Vivek Ravichandran of TCS,
Vivek Ravichandran, Head of Talent Development for TCS in NJ | Screenshot by Esther Surden

TCS to Hire 1,000 More Tech Professionals in New Jersey. Where Will They Find Them? How Will It Work? Vivek Ravichandran Tells Us

TCS TO HIRE 1,000 MORE TECH PROFESSIONALS IN NEW JERSEY. WHERE WILL THEY FIND THEM? HOW WILL IT WORK? VIVEK RAVICHANDRAN TELLS US

 February 16, 2022  Esther Surden0Around New Jerseycomputer sciencecybersecurityEmerging technologiesHealth TechInnovationNewsNJ Tech CompaniesNJ Tech PeopleTech for BusinessTech jobstech trainingTech Workforce

When Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), whose Edison Business Center serves more than 100 customers in New Jersey, announced that it would bring 1,000 more jobs here and increase its STEM investments in the state, we wanted to know more. The company already has 3,700 employees in New Jersey.

We spoke with Vivek Ravichandran, the head of talent development for TCS in North America. Ravichandran is based in New Jersey.  His primary responsibility includes ensuring that adequate tech and soft skills are imparted to TCS employees in North America. He also actively works with graduates from colleges and oversees their hiring.

Here are some of his insights:

ES: Why is TCS increasing its hiring in New Jersey?

VR: New Jersey is very important to TCS. We have a big customer base in the New Jersey/New York region. As far as employees go, we have many who are based in this area. Most of our employees are high-tech professionals. We see a lot of demand in areas like cloud, AI [artificial intelligence], machine learning—these kinds of skills that the industry is leaning towards. I believe we will be hiring a lot of Java developers and people who possess modern digital skills.

ES: Do you think TCS will be affected by the tight hiring market for tech professionals in New Jersey?

VR: We see a very strong interest from the talent pool to apply for the jobs that are available in TCS.  I think this is because of the very strong brand that TCS carries. Also, the company looks at people as its biggest strength. A testimony to this is the fact that, even during tough times like now, our attrition rates are probably among the lowest in the industry.  Also, when I see the number of applicants for each job, I feel confident that we won’t be afflicted by the talent shortage.

But what gives me even more confidence is our ability to train these people. Let’s say we need you to have 10 skills, and you have seven or eight and you’re reasonably good at them, we are confident that we can absorb you, give you enough skills, bridge that gap without any problem and make you an asset for TCS to go deliver to our customers. We have a very clear understanding of the skill inventory that a person needs to have, so that they can contribute to the delivery of our projects to our customers.

People who come into the company have access to a plethora of learning resources, any course on LinkedIn Learning and any course on Udemy. Apart from that, we ourselves have a bunch of AI-driven learning platforms. All of these together today can give you a curated AI-driven learning journey, custom made for you. Let’s say we need you to be a data scientist. Based on the skills that you currently possess, our systems can actually tailor the learning path for you and say, “Hey, so today, from where you are, this is what you need to do to be the data scientist that I want you to be.”

ES: Making training available is one thing, but many of your employees actually complete their courses. What’s special about what you do?

We’ve broken this down into small nuggets that you can do in a short time. We call it “micro learning.” You can even consume 10 minutes, 15 minutes a day for five months, and go through this learning journey. We meet people where they are.

We did a lot of number crunching and figured out that people who have consistent learning patterns — such as logging online 20 minutes each night before bed — learn way more than people who have sporadic learning patterns. So today the system focuses on bringing you to the learning platform so that you will at least spend 20 minutes a day. It is gamified to incentivize this. Those who learn consistently receive currencies called miles and credits that we give out. Sometimes we’ll increase the number of “miles” they can earn. They can exchange these for quantified benefits that are defined by the company in its employee rewards and recognition framework. So, we have primary incentives, our ability to enable career growth for people who learn these skills and secondary incentives such as the “miles.”

ES: Why does the company have such an elaborate employee training program?

These mechanisms drive our ability to be confident that we can hire people en masse, train them, retrain them and make them fungible. We can train them for a position today, and tomorrow if I need them to learn something else, I can be confident that this person won’t become redundant. I have a machinery that can transform this person from a one-dimensional person to a multidimensional person, which I can use across the whole company.”

