Contemporary GIC managers in India must take on the role of 'Intrapreneurs'

28 November 2018 3 min. read

As India maintains its position as an international hub for global in-house centres (GIC) in the engineering research and development domain, Zinnov Consulting recommends that those in charge of GICs must evolve from fulfilling a purely administrative role to developing innovative capabilities.

India has long been a hub for outsourced operations, particularly in the domain of engineering, given its large pool of talent in the field. One particular area in which the country’s market has been expanding is that of engineering research and development (ER&D).

Overall, India was home to GICs for as many as 1,257 multinational corporations last year, 943 of which were operational in the ER&D domain. This year, the total number has jumped to 1,208 GICs, 976 of which belong in the ER&D field, according to data from Zinnov Consulting,

Based in Bangalore, Zinnov is a global research and consulting firm that specialises in the domains of product engineering and digital transformation. As per the firm’s analysis, GICs in India might be expanding in numbers, but the sector will fail to achieve real progress unless senior executives in the sector shift the scope of their functions.

Contemporary GIC managers in India must take on the role of

Innovation has become the key to remaining competitive for most businesses in recent years, and a crucial ingredient for an innovative company profile is a talented individual at the helm of the firm, driving transformation initiatives. The firm defines these individuals as “Intrapreneurs.”

As explained by Anand Subramaniam, Associate Director at Zinnov, “Based on our analysis of over 200 GICs, the country managers in the GIC ecosystem have 3 broad personalities – Governor, a ribbon cutter, president of the company, who is just an administrative figure or a face of the company.”

“The Techie, who is tech driven and provides intelligence on what kind of technology they should go after. The Intrapreneur, who takes responsibility for large transformation initiatives or local market initiatives, driving topline growth or technology initiatives from India, who is the equivalent of an entrepreneur in a start-up,” he added.

Based on these categorisations, Zinnov finds that only 6% of the GIC managers that it studied can be termed as Intrapreneurs. Of the executives surveyed – in excess of 200 – 76% could be categorised as “Governors,” while 18% can be described as “Techies.”

“As the GICs transform and mature in India, Governor and Techie country heads will have to add new capabilities to their personalities to become Intrapreneurs and use the power of the ecosystem including start-ups and Academia, to transform their organisations. We estimate that 58 per cent of the GICs will need an Intrapreneur in the next 5 years, if they have to compete with the US, China, Israel and Eastern European nations,” concludes Subramaniam.