World renowned Virtusa’s Vice President and Head of Delivery Pragash Krishnamoorthy says passion and commitment ensures career growth in IT. In an interview he shares some key insights for those aspiring a rewarding career in IT. Pragash heads the Global Delivery Operation of Colombo Advanced Technology Center (ATC) of Virtusa. Pragash is a member of the Management Team at Virtusa and oversees all client deliverables and business growth for the Colombo ATC. Pragash has led and delivered large complex programs during his tenure at Virtusa both from Colombo and onsite client locations across US & UK
Pragash holds a Bachelor of Science Honors Degree in Information Systems from Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Here are excerpts
Q: What is your role?
A: I am the Head of Delivery to Colombo. I look after all projects the firm undertakes in Colombo and ensure they are delivered on time for Virtusa. My team and I are responsible to ensure that the project is within the budget, on time and is up to the client’s expectation. I am responsible for implementing this task every day, month and quarter.
Q: Do you also look after overseas markets?
A: Bulk of our clients or 90 to 95 percent of our business is from Europe. It is structured in a way that we have client/sales offices in the US, Europe, Middle East etc and three delivery centers in Hyderabad, Chennai and Colombo. Project managers in my teams will visit client locations to manage their expectation while the team in Colombo is accountable for delivery, which amounts to about 30 percent of Virtusa’s business.
Q: So Colombo handles majority of the work?
A: Colombo handles approximately 30 percent compared to Hyderabad and Chennai. Hyderabad is the largest center where we have our campus while Chennai and Colombo are almost equal. Our mandate is not to outgrow one location more than the other and make sure the business is split evenly.
Q: Going forward what is the plan for the IT centers? Is it to grow all of them together?
A: Yes, exactly. Virtusa is unique compared to most other large and mid sized firms which have almost 90 percent of their operations running out of India. Virtusa does not depend heavily on one country.
We have one third of our business running out of India. Most of our clients want to diversify due to multiple reasons such as business continuity plans, recovery, possible political tension etc. We want to ensure there is distribution which will not risk our clients operations in the face of any crisis. Therefore in that end I believe we have a unique opportunity.
Q: How would you rate the talent in Sri Lanka?
A: The competition is about supply as well as quality of delivery. We are tasked with delivering a solution that has an advantage over competition.
I think our talent is on par or even better. I have seen many employees grow to be able to stand their ground, provide value and win over clients. The other unique experience is ensuring best practices. Our team comprises members from India and Sri Lanka which provides good exposure. I gained a different kind of talent and perspective by managing operations in India.
Q: The team you manage surely has a lot of talent far beyond IT skills too. How important is that and how does that integrate to the rest of the business?
A: Primarily whoever wants to join this field need to have a passion for IT. Many people may say IT is a volatile and a stressful field, but when you have the passion for what IT can do for business the rest is about growing team skills, leadership skills and all other skills that comes with any kind of industry. Being aware of new technology, trends and methodology, ensuring the right skill is used for the right project and then developing other soft skills will complement the IT industry.
Every year, for the longest time I have been here, 80 to 85 percent of employees come from the campuses. We strategize on the volume and quality of students who come out of the universities. We have also improved our training programs making sure our staff is integrated, have an understanding of the base knowledge and thereafter focus on growth.
We have had a growth of 25 to 30 percent every year, which compels staff to grow faster. They have to accept more opportunities and leadership. I have seen people who were engineers, today sitting with clients managing large projects. Therefore having the right pool of people, continue training them on leadership and exposing them to opportunities is important.
I joined the company as an intern 13 years ago after having studied at Informatics. Though the company was small then, I became very thrilled about the kind of work it did, technology used, the clients served. I became an engineer, lead a team went to the US for about 2-3 years, managed large client and now I am in this position today, simply because of the passion for IT and dedication towards what I do.
Q: What are your key KPIs?
A: From a project delivery point of view the KPIs are on time delivery, quality and expendability.
We receive formal feedback from every client every three months. Every member of the team including myself has that in our performance feedback record on which we are measured every quarter. The main measure is client delight based target. The second is about the process, the best practices that we maintain, the check points Third is revenue and margin. We have to ensure business growth and profitability.
Q: How do you manage people?
A: It is a about people wanting to step up. Our management framework is about people striving to do the next role and it is about providing that opportunity. It is there for them to take it if they want to leap to the next level.