Foreign language skills – last piece in jigsaw to make Vietnam IT sector competitive

UK-owned Harvey Nash, one of the largest companies in Viet Nam, has unveiled a new name, NashTech, for its software development and business process outsourcing divisions.

Viet Nam News asked Managing Director Nguyen Hung Cuong about the company’s business strategy and Viet Nam’s IT industry.

Nguyen Hung Cuong – Managing Director, Vietnam

With rich experience in Viet Nam and as one of the two biggest tech companies in the country, how do you see the potential of the Vietnamese software and outsourcing markets?

Viet Nam is an emerging market for outsourcing. Ten years ago, when we introduced our customers to our services, they were surprised we had our development centres in Viet Nam as it was such a new destination for outsourcing. Nowadays, many customers proactively come to us in Viet Nam to explore the opportunity for partnerships. Viet Nam is now mentioned regularly in outsourcing forums and conversations as a go-to destination for outsourcing.

We see the huge potential for outsourcing in Viet Nam with clients coming from the UK, Europe, the Middle East and APAC, but we will also face challenges with supply and demand. There will be more demand than supply which will make our labour costs rise more quickly.

To have sustainable, long-term business growth in the outsourcing market in Viet Nam, the Government, together with all outsourcing companies, will need to have measures in place to grow the IT workforce organically and sustainably, not only in terms of quantity but also quality.

Why the switch to NashTech for software development and business process outsourcing now? How does this dovetail with the company’s strategy globally?

Previously, the entire business in Viet Nam was known as Harvey Nash: this included both the recruitment and technology businesses. Outside Viet Nam, the brand is well known for executive search and IT recruitment and NashTech is the technology and outsourcing business.

This has caused confusion in the market and for our clients.

With the strategy to grow our business as a global and market leading brand in technology and outsourcing, we needed to provide transparency and clarity to our clients and help them distinguish between the two offerings, which is why we have re-branded the technology business as NashTech and kept the recruitment business as Harvey Nash.

Along with a new name, does your company also plan any changes in strategy?

The new brand shows our commitment to our strategy to become a global service provider in technology and outsourcing and deliver innovation to our clients world-wide. We have announced our new brand, NashTech, in all other countries where we have a presence gradually over the last three years. Launching the new brand in Viet Nam was the last piece of the jigsaw to show our commitment to investing in our Viet Nam business. There is no change in our business strategy, this change in Viet Nam just enhances it.

Staff of Harvey Nash at work. The company sees huge potential for outsourcing in Viet Nam. — VNS Photo

Harvey Nash has been in Viet Nam for more than 20 years. What is your takeaway from the market?

Viet Nam, with over 93 million people and more than half of the population under the age of 25, is a gold mine for the company. Our business was founded on talent. As one of the first foreign-invested companies coming to Viet Nam nearly 20 years ago, we have benefited from having early access to the large Vietnamese talent pool.

 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the IT workforce here? How competitive will it be when the market is opened up to the ASEAN Economic Com-munity?

The Vietnamese population is young and enthusiastic, with a passion for learning new things and always striving to do things better. Its IT workforce has young, dynamic, loyal, trustworthy and hardworking employees. However, it is not perfect and the Viet Nam IT workforce still has some weaknesses. The main weakness is foreign language skills. If we can improve our language skills, I believe Viet Nam’s IT workforce will have a very bright future in an open ASEAN Economic Community.

What should Viet Nam do to improve competitiveness?

Japanese and English are the two main languages for outsourcing markets. If we can make these languages mandatory at school in the early days of a child’s education, it will provide more chances to our workforce.

In addition, university curriculums should be regularly updated and refreshed to ensure that it includes training in real business requirements and situations.

Technology changes every day. We need universities to pro-actively work with companies to understand the demands of the market so that they can adjust their curriculum and give students greater opportunities to find jobs after graduation. A particular focus on soft skills will be a huge advantage. Giving students the opportunity to improve their presentation, communication and teamwork skills while they are still in school will be a huge asset at any workplace.

Source: Viet Nam News

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