ES: TCS is one of the few tech consultancy companies we’ve run across that hires out of college. What universities in New Jersey do you look at most? And how are you able to do this?

We hire from a number of New Jersey colleges and universities, including Rutgers and NJIT. While hiring out of college represents just a fraction of our hires, it is very important to our strategy. This workforce is a very, very important workforce for us because it helps us reskill a lot of our middle level employees to upgrade their jobs.

Ten years back, if you needed to run a mainframe development project, you might need 100 mainframe architects to run that project. But today, it can be run by a few architects. There is an increased need for generalists, people with adequate depth of knowledge in more than one skill. So, these fresh graduates have picked up many of the skills we need as part of their curriculum, and it gives us a strong base to help them pick up adjacent skills. When the new graduates come in, a lot of people who have been in similar roles for a while and have acquired contextual knowledge are able to move up. They’ve been in the ecosystem, and they’ve been learning. So, they are qualified for higher-level jobs. The fresh graduates can come into their vacated places.

For anybody coming in, we invest about 12 weeks of immersive hands-on learning across skills where we have demand. It could be cloud, it could be full-stack development, it could be AI, it could be machine learning, it could be data analytics. We have a bunch of these streams in which we run 10- to 12-week immersive hands-on clinics. We believe that these recent graduates can absorb learning like a sponge and also bring in new perspectives.

ES: Talk to us about how TCS strengthens the STEM ecosystem in New Jersey.

We have two flagship programs that foster innovation and career readiness. TCS’ go Innovate Together (goIT) program, a STEM training initiative, fosters digital innovation and career readiness. This program has impacted over 42,000 students in the U.S. and Canada, including more than 870 students in New Jersey at 25 unique events in 2021. Overall, more than 2,900 students in New Jersey have engaged in goIT programming, through teaching curriculums and other programs, such as CSEdWeek and STEM Career Accelerator Day. In August 2021, TCS also celebrated the culmination of a month-long goIT STEM Camp with the Edison, New Jersey, Board of Education, with 350 students participating. 

 TCS’ Ignite My Future in School, a pioneering, transdisciplinary program for K-12 education, helps educators embed computational thinking into core subjects such as math, science, language arts and social studies. Since its launch in 2017, Ignite My Future has reached 26,300 educators and 1.55 million students across North America. To date, we have partnered with more than 375 school districts and nonprofit partners. In 2021, TCS supported New Jersey teachers and students through two TECHademy events, which are professional development sessions for educators from school districts across the state. 

 The TCS goIT and Ignite My Future in School programs are open to any schools that are interested in participating. TCS relies on a variety of channels to reach educators: word of mouth among teachers in our network, proactive outreach, government relations initiatives, TCS employee volunteer programs, and proactive engagement by our own employees. Since TCS has a particular focus on students traditionally underrepresented in STEM careers, we do research on states and cities to see which may have the greatest need and/or have new laws or mandates around computer science standards..

Esther Surden is Editor & Publusher of NJ TechWeekly. This article, which first appeared there, is republished here with her permission.

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Akamai to buy Linode for $900 million

Philly-based Linode has agreed to sell to Cambridge-based Akamai for $900 million. Linode, which moved up to Philly from the Jersey shore a few years back, expects revenue near $100 million in the current year .

My impression is that Linode’s recent growth has been steady but perhaps a bit disappointing given the market it operates in. Founder Christopher Aker has famously rejected outsude financing ecxept for equipment leases,
so he’ll do well but may have forfeited some growth.

By comparison, competitor DigitalOcean, founded in 2011, now is worth almost $7 billion.

“There is natural synergy between Akamai and Linode, not only in our missions and cultures, but in the potent combination of strengths we each bring to the table,” said Aker.
“The marriage of Linode’s compute and storage products with Akamai’s serverless, CDN, and security solutions, will give customers a broader range of services to build, modernize, and scale the next generation of applications.”

Linode, founded in 2003, currently employs 238.

Press Release #security

Circonus: Great tech, large market opportunity, huge competitors

Tom Paine

See who are usually named as Circonus’ main competitors; Datadog ($55.8 bn marketcap), New Relic ($7.2 bn) & Dynatrace ($17.6. bn). While Circonus, with 25 employees, doesn’t compete with all the services these companies provide, just to be mentioned in the same breadth is a huge positive. Although it brings back memories of being in LA Harbor in a small speedboat right nexf to one of those gjant Asian containerships.

