Wipro has developed a state of the art Artificial Intelligence platform called Holmes which has been described as “.. a rich set of cognitive computing services for the development of digital virtual agents, predictive systems, cognitive process automation, visual computing applications, knowledge virtualization, robotics and drones.”
Wipro aims to generate revenues of $60-70 million by selling Holmes (heuristics and ontology-based learning machines and experiential systems) AI platform to clients; but it seems there is another way Holmes will make Wipro rich: By replacing humans.
In one of the largest automation related job replacement witnessed in India, Wipro will replace 3300 ‘human engineers’ with Holmes AI platform, thereby making a strong precedent for other IT biggies to do the same.
Wipro and HCL, two of the largest IT Services companies hired less people, for the first time in two decades, and TCS has witnessed less workforce in their payrolls during January-March period. And now, as Wipro replaces 3300 engineers with bots, it is clear where Indian IT biggies are heading into now.
We had already hinted the possibilities when Foxconn, one of the largest electronics manufacturing companies in the world decided to replace 60,000 humans with robots.
What Will Holmes Do At Wipro?
As per details emerging, Wipro will replace 3300 engineers from ‘fixed-price’ projects and allocate the tasks to the AI platform.
Fixed price projects in the outsourcing world are those projects, which have a fixed cost involved, and the client is not bothered about how many human resource or robots the outsourcing vendor deploys to finish that task.
For example, in this case, Holmes will perform loan application tasks on half of humans. Using cognitive search, Holmes will quickly check the person’s credit history, compare the interest rates, his credibility and then approve or reject the loan application. This was earlier done by humans.
Wipro’s big idea is to generate an additional revenues of $60-70 million by selling Holmes to various clients; and what better way to showcase its efficiency by performing automation for your own projects?
How Many Engineers Would Be Affected?
Wipro has 1,50,000 employees, out of which 1,10,000 are involved in the delivery side of operations. Out of this, 30,000 are involved in ‘fixed-price projects’, where AI and Automation is making a big dent, and disrupting the operations.
Out of 30,000, Wipro has decided to replace 3300 employees, and as per the analysis of various experts, the number will only go up from here.
Wipro’s new chief executive officer Abidali Neemuchwala has made plans to triple their revenues to 12-14% by 2017, and it seems replacing humans is one of the key strategies. Abid wants to make Wipro a $20 billion IT firm with an operating margin of 23%, compared to 20.5% currently. And as per the theory, reducing humans can improve the numbers.
An executive said, “Hyper-automation is one of the six themes Abid has outlined. We will move out 1,300 engineers on on-site (fixed price contracts) and about 2,000 people from off-site this year,”
It is not yet clear what would actually happen with these 3300 engineers: they can be either re-skilled, or worse, they may be asked to leave the company.
TCS is using their AI platform Ignio whereas Infosys is using intelligent platform Mana to replace humans with bots, and algorithms. In 2015, top 5 IT firms recruited 24% less employees; and as per WEF, automation and robots will kill 5.1 million jobs by 2020.
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