year till then, considering the current avenues of providing IT training. Hence the decision." Mr Laud said Siemens IT Learning will ensure that professionals are trained in keeping with the fast-changing technology trends and continuously changing skill profile requirements.
Mr AS Viswanathan, director, Siemens Information Systems, said his company expected to clock revenues of Rs 10 crore in the first year, with expectations of a 35 per cent growth every year. He told domain-b, "We are hoping to get into the top three slot in the next two to three years. To achieve this even if we have to grow at a faster pace, we will do so." He added, "The training market is almost limitless. Corporates will willingly take advantage of our course and we expect at least one-third of the revenues to come from corporates. The course will help corporates to ensure that their people remain at the leading edge of the learning curve with the right training inputs at the right time."
SISL will adopt the Boot Camp methodology, which will ensure that the pace of the course matches that of an individual's requirements. This becomes possible owing to the synergistic combination of instructor-led, self-study and mentoring sessions. The course therefore will require as little as 50 per cent off-the-job time than is required by conventional training courses, simultaneously maintaining minimum disruptions or loss of earnings. The training delivery will be capped off by administering the certification process. For the first time in India, claims Viswanathan, a training program will ensure certification. However SISL's course will not ensure or help students to get jobs. Said Viswanathan, " We have deliberately refrained from doing this. No such cheap gimmicks for us. Our actions will speak for us."
To begin with, SISL will be conducting courses at its centers located at Chennai and Delhi following which it will be opening centers at Mumbai and Bangalore before reaching to other parts of the country through business partners or franchises. The company proposes to set up 30 franchises by the end of the first year and will have a revenue sharing arrangement with them.
Mr. Viswanathan is confident about his new venture. As its head he observed, "India has an enormous competitive advantage in the knowledge-based industries, which are based on the brainpower of the people. To beat constant innovation that is taking place globally, continuous learning alone can ensure that India retains its present position in the world market. Recognising this need SISL, with its expertise in software engineering and consulting, plans to make an IT professional not only trained but also certified and globally marketable through this new initiative."
Expressing great expectations from this new initiative, Mr Ian Adams, director-Wave Technologies said, "I am pleased that instructional material and a training methodology, which has been successfully deployed in various countries across the globe and gone through the acid test of a number of certifications is being bought to India. And that too by a leading technology company like Siemens Information Systems. We at Wave will do our best to ensure the success of the certification business in India."