India's Top 500 Companies 2016

India's Top 500 Companies 2016


Please give us a brief profile of your company and the businesses it is engaged in.

Altran is a global leader in innovation and high-tech engineering consulting company headquartered in Neuilly - Paris (France). The Group’s mission is to assist customer enterprises in their efforts to create and develop new products and services. Every day, we bring our clients’ most complex projects to life and enhance their performance through our expertise in technologies and innovation processes. In this way, Altran has contributed to some of the major technological advances in recent decades, in the fields of speed, precision, security, communication, practicality, interoperability, artificial intelligence, etc. For 30 years, Altran has been a privileged innovation partner to various industries in the field of Aerospace, Automotive, and Energy.

Having an international presence, Altran operates in ~20 countries throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. As a strategic partner, Altran offers its customers’ global projects support while guaranteeing a consistent level of service. Also, in order too provide specific support to dedicated local markets, Altran has chosen to maintain a regional dimension, via management by the various geographical divisions which make up the Group.

Altran India is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Altran Group. Altran India was established in 2004 in Bangalore. Bangalore is known as the “Silicon Valley of India”. Altran India is also present in Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Noida. As part of the Altran group, our purpose is to deliver projects with the best results in terms of quality, profitability & innovation and to be our client’s first choice. The five key sectors of Altran India’s Technology and Innovation consulting expertise are in Aerospace, Automotive, Railways, Energy/ Nuclear and Media/Telecom. Altran India has three key consulting domains across the five industries as mentioned above which are Mechanical Engineering, Intelligent Systems and Plant Engineering.

What are the factors that differentiate your company from the competitors?

  1. Work ethics and avowed policy of putting people first
  2. Our global footprint and reach combined with local strengths of doing business in India
  3. Seen as India’s fastest growing Engineering Services company makes us one of the most attractive employers
  4. Being the largest global player also gives our people opportunities to work on cutting edge technology

The dynamics of the business are changing very fast and the organizations are finding difficulty in coping with the changing business scenarios. How does your company help the organizations to cope–up with the changing business scenarios in terms of competency, skills and cost effectiveness?

The success of technology consulting business is driven by the speed with which it can adapt to change and this includes people processes and technology. At Altran, we believe in empowerment – this is what allows people to feel confident about sharing ideas, expressing disagreement and trying out new things without fearing failure. We recognize those who take risks and fail as much as those who have succeeded in course of their business. We believe humility and respect for humans is the key to identifying where the next big change is coming from and being nimble helps us make quicker decisions to cope with the impending change. As an example we are an organization of nearly 1800 engineering personnel in Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics; with offices in 7 cities and yet we have less than 75 support staff including our front office and pantry attendant. This is what technology can do to enhance efficiency and we believe in living it around us!

Your company provides support to European companies in terms of outsourcing strategies. Could you highlight critical factors that are considered adopted by your company in making the outsourcing strategies for your clients?

First is the need to imbibe the work approaches. For example, in India we are comfortable with partially correct solutions and work around options we call it Jugad! At Altran we detest Jugad!! When you work with sensitive technologies in fields such as Aerospace, Nuclear and Silcion engineering, you have to be 100% right, 100% of the time and every time first time!! We link our staff variable pay to ‘FIRST TIME RIGHT’ on delivery. So for us precision, accuracy and delivering, FIRST TIME RIGHT is more important than delivering something 90 % right even if it’s on time. We never commit and say YES when we mean MAYBE. These and several other factors have ensured that in the last 5 years Altran India has not lost a single customer and more than 80 % of our customers have grown their engagement with us.

Which are the most important changes that India’s leading corporates need to make today, in order to be effective contributors to the process of country’s economic and social development?

There are several changes – but to list a few

  1. Indian corporates need to shift their focus from just targeting operational excellence to making STRATEGIC choices and investing with conviction on those choices
  2. Indian companies need to have more HUMILITY to learn best practices from other geographies such as countries in Europe, the USA or even neighbors such as China, Vietnam and Singapore.
  3. Develop a more open and trusting culture at work. This in some sense links in with the earlier point on operational excellence. Whilst at one end we demand the highest standards of excellence on governance and ethics from the government, it appears not so difficult to compromise it when it comes to our own business needs, something we observe repeatedly. Although with greater effort and harder work it is equally possible for the company to achieve their objectives. The more the corporates go down this path higher will be their direct contribution to both economic and social development of this country.

What are the technical skills which are going to be popular in the near future? How do you define the new-age engineer?

Mechatronics is going to be the mantra for this year, which is combining mechanical engineering with electronics and software skills. We don’t have much of it in India but that is something we would be looking at aggressively to develop both from the mechanical side as well as software side. This is one area where we bring a lot of value, both as an enterprise and in terms of value to the customer. The other will be the whole suite of semi-conductor chip design including taking ownership for developing customised chips for which we have the capability, which very few other companies do. These two would be areas will really drive technical skills in engineering services.

Previously, when you thought of an engineer, the first thing you thought was a guy who is structured, focused and does what he is assigned. The last thing you wanted him to be was versatile, able to manage change and handle ambiguity. Today, that is the first thing you want. Can he mange in a rapidly changing environment? Is he smart enough to understand what is changing around him and therefore how does he need to adapt? This brings you to that classic saying of Bertrand Russell that experience which formally was an asset can be a liability because it was acquired under different circumstances. So is it for engineering, today.

It is no longer about how much experience you come with. It is about what is your ability to manage across verticals, across domains and grapple with change. A young engineer, who can do that, is probably going to be more successful than somebody who has 15 years of experience, simply because his adaptability is much lower. That is why we are no longer talking about experience, we talk about expertise.