Gearing up to make India a Centre of Excellence: Anjali Arora, Rocket Software

Anjali Arora, Chief Product Officer, Rocket Software, explains the company’s R&D strategy for India, aggressive hiring plans aligning with the Indian talent pool, and the growth potentials they offer.

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Several global businesses are setting up their research and development (R&D) centers in India, thanks to its trained manpower available at competitive rates. With a wide talent pool and resources, India is a budding goldmine for research. Rocket Software, an IT management software tools provider, made its foray into India with the aim of developing products in different geographies.

Anjali Arora, chief product officer of Rocket Software talks to CIO India about the India plans, hybrid cloud, and the Indian talent pool.

Rocket Software has been around for 28 years. Why the sudden interest in the Indian market?

Rocket Software has grown multifold in the last 28 years and a portion of it has been through acquisitions. We acquired an asset in India, which gave us an IP and an engineering team in Bangalore. We are very spread out, with 33 locations under our belt. We now wanted a model with consolidated centers of excellence in different geographies, with relevant talent and full ownership of the development of a set of products so it can be done end-to-end. As India is a hub of engineering talent pool, Rocket Software decided to make it one of the centers of excellence. 

India will be one of our major R&D centers. We are looking at expanding our team here from 40 at this moment to about 300 by 2019. They will have full product ownership, opportunity to go from an engineer to a CTO or an SVP. 

You said some of the geographies will own certain sort of products. What technologies are you focusing on for the Indian geography?

The company’s roots are in mainframe software. When we talk about mainframe, we talk about the big systems which are the IBM Z, then the mid-range systems which are IBM Power, and then we have our own platformthe MultiValue Application Platform. it is a database and application server. We work on these three main platforms. Then we develop all kinds of products- security, storage, data, application, infrastructure on these platforms. What we specialize even in these kinds of domains and platforms is modernizing and optimizing. In India, we are looking to match the talent and the kind of work the engineers in India are looking for, with what we do. In India, talent is more looking for modern things to work on like cloud, java, front-end, angular, and data virtualization. 

How do you see enterprises in India migrating their workloads to the cloud? How many of them are still comfortable moving their mission-critical applications to the cloud?

Cloud is an overloaded word! Everything can be in the cloud or nothing. Any large-scale organization in verticals like insurance, healthcare, fintech, retail have legacy systems and software. It is easy to think that we will move off and go to something new. But when you do it – it’s millions and millions of dollars. The realistic solution for that is the hybrid cloud. You keep some of it private and keep some of it on public and you connect the two. And, then you modernize your interfaces so the younger generation, your new workforce is able to have the experience that they expect. And by the way, that is Rocket Software’s strategy as well.  

What are you doing with AI currently?

Similar to DevOps, you can look at the performance of systems and then you can apply Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to predict and automate some of it. Some of it people do today; but they don’t do it to the level it can be done. It is easier said than done because you have to test out a lot of algorithms before it becomes real. We are experimenting with a lot of it. We are applying it to data infrastructure, security, and storage; that’s where most of our work happens.