Malvern-based Circonus, under CEO Bob Moul, recently raised $10 million led by Baird Capital, bringing its total capital raised to $16.8 milllion. NewSpring Capital and Osage Venture Partners also participated again, along with Bull City Partners (a reference to the Durham Bulls).

Circonus provides a platform for monitoring the quality of real time transmissions, today often in the form of video streaming it seems, but any type of telemetry is applicable. Apps that produce spigots of data, like what come across financial wires, are another example.

Founder Theo Schlossnagel
is still active as Engineer Emeritus. The Maryland-based Schlossnagel has serious tech creds. Among companies he help to found was Message Systems (now SparkPost) once owned by LLR Partners, which eventually sold for $600 million earlier this year..
Schlossnagel is a recognized expert on scalability..

Moul, best kown for his time running Boomi, is skilled at packaging and simplifying complex technologies and selling them to the boardroom as well as to developers. Moul has currently been rounding out the senior management team, including the addition of former GreenPhire CTO David Wallace as Circonus. CTO. Moul brought Chris McNabb over to Boomi to eventually become CEO, and that worked out rather well.

Circonus’ Full Stack platform incorporates a number of powerful technologies under the hood, led by a highly scalable time series database (IRONdb). Ciconus’ patented Histogram technology, now open source, allows for reducing the volume of data stored while representing its distribution accurately.

Earlier this year, Circonus introduced a “Zero Gravity” Data solution for Edge,5g and IoT applications.

Circonus’ customer base is inpressive: HBO, Xandr (built around the ad platform AppNexus) which AT&T just agreed to sell to Microsoft, MLB, Cisco Webex and Redfin among them.

The new raise will enable Circonus to double headcount, expand product development & sales and marketing.

Feedbsck and reviews on Circonus’ tech stack are usually excellent, although some note a complex installatiom process and a desire for better documentation.


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Comcast exec, Navy vet to run for GOP nomination in PA 5th district

David Galluch, 31, of Newtown Square,
has filed to run for Congress as a Republicans in PA’s 5th
District. If he wins the nomination, he would face Democratic incumbent Mary Gay Scanlon.

Galluch is currently Senior Manager, Growth and Strategic Development, at Comcast.

Galluch graduated from the Naval Academy, spent years in service, and received his Masters from the University of Cambridge.

In the Navy, he served in the Middle East and Somalia and was a Navy Seal.

Scanlon, the incumbent, receieved 64% in the 2020 race, so Galluch faces an uphill battle. Scanlon had previously been an attorney with Ballard Spahr.

The Fifth District, composed mostly of Delaware County, has been a swing district in recent years.

Comcast Earnings: A view from several angles

Comcast reported quarterly earnings this past Thursday, and despite its CFO’s recent warning of slower broadband growth, results slightly exceeded analyst expectations. Decent revenue growth from Comcast Cable and a strong bounceback performance from Covid levels from NBCU led to 19% revenue growth in the quarter. Wireless growth was also strong.

Comcast’s business has growing complexity, as Peacock, Sky, Wireless, and in future quarters its smart TV product all need to be analyzed. The following reports cover the results from different angles.

Central Florida’s Universal Orlando Resort has record-breaking quarter, said top exec – Orlando Business Journal (bizjournals.com)

Comcast begins work in Bethany Beach | Bethany Beach | coastalpoint.co

Comcast’s broadband growth slows but wireless may be a hidden gem – MarketWatch

Comcast Takes $520M Loss On Peacock, Doesn’t Disclose New Sign-Ups – The Hollywood Reporter (ampproject.org)

Comcast’s Profit Doubles, Boosted by Tokyo Olympics, Theme Parks – WSJ (ampproject.org)

Apple And Comcast Set Two-Way Streaming Distribution Deal – Deadline (ampproject.org)

Comcast (CMCSA) earnings Q3 2021 (cnbc.com)

Chesterbrook-based Deacom sells to Texas-based ECI

Tom Paine

Its a classic American story, of the solo entrepreneur taking on the world to build a successful company that competes with huge global enterprises.

Jay Deakins started Deacom out of his basement in the Philly suburbs. Since its founding in 1995, Deacom grew, gradually but consistently, to being acquired by Fort Worth-based ECI Software Solutions, announced today. Terms were not disclosed.

