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All fishing in the same talent pool: Tesco CTO Guus Dekkers

Companies, ranging from the technology units of retailers to car manufacturers and Indian IT firms, have been struggling to recruit talent with knowledge of new technologies that are disrupting businesses across the world.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 18, 2019, 07.22 AM IST
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Tesco started India operations about 15 years ago, focusing initially on services.

Bengaluru: Tesco does not face difficulty in getting funds for technology projects, but only in finding the technical talent to execute them as digital skills are in short supply in the country, the UK-based retailer’s chief technology officer Guus Dekkers said.

Companies, ranging from the technology units of retailers to car manufacturers and Indian IT firms, have been struggling to recruit talent with knowledge of new technologies that are disrupting businesses across the world. A slew of global retailers, including Tesco, Target and the Chile-based Falabela, have set up shop in India to try and access the country’s talent pool. “Everybody is fishing in the same pond and it is not a very large pond,” Guus Dekkers said in an interview.

Tesco started India operations about 15 years ago, focusing initially on services. The company now also builds products out of the country, in collaboration with global teams, Dekkers said. “What we don’t want to do and are moving away from is the classical services model,” Dekkers said. “Our technology team has shifted to pure engineering and product.”

Tesco has over 3,800 employees in India, and about 1,400 of them work in its technology division. Dekkers said the India technology arm works closely with its technology teams in the UK and Eastern Europe. A slew of grocery and retail firms have faced bankruptcy or have had to curtail tech spending after facing the onslaught of ecommerce firms.

Tesco has also been updating tech and preparing to deal with the onslaught of online retailers in the fresh grocery space. The firm uses its stores as delivery hubs and customers can choose to have their groceries delivered or pick them up from the store. “Because we are closer to customers, we can deliver in the two-hour, three-hour time frame that customers have come to expect,” Dekkers said.
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