Tata Consultancy Services Achieves Industry-Leading
Level of Microsoft Certifications for Fiscal Year 2009
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is a global technology and business consulting organization with capabilities spanning from Application Platform Optimization (APO) to collaboration to Core Infrastructure Optimization (IO). TCS manages an expansive worldwide IT infrastructure to meet their customer needs, including over 140,000 Windows Servers, approximately 500,000 end user devices, and more than 400,000 Mailboxes on Exchange.
TCS built its business reputation on the company promise, “Experience Certainty.” To continue to deliver on that pledge, achieve wider recognition as a best-in-class service provider on Microsoft technologies, and to take advantage of future growth opportunities, TCS wanted to ensure that their global workforce can maintain the most up-to-date skill sets.
Their goal was to provide a guided career path for technology professionals to take their associates from entry level to Microsoft platform architect to enterprise architect. TCS views certifications as a key element in validating associates’ competency.
TCS enlisted the help of a Microsoft Certified Learning Consultant from WrightRobbins, a technology and learning consultancy, to help develop and carry out a comprehensive readiness plan geared toward achieving certifications as an objective measure of qualifications that could be applied globally across the organization.
“Working with a learning consultant helped us establish an easy-to-understand, practical learning plan leveraging the most efficient learning methods,” said Girish Phadke, Technology Excellence Group Leader for TCS.
Beginning in early 2009, the learning consultant helped TCS define a clear roadmap for technical career progression and milestones for a full range of competency development initiatives on the Microsoft platform, culminating in Enterprise Architect Program certification.
This training roadmap leverages a flexible mix of online learning, instructor-led trainings, webinars, virtual and practical labs for hands-on learning. TCS also implemented a robust tracking and reporting tool to stay on top of training and certification goals and maintain a certification scorecard to showcase their capabilities to customers.
TCS encourages associates to undertake a minimum of two certifications per year: one to meet specific project demands and the other to meet the individual’s career objectives or aspirational competency. In twice-yearly evaluations, associates can be nominated for training programs by project leads or proactively self-nominated.
The certification-oriented learning paths were also integrated with “c-Develop”, TCS’ internal learning and development program – a process-oriented competency framework that promotes continuous career advancement from new recruit training to leadership skill building. In addition, the learning consultant helped TCS leverage new learning and certification opportunities available to the company as a Microsoft Center of Excellence. TCS’ Technology Excellence Centers provide associates with the opportunity to participate in early product testing and development, better positioning the company as a provider of cutting-edge technology solutions.
By the end of Fiscal Year 2009, 3,500 TCS associates across the globe successfully earned one or more certifications from Microsoft in diverse technology areas including Infrastructure Optimization, Applications Platform Optimization, Collaboration, Portals and Enterprise Content Management, SQL Business Intelligence, and Enterprise Solutions and Frameworks.
Within the Microsoft partner community, TCS ranked as the company achieving the highest number of certified employees for the year.
Expand Revenue Opportunities
Thanks to the expertise gained through its training and certification program, TCS associates have been able to deepen the level of engagements with some of the organization’s key clients, and participate as architects for higher-level strategic IT projects.
One such client, a large U.K.-based financial organization that had engaged TCS for a Microsoft desktop optimization initiative, issued a competitive request for bids among a select group of top vendors for a new project to sequence over 1,000 applications leveraging Microsoft App-V.
Right from the initial stages of the bid process, the certified TCS associates driving the desktop optimization project were involved in presenting TCS’ capabilities and helping to influence the client’s decision process. TCS’ pitch highlighted their certifications on App-V, together with their team’s up-to-date knowledge of the client’s application infrastructure landscape.
TCS’ experienced, highly-qualified associates helped the company successfully compete in the RFP process, enabling TCS to win the sequencing project. The training program helped them quickly ramp up their team on the relevant technology, and the sequencing project is ongoing through September 2010.
In addition to expanding their business with a key client, TCS has also been able to achieve increased revenue margins from this engagement, based on a premium for the niche technology skills that their certified associates are able to deliver.
Win New Business
When customers select a vendor for a new initiative, they typically ask for data about competency and certifications. The certification level achieved by TCS over the past year has given them a competitive edge and helped them win new business,
“In the pre-contract phase, many prospective customers looking for transformation in their IT environment have evaluated our Microsoft Infrastructure capabilities and certifications and found them superior to our competition,” said Murali Menon, TCS Infrastructure Center of Excellence Leader. “These competencies definitely led to wins in our favor.”
TCS associates’ credentials offer an assurance of quality with objective proof of technology skills, and provide their customers with the confidence that TCS employees possess up-to-the-minute knowledge and the experience to get the job done successfully.
Scale Up Skills to Match Strategic Goals
With a company-wide learning roadmap, TCS has a clear, efficient path to scale up consultant teams on the best technologies to serve global customer needs – no matter where their associates are located. The result: TCS has developed a worldwide pool of skilled and motivated Microsoft platform architects and Enterprise Architects.
“By working with a learning consultant, we were also able to broaden the areas covered in our competency development program,” said Arun Sharma, Microsoft Global Alliance Manager for TCS. “We’re even more confident that we will be able to apply the best resources toward our projects.”
Motivate and Retain Employees
By defining career paths with growth for the long term, TCS has seen associates increasingly take advantage of training opportunities in the past year. A greater percentage of employees are going on to achieve certification: in the Infrastructure Services area alone, 99% of associates who attended training in the current fiscal year have obtained certification – up from a 70% rate in the past.
“We believe that achieving industry-recognized certification goes a long way in encouraging associates to pursue new skills and build a career in Microsoft technologies,” said Phadke, the Technology Excellence Group Leader. “In the long run, we anticipate greater employee retention.”