I first wrote about Deacom back in 2011, when it added Yeungling, the brewery, as a customer (it remains one today). Deacom now has 0ver 200 customers and 200 employees.

Deacom provides SaaS and on-premise ERP systems for small & medium batch and process manufacturers (which require different metrics) and distributors. ECI already has an ERP solution for discrete manufacturers.

Jay Deakins will no longer be part of the combined company, but his son Scott Deakins will remain as the Deacom Business Unit Leader.

While Deacom had no external equity funding, ECI is majority-owned by PE firm Leonard Green & Partners, which in turn bought out previous investors Carlyle Group and Apax Partners in late 2020. (Apax continued as a minority owner.) That deal valued ECI at $2.5 billion, per reports. ECI has grown through more than 15 acquisitions and now has more than 1,000 employees.

And though its unlikely that Deacom could have pursued an IPO on its own, ECi is probably in a position to do so if it wishes.

There may also be additional opportunities for rolling up other SME products & services through one provider.

PARAMUS-BASED NUVOLO MANAGES THE CONNECTED WORKPLACE — AND IT’S GROWING FAST

Tom Stanford, CEO and founder of Nuvolo |
Courtesy Nuvolo

 

August 10, 2021  Esther Surden

Nuvolo is the fastest-growing workplace solutions company you’ve probably never heard of, and it is headquartered in Paramus.

In March, the company raised $32 million in a Series C round, which included $1 million from the world-famous Mayo Clinic.

Global venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners (New York) led the round. Other investors included New Enterprise Associates (New York), Kaiser Permanente Ventures (Oakland, Calif.) and Revelation Partners (San Francisco).

Nuvolo said that it will use the Mayo Clinic’s investment to advance the company’s operational technology (OT) cybersecurity solution, which helps healthcare organizations and other OT-intensive industries address the growing challenges posed by the proliferation of cybersecurity threats from network-connected devices.

In other words, Nuvolo enables organizations to manage their workplaces on one platform, and secures the internet of things for businesses that increasingly rely on connected sensors and devices.

But that’s not all that it does. NJTechWeekly.com interviewed Tom Stanford, founder and CEO of Nuvolo this summer.

According to Stanford, Nuvolo is in a war against “crappy legacy technology.” Companies like Veeva Systems (Pleasanton, Calif.), Salesforce (San Francisco), Workday (Pleasanton) and ServiceNow (Santa Clara, Calif.) are driving cloud adoption in this area, he said. And this, he emphasized, is a catalyst for Nuvolo, “as more customers look to modernize, visually transform and consolidate all of the legacy technology that exists out there in the marketplace.”

Nuvolo’s solution is called “Connected Workplace,” and it is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based integrated workplace management system (IWMS). IWMSs are the focal point of every digital transformation initiative, he said.

The Marketplace

Stanford filled us in on the marketplace where Nuvolo sits.  There are several market segments, he noted. One, dominated by Accruent (Austin), concerns simple-point-solution maintenance management technologies, largely in capital-intensive industries such as healthcare, life sciences and manufacturing. Many of the technologies used to take care of these assets are 15 to 20 years old.

Nuvolo is in a war against “crappy legacy technology.”

Tom Stanford, Nuvolo

Another market segment is enterprise asset management, which is dominated by companies like Archibus (Boston) and IBM Maximo (Armonk, N.Y.); they do full-scale asset lifecycle management, not for IT assets, but for OT such as medical devices, lab equipment and manufacturing devices.  “My own perspective on those technologies is they haven’t had an innovative thought in a decade. They’re there in those environments because they always have been.”

IWMSs, as defined by Gartner (Stamford, Conn.) and other firms, are becoming increasingly important post-COVID, now that the push for workplace safety and workplace experience is increasing, Stanford said. These systems include facilities management, space planning and management, real estate and lease management, capital project planning, sustainability and energy management. Nuvolo extends past traditional IWMSs to also incorporate workplace experience, project planning, OT security and more.

Nuvolo “provides all of those capabilities on a single platform, fully interconnected, built natively on the most modern capable cloud or SaaS platform in the world with ServiceNow,” said Stanford. “Our business is completely focused on the whole concept of the Connected Workplace. That means managing things like your physical workplace, space planning and your carbon footprint on one platform. And as for security, we’re not just focused on protecting desktops, laptops and communications services, but also on protecting CCTV [closed-circuit television] cameras, pipeline sensors; all of these assets that now have operating system software, MACs [media access control hardware] and IP [internet protocol], and are on the network. It’s the Wild West out there.”

