CGMA interview: Leveraging technology

CGMA interview: Leveraging technology

We’re interviewing leading members of the CGMA community around the world to obtain their insights into future ways of working. 

Mr Bhat is the CFO at Gammon India, the largest civil engineering construction company in India. He believes that an increasingly open workforce, drawn from a more geographically diverse talent pool than ever, will be vital for the continued success of the organisation. 

How is the mix of internal and external talent you need changing?
The workforce is evolving into a mixture of full time employees, contractors, freelancers, and increasingly people with no formal ties to your enterprise at all. You have to work with people who move more freely from role to role across the organisation and across geographical boundaries. 

What’s driving this change?
I think today’s businesses require agility to react to changes in global markets, they require the right skills, and the ability to move in real time. 

So your workforce is increasingly international?
We use joint venture partners and we need help from many worldwide engineering experts, so we have to approach things globally. Even when you operate in India, things are getting globalised, as people need to make things happen at the lowest cost, at a faster speed, which means investing in quality. I think globalisation is opening up new ways of acquiring, developing and managing talent in the workforce.

What role will technology play in managing an open workforce?
I think technology is a foundation for anything that is going to happen in the open workforce because people can now learn, share and work anywhere in the world. I think cloud technology is helping to enable the execution of this open workforce in a seamless fashion and social media is playing a critical role, not just in connecting the workforce, but also in enabling innovation.

How can technology expand the talent base you can tap into?
When organisations face problems, they can now use digital channels to post these problems out in the open and ask for solutions. Reaching out to that broader community is critical as it can provide access to smarter people outside your company who can help you to solve issues. 

Do you think most organisations are prepared to do this?
I think organisations must change their culture – they have to be progressive and be prepared to open themselves up. 

What role can CGMAs play in helping their company’s transition to the era of the open workforce?
I feel that data analytics will be very critical in better measuring performance and risks as well as in setting strategy, so management accountants must understand how to deliver meaningful insights from complex data and communicate those effectively. I believe a greater understanding of technology is important too – those that become technology savvy will be the big winners.