“To conquer Smart Technology, one must have SPACE” – Mr. Bikram Nayak

SRM AP conducted a webinar on ‘Future Skills in a Digital World’

The Department of Corporate Relations and Career Services of SRM University AP, Andhra Pradesh conducted a webinar on “Future Skills in a Digital World”. The Industry Readiness Webinar Series provide a forum for the industry experts to share their experience with the students. The webinars are engaging and provides a broader spectrum about the expectations and the pedagogy required to bridge the gap between academia and the industry in various aspects.

Mr. Bikram Nayak was invited as a guest for the webinar on May 16th, 2020, Saturday. He is an astute leader with over twenty-two years of experience in the Technology, Design, Engineering & Construction industry with a demonstrated history in the management of Human Capital. He is a celebrated HR consulting professional with expertise spanning across Screening and Formulation of HR Policies, Leadership hiring, Performance & Rewards, and Talent Management. Currently, he is the Head Human Resources at L&T-NxT-The Digital and IoT platform business unit of L&T.

Dr. V K Saraswat, Hon’ble member, NITI AAYOG, Chairman has talked about the capability of our scientific community in mitigating the crisis through epidemiological studies, stimulation and gene concepts. He further says, “The commitment of scientific community, institutions, DST, ICMR, DRDO, IITs, and pharmaceutical industries have been incredible in the battle against this raging pandemic.”

In his previous role as Head Talent Acquisition – L&T, Bikram has hired more than 100 CXO level executives and helped building robust businesses in Smart Cities, Edutech and Digital platforms. In his earlier stint as Head HR of L&T’s Design Centre, he has played a pivotal role in strengthening the Design business by recruiting more than 550 Design Engineers and Architects. He launched “DISHA”, the Employee Assistance Program for the Gen Z employees to mitigate psychological issues. This initiative was then crystalized across the entire L&T group in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences enriching lives of hundreds of employees. Mr. Bikram was also instrumental in launching the SCOPE (Safety Conscious Person) scheme for workmen’s safety, which has created a safe work culture and secured environment for lakhs of working-class people in more than 100 project sites around the world.

Mr. Bikram is an avid speaker and has been a panelist in various forums, IIMs, premium colleges, and Institutions across the country on contemporary Human Resource Development and practices like Talent Management, Employee Engagement, People Analytics, Skills Development, HR in Industry4.0, Diversity & Inclusion, Community Impact, Health and wellness etc. Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology inducted him as an expert member to its “Advisory Board” of Post Graduate Diploma Program on “Construction Management and Infrastructure Development”. He is also on the advisory board of Noida Institute of Engineering & Technology. Mr. Bikram has been one of the sponsors of Australian Government’s student exchange and Technical Education programs.

Mr. Bikram has been conferred with TA Pai Young HR Leader Award in 2019, South India’s Most Talented HR professional by World HRD Congress in September 2017 and many more leadership awards in Human Resource Development. L&T won prestigious Talent Acquisition awards at the People Matters TA League Annual Conference in May 2019 & 2018 and two HR Excellence Awards at the SHRM Annual Event in Oct 2018, under his leadership.

“I was excited and motivated to reach out and was looking forward to interacting with the excellent students and having an intuitive discussion with the brilliant faculty of the university”, begins Mr. Bikram, thanking SRM AP for the opportunity. He used two analogies to commence his lecture. The first being our basic need for food, clothing, and shelter, which are made available using smart technology in recent times. His second analogy was the fortune 500 companies which earlier took decades to become a billion-dollar company. Today, with the advent of improved technology, it merely takes 4.4 years for the companies to reach the milestone. Some of the best start-ups in India have used technology-based digital platforms. Companies like Paytm, BYJUS, OYO, Swiggy, OLA, Magicbricks, have scaled up their business to become a billion-dollar company in their natal years. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are where the entire credit is due to make these companies flourish and create employment.

Mr. Bikram spoke of the 82-year company, L&T, which was a renowned name in the manufacturing and engineering sector until a few years earlier. With a change in business patterns and technology, today, L&T is aspiring to become one of the best technology companies in the world. The four business units within L&T’s IT domain are L&T Infotech, L&T Technology Services, Mindtree which was acquired a year back and the newest venture L&T Nxt. “We are thinking beyond the traditional model. We started experimenting with solutions provided by our IT ventures in L&T constructions which offered lucrative rewards in terms of improved efficacy and productivity. We are now going global in the US along with catering to the needs of domestic companies’ pertaining to efficacy, safety, and other measures.”, exclaims Mr. Bikram.