Leading in Security for Connected Devices

With regard to OT security, Nuvolo is leading in this area, though very quietly, Stanford said. And he added, “We secure nearly a million OT devices today from a cybersecurity perspective — not IT, but OT: medical devices, facilities devices, laboratory devices. We are solving a problem that no one else is solving right now.

“The reason we are able to do this is that the Connected Workplace strategy allows Nuvolo to be the single authoritative source of inventory for all the operational technology,” he said.  “We manage all OT from a service-management perspective. We manage the space that it fits in, the device that it sits in. We interact with parts utilization, how it’s performing during the whole OT service-management lifecycle, including the security of the device. This is all part of our Connected Workplace strategy.”

Raising Money During COVID

We asked Stanford about how COVID-19 has affected the company, especially its efforts to raise financing.

“We not only did a financing round, but it was an extraordinary financing round for Nuvolo,” he said. Stanford noted that they had done the entire $32 million raise virtually, although the executive team knew Insight Partners from before the pandemic. “Insight Partners is one of the most prestigious venture financing companies in the world,” he said. Nuvolo also had an “incredible valuation, and we experienced material growth in the business during COVID.” Nuvolo also hired nearly 80 people during 2020.

During the pandemic, “We acquired new customers and grew revenue, not at the rate we had planned in March of 2020, but we made adjustments to our plan. But the bottom line was we took the business off and to the right, and that was a big part of getting the financing.”

“People ask me, ‘Did you plan for a rainy day?’ I answer, ‘Yeah, I started planning for a rainy day seven-and-a-half years ago, when I started Nuvolo.’”

Tom Stanford, Nuvolo

Nuvolo has always been a frugally run company, he said. It had previously raised about $30 million, which was about a quarter of what comparable companies had raised. Also, “We take good care of our customers and our teammates. We are a good company to do business with and we planned ahead,” he said.

“People ask me, ‘Did you plan for a rainy day?’ I answer, ‘Yeah, I started planning for a rainy day seven-and-a-half years ago, when I started Nuvolo.’”

Thinking Out of the Box about Hiring

The raise will also enable the company to employ even more crucial employees. “We are going from 300 people to the low to mid 500s by the end of the year. And 14  or 15 months post fundraising, we will double the head count of the company,” he said.

Stanford noted that there are about 60 employees who live and work in New Jersey and, “We expect that by next year there will be over 100.” The company started to flex back to the office around July 4, on a voluntary basis.

Getting STEM workers is a challenge for Nuvolo, Stanford noted, and that has led the company to do some out-of-the-box thinking about hiring. “We have a good working relationship with the New Jersey Institute of Technology,” and the company will be implementing its New Talent Program with NJIT and two other institutions in the United States “to get some time-zone variability.” Nuvola is also participating in the similar Freshers program in India and Sofia, Bulgaria.

“We want to be talking to the kids in their sophomore and junior years, starting to build and cultivate those relationships, and we’re not going to start hiring them in fives and sixes. We’re going to start hiring them in groups of 25 and 50. Here’s the value proposition, and we call it the “New Talent Program.” The idea is, get these kids when they’re 19 to 20. Get them assimilated into Nuvolo and get them to know us, and then we will make a huge commitment to onboarding and resourcing. We will then bring them into a structured six-to-nine-month assimilation program. We’ll teach them React, teach them ServiceNow, teach them JavaScript if they don’t have those basic skills already… and try to leverage it so [we have] 36 to 48 months of continuity with those resources.”

Stanford noted that this isn’t philanthropy on the company’s part. There just aren’t enough people trained in these areas for the company to hire. “We have to be in the business of training, enabling and building talent and capability. That’s going to be the secret to our success. We have to grow with some speed. You know we’re going to go to 600. Then we’re going to go right to 1,200 very, very quickly. You either grow or die in this space, and if we do this very well, we can grow quickly and maintain our culture,” Stanford said.

Esther Surden is Publisher & Founder of NJTechWeekly. This post originally appeared in NJTechWeekly, and is republished here with the author’s permission.