August

How Geographic Information System Can Transform The Utilities Industry

In the utility industry, assets form the core of all business activities. In order to maximize the ROI, the modern utility business needs a reliable system to manage tangible assets like technology infrastructure and heavy equipment, as well as intangibles such as energy and water. Tracking and managing infrastructure assets can be a considerable challenge for utility companies. Hence, working with a capable partner ensures you surmount these challenges. But first, let’s talk a little about GIS, its components and challenges.

As such, the valuable information from a Geographic Information System (GIS) is critical for utility companies to visualize scenarios, integrate data, create insightful maps and develop effective solutions to solve complex issues, quickly and efficiently.

Out of the three components of GIS that include data, hardware (computer systems), and software (GUI & DBMS), it is the data that is of utmost importance. An estimated 80% of all data generated is spatial in nature. By pooling data about utility assets such as water, gas, energy, and telecom with socioeconomic or user-consumption trends, utility companies can foster real-time and smarter decisions, as well as deliver personalized offerings. Moreover, the enhanced three-dimensional representation of data not only helps in comprehending the utility infrastructure much more efficiently but also expedites problem identification and resolution, ensuring timely maintenance and operational efficiency.

Why GIS can be your most advanced solution
As infrastructure ages, asset management such as repair, replacement, or rehabilitation of utility assets becomes more expensive. A proactive asset management program can stretch the useful life of utility systems while reducing operating costs.

Through GIS, an enterprise can visually monitor layered datasets in multiple dimensions, constituting land features, assets, networks, and high-velocity sensor data streams. Every new layer of asset data translates to more opportunities for an in-depth analysis, higher accuracy, and simplified management. Moreover, GIS mapping also ensures improved accessibility and interoperability across different platforms. The system enables seamless consistency in data across multiple devices, providing improved collaboration and communication between on-field teams.

Implementation Challenges
These inaccuracies in the spatial-position data can percolate to the digitizing process, creating a ‘digital variant’ of the inaccurate physical system; however, by enforcing a set of critical measures, enterprises can ensure the corresponding digital system is a ‘duplicate’ that is free of inaccuracies and not merely a faulty variant.
For a utility company, hiring an expert partner or service provider with a strong reputation in asset management can help in measuring the reliability of its data, as well as keeping its maintenance history up-to-date. The partner’s expertise can also be utilized to minimize the expenditure on construction and maintenance, and achieve new quality benchmarks in data capturing and cleansing.

Advantages of hiring an expert partner
A specialized partner can ensure reduced downtimes caused by asset breakdown through proactive maintenance that includes quick identification and resolution of complex issues. The utility company can also get access to the advanced processes such as real-time analytical insights of high-velocity data streams, which can maximize the capabilities of its GIS. Additionally, the professional support on crucial functionalities offered by a partner including data conversion and migration, conflation and accuracy improvement, as well as data curation and validation, can be a massive advantage.

How to choose the right partner
Utility companies should analyze the partner’s expertise to develop a customized GIS strategy based on a critical assessment of their unique business requirements. Subsequently, they can also check for the capabilities required for optimizing the asset management using GIS, such as streamlining field data collection, organizing networks, and optimizing maintenance programs.

 

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Indian IT companies’ headcount remains volatile amid COVID-19 pandemic

It’s hard to see a pattern in the hiring and firing, with some IT majors holding on to staff and others shedding underperformers and not replacing them

Mass layoffs in the IT sector have been happening for the past few years but now – blame it on the pandemic – it seems to be accelerating. An uncertain business environment, lack of projects and investments, and non-performers are the contributing factors. Many IT firms have been hinting at mass layoffs, leaving employees in fear of when it will be their turn to leave.

Most likely to receive a dismissal notice are employees on the bench. These employees are not allocated to any projects and are a resource backup in case a new project comes along. They are considered to be ‘non-billable’ resources, as their cost is not billed to any clients, making them the most vulnerable to layoffs.

Here’s an overview of how IT companies operating in India are looking at layoffs and hirings.

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Involuntary attrition
Cognizant Technology Solutions’ April-June financial report shows around 9,000 employees were laid off during the quarter, more than chose to leave the company voluntarily. Around 68 percent of Cognizant’s workforce are based in India.

Cognizant didn’t blame the lay-offs on the coronavirus though, saying that the headcount reduction was part of its “Fit for Growth” program, announced last October, which aims to reskill, reassign or remove underperformers. This will see the removal of 10,000 to 20,000 mid-to-senior level associates from their current roles, with half of them reassigned internally and the remaining employees eventually terminated.

There have also been departures at the top at Cognizant: Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, chairman and managing director of Cognizant India, and Pradeep Shilige, global delivery head, have left with no replacement named, while Chief Financial Officer Karen McLoughlin will be replaced by Jan Siegmund.

IBM too has resorted to layoffs to reshape its business amid the pandemic. It plans to fire 2,000 employees globally over non-performance, a few hundred of them in India where around 33 percent of IBM’s global workforce of 350,000 are based.

Assurances
Wipro has not laid off any employees as a result of the pandemic, nor it will lay off anyone in the near future, Chairman Rishab Premji assured attendees at Wipro’s annual general meeting. Wipro’s employee attrition rate was 13 percent for the 12 months to end June, the lowest it has reported in at least 20 quarters. However, it is not replacing all staff that leave: in the April-June quarter its headcount dropped 1,082 to 181,804, after dropping 4,432 in the previous quarter.

While there have been economic headwinds across the industry, CSS Corp has been able to weather the storm with its vertical-focused strategy. “We onboarded over 1,200 new employees in the April quarter when the pandemic was at its most disruptive level. We continue to hire in Q2 and our hiring outlook remains stable in the coming months,” said Sunil Mittal, EVP at CSS, referring to the company’s second fiscal quarter, from July to September. “As part of our learning and development plan, we are continuing to roll out upskilling and re-skilling initiatives across the organization, especially towards digital technologies,” he said.

Indian IT services company TCS has also said it will not cut any jobs as a result of COVID-19. TCS saw the onboarding of 12,000 fresh graduates in the April-June quarter, with 18,000 expected to join in the June-September quarter. TCL reported an attrition rate of 11.1 percent in its IT Services business for the twelve months to the end of June, lower than its rivals.

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