As all the sectors are thriving forward using technology, L&T Nxt is also planning to enter the platform business through Edutech and Fintech. It is predicted by Mr. Bikram, “Tomorrow a pharmaceutical, agricultural, automobile, or oil and gas company will also become a tech company.” Sectors that are going to shape up the world in the coming days are Gaming Business which requires coding skills, animation skills, and expertise in AI-ML and Cybersecurity. Mr. Bikram explains how, he says, “From youngsters to senior citizens, the Gaming Business has kept everyone glued to the screens, especially during this current situation. The companies are rising to the occasion by improving their creativity, and advertisements skillfully embedded in the virtual environment specifically regarding COVID 19, which makes it more relevant, and relatable to the users.” Another sector that is expected to flourish is the Edutech Business that requires data science/analytics skills, IoT-ML experts, and content curators. “L&T’s upcoming Edutech platform will offer project management, project planning and skill development courses to help improve employability by offering a career mileage through these rigorous courses for students, working professionals, and the broader society.”, informs Mr. Bikram. The third potent sector is Online Home Delivery Business which requires expertise in IoT, data science, and ML.

To sum it up, the five crucial technical skills that is unparallelly beneficial to the students are IoT for tracing materials in supply chain and to take precautions when machines need repair, Data Science to decipher business decisions through power BI tools and Chatbots, Cyber Security to minimize the ample chance of data leakage, AI-ML, and Additive Manufacturing/3D printing. “AI are computers that can predict/do things like humans and ML is a subset of AI. AI-ML can be used in the HR/training domain for the screening of CV’s based on predetermined parameters, whereas, Additive Manufacturing/3D printing is the future. It significantly makes one self-reliant and assists in creating jobs for others. Through Additive Manufacturing, objects can be created through digital blueprints. Nepal has used 3D printing in piping, and it can also be used in small parts of India to create their own products. L&T has made a prototype two-bedroom house using 3D printing. Human organs can be built through 3D printing in the future. People are researching how to create artificial hearts, lungs, livers. This is the next big thing in tech space.”, Mr. Bikram states.

According to Mr. Bikram, a good leader must possess social skills along with technical skills. “To conquer smart we should have SPACE, as I call it.”, is what Mr. Bikram suggests. He moves on to explain the acronym.

S – Self Awareness

“Know your strength and weaknesses. If you do what you can do best and where your heart is, you will prosper.”

P – Passion

“The driving force/energy will come from your passion. The hunger quotient will define your success.”

A – Agility

“One should be alert and be aware of what is happening in the world. To keep pace with the globe, do the tasks now.”

C – Collaboration

“Interdependence of subject experts is the key to a successful business. Reach out seek ideas.”

E – Empathy

“You live in an ecosystem that consists of many things other than just you. Urging you to nurture this skill, and rest can be learned or imbibed.”

Mr. Bikram concludes his lecture by stating, “There is no specific roadmap to success. One needs to be flexible and adaptable.” On this note, he declares the Q&A session open and invites students and faculty for discussion.

Vishnu Kalyan, a student of SRM AP, was intrigued to understand the opportunities in L&T. To which Mr. Bikram replies, “The technology is changing every day and one needs to update himself to harness the opportunities, we expect you to be versatile in L&T”. He informs that although L&T works with the defence sector to manufacture missiles and tanks, and identify land mines using drones and other equipment, students are urged to look beyond the traditional systems. He beautifully explains, “Today war is won through digital platforms and not in battlegrounds. As progressive students, you need to move forward. For example, we already have automated trains, how about the students think of ways to fly airplanes without pilot and run vehicles without drivers.”

Dr. Deepak Kachave and Dr. Tapas Kumar Mishra from Department of Computer Science and Engineering, SRM AP, had meaningful inputs to share with Mr. Bikram on consumer benefits and India’s capability to delve into the genre of developing operating systems.

Another student raises the query regarding marketing opportunities provided in L&T to B.Tech students. Mr. Bikram says, “We need domain experts who can talk well to pitch our products to the clients.” Pavan from CSE department enquires on the programming languages used in L&T. Mr. Bikram answers, “Python and NLP are a must. We expect you to be adept in algorithms of different kinds.” Sumith, a second-year CSE student asks about internships provided at L&T. Mr. Bikram informs. “L&T provides paid internships to Civil, and Mechanical Engineering students through a rigorous selection process.”

In the end, Dr. Sriram S. Padmanabhan, Director, Corporate Relations – Career Services, expressed his gratitude to Mr. Bikram Nayak for putting in the efforts to inform the students regarding the expectations of industries from the soon to be graduates. The immensely informative and interesting webinar enabled the students to take a step closer to preparing themselves for their dream job.

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