Nagendra Venkaswamy, Managing Director, India and South Asia, Riverbed Technology, tells us why the R&D center is an integral part of Riverbed, how the company is positioned to take advantage of the changing enterprise technology landscape, and how is it developing its India workforce in line with the changing demands. Excerpts:
How important is the Bangalore R&D center to Riverbed’s India growth and expansion plans?
2016 has been a momentous year for Riverbed India. Lots of changes have been happening here.
First of course, we set up this center. We expect that we will be well over 200 people by the mid of next year. The main idea of the engineering facility is that it’s not an offshore center. It’s a part and parcel of Riverbed and is an integral part of the company. Every employee working here is just like a Riverbed employee in any other engineering center or sales or any other function.
We have renewed our focus on the Indian market, we started it about three-four years ago, and we expanded all our offices in India.
Earlier our focus used to be in the enterprise space with a handful of useful distributors and partners. Now the focus has expanded to include service providers and other partners.
The third major activity that has happened is the complete expansion in our product lines and market coverage. From being predominantly a WAN optimization kind of company, we are now into optimization, visibility, efficiency and agility. So we have four sets of offerings and solutions in the market. If I put it in a nutshell, we have changed the complete foundation of our India focus in the last year or so.
How do you see the Indian market evolve in terms of enterprise technology demands?
As Indian companies get into hybrid networks, datacenter, cloud plus the traditional enterprise networking, and Saas, big data and all these models, networks and applications have started getting very complicated. Applications have become resource heavy, and networks have become complex. Managing the performance of networks and applications has got a sense of urgency and customer satisfaction has become a huge issue. We did a survey were we talked to several 100 CIOs and found that application performance is the key to business performance. When you have complex networks, complex applications, Saas and all of these things coming at the same time then how to address those issues? That’s where Riverbed comes in.
Can you share some insights into the talent development and hiring plans for the R&D center?
We are not going to be very credential focused in the way we hire, we are trying to move away from that to talent based. Companies like ours are not mass hirers. Yet, there is enormous intellectual property sitting on the head of each of our engineers, and when these people go home, humongous amount of intellectual property walks out through the door. So we want all of them to come back. What we do is we have long passed the stage of ADM. Our guys are in the thick of Riverbed’s innovation engine.
The bells and whistles of having a nice office and Friday fun and frolic and all that is part of it, but that’s not core to anyone’s life, that’s not your winning strategy, what stays is the quality of work that you do.
Second thing we do is even though we are a billion dollar company, we work like a start up. Lot of independence, ability to do your own thing, new products are coming thick and fast, so what we are saying is we offer the excitement of a start up but the stability of an established company. With start up excitement comes risk, we are giving you the excitement of start ups but your monthly paycheck is not at stake.
The best source of hiring is our own employees itself. Practically, I would be surprised if we do less than 80% of our employee recruitment through referrals. Plan is to spend close to 100 million dollars in the next few years.