Intrapreneurship, the new 'in thing' in IT

There are many instances where an employee leaves a company in pursuit of becoming an entrepreneur.

Indian IT companies, however, have added a twist in the tale by coming up with initiatives that harness entrepreneurial skills within the organisation, in turn retaining employees.

For instance, at Cognizant, one of their initiatives to drive innovation is Cognizant Capital, which follows a venture capital model within the company under which employees are encouraged to suggest innovative business ideas that are then funded and incubated by the company.

Cognizant Capital has incubated primarily IP-based service offerings. The notable ones being Cognizant 2.0 (a Web 2.0-based platform that serves as a virtual “town square” for more than 140,000 Cognizant associates and over 100,000 active users who share knowledge and another being Cloud 360 (the Infrastructure Management and Monitoring Platform).
 
Screening

“An internal board that screens, selects and reviews business plans, allocates funds and resources in a staged model patterned after the Silicon Valley venture capitalist firms,” said Cognizant SVP and Global Head of Innovation, Sukumar Rajagopal.

Similarly, IT outsourcing company- Wipro has a dedicated Innovation office or Chief Technology Office to cater to path-breaking ideas in business and technology. The Chief Technology Office also has a dedicated fund to invest in new ideas and new technologies.

An example of successful idea  is the Single Channel ECG necklace which can be used for real-time monitoring of a patient in any location, home or hospital. The data from the ECG necklace can be monitored on a PC application and based on the data, manual analysis is done. The necklace supports bluetooth connectivity for sending data which is one way communication.

On whether this helps retaining employees, Chief Technology Officer & Senior Vice President Wipro Global IT Business, Anurag Srivastava said, “Definitely, though we do not collect data around it.”
Another IT giant Mahindra Satyam has also created a fund to promote ideas within employees so that they get the support they need, and in some way see that employees remain within the company.

For Mahindra Satyam & Tech Mahindra, a game changing idea from one of their associate is funded by the Entrepreneurship Program fund and the individual is backed up by them. Some companies like HCL Technologies, though lacking such a fund has initiatives to incubate intrapreneurship among employees, have programmes to encourage them. 

The company’s main intrapreneurial ventures include Value-portal and MAD JAM.
Launched in 2010, MAD JAM offers a central platform for celebrating the ideas and innovation of employees from across the organisation. The ideas are shortlisted by voting process and short films are created to showcase the business impact of each idea.

“To further boost organisational profitability, intrapreneurship is seen to be a key element in making an organisation reach greater heights. Some of these ideas are incubated within the processes,” said HCL Technologies Vice-President & Head - Strategic Marketing, Krishnan Chatterjee.

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