Indian IT outsourcing firm Wipro is deploying its artificial intelligence platform Holmes to perform tasks currently handled by 3,000 of its software engineers.
The Bangalore-based outsourcing company will automate some of its services related to so-called ‘fixed-price projects’, freeing up engineers and saving up to US$46.5 million, Indian business daily Mint reports.
It is not clear whether these freed engineers will be dismissed or re-trained to perform different tasks within the organization.
Approximately 30,000 of Wipro’s delivery workforce are engaged in fixed-price projects. The company has over 150,000 employees, including 110,000 in delivery.
Wipro is also hoping to generate US$60-$70 million in revenue by selling some artificial intelligence applications to new and existing clients this year.
With their margins in traditional outsourcing businesses rapidly eroding, India’s IT services firms are increasingly turning to emerging technologies. They appear to have realized that they ought to move up the value chain and can no longer rely on labor arbitrage, one of the reasons for their success in the global technology market.
In the past year, the country’s top IT firms including TCS and Infosys have launched their own automation platforms. Wipro’s automation platform is called Holmes, while TCS and Infosys’ platforms are known as Ignio and Mana respectively.
There are little or no report as to how many Indian software engineers have lost their jobs to automation in the past one-year or so. According to a report from Mumbai-based brokerage firm Centrum Broking, India’s top five IT firms reported 24% fewer employees in 2015. That means artificial intelligence has already begun to take its toll on India’s massive technology workforce.
Even Cognizant Technologies and HCL Technologies are using automation tools to save money and increase productivity. But Infosys seems to be an exception. Some sources say Infosys is hiring more executives to bolster its automation portfolio.
US financial services firms have long been the important clients for Indian outsourcing firms. A recent report on The Wall Street Journal says American banks are now deploying artificial intelligence technologies to handle regulatory compliance.