Prismforce: Building an Agile Talent Supply Chain for Tech Services
Som and Qasim’s thesis is that the basic unit retailed by tech services firms is skill. While up-to-date inventory of the skills in their workforce should form the base of the tech stack, it is either missing or lacking in sophistication.
By Sidhant Goyal and Abhishek Mohan
The technology services industry, with a cumulative market cap of over $4 trillion and a global workforce of more than 20 million, is a core pillar of the global digital economy – and the backbone of India’s economy. Despite the fact that the technology services sector builds, ships and maintains a sizable chunk of the world’s software, there is no large vertical software vendor serving its varied needs.
This is a critical issue at a time when tech talent is in short supply, thanks to a rise in global demand for engineers and the explosion of India’s own software sector. At the same time, seismic shifts in the technology landscape are putting new pressure on the industry.
The rapid pace of technological innovation and the transition to cloud has sharply increased the number and variety of digital skills needed by technology services teams to serve their clients. For instance, a decade ago CSS/HTML was the only front-end application framework that mattered; today companies use one, some or all of React, Vue, Angular or NextJS. Projects are increasingly digital and cloud-native, timelines are crunched and client expectations are higher than ever before. Great talent is incredibly hard to hire, and even harder to engage and retain. Hyper-attrition is real, and has accelerated during the global pandemic. The demand-supply gap in tech services has widened and is here to stay.
Net net: An efficient talent supply chain, with digital skills as the core unit, is now mission-critical for the global IT services industry.
This is where Somnath Chatterjee and Mohammad Qasim, the founders of Prismforce, identified an opportunity. Somnath, who co-led McKinsey India’s Digital practice before starting up last year, was a Partner in the firm’s global TMT practice and served top IT companies across continents for over 14 years. Qasim was a senior engagement manager at McKinsey and worked closely with Som. Together, they have collectively advised more than 30 IT services and software companies on a variety of strategic and operational topics.
Som and Qasim’s thesis is that the basic unit retailed by tech services firms is skill. An up-to-date inventory of the skills in their workforce should form the base of the technology stack at every tech services firm. This foundational piece is either missing or not as sophisticated as it should be for most players.
The presence of a sophisticated and accurate skills inventory within a firm creates powerful downstream effects. With real-time visibility into their skills inventory, staffing managers can optimize the onshore/offshore teams for each project, and drive efficiency in the talent supply chain to improve the bottom line. Team leaders can staff the right resources with the requisite skills for project success. Revenue leaders can identify in-demand skills and charge a premium for them. Individual employees can define their career paths and fill skill gaps to fast-track their success.
This is the ecosystem of products that Somnath and Qasim are building at Prismforce: starting with a skill inventory and leveraging it to create additional modules in demand forecasting, pricing, CXO visibility, etc. Their deep subject matter expertise and sharp articulation of the problem statement and solution drove our conviction. Their ability to attract a stellar and diverse team of industry practitioners, technologists, and product managers right from the start convinced us of their execution chops.
Today, we’re delighted to announce that Sequoia Capital India is leading a $13.6 million Series A round in Prismforce.
Somnath and Qasim’s vision is to create the defining vertical software company for technology and professional services. The talent wedge in tech services is strategic, and opens a path to expand their product suite to cover a wider range of vertical use cases and sub-sectors spanning the gamut of professional services, including law, tax, accounting and consulting firms.
Prismforce is hiring across multiple roles – if you’d like to join this mission, give us a call.