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Innovation = Invention + Insight

Eavesdropping is crime, especially in corporate circles. I had no intention of committing this crime, but I could not ‘unlisten’ the very excited and loud description of a to-be-given presentation that this individual was narrating on the phone. “I will talk about the market scenario, then about emerging India, then how we are globalizing our business model and ……”

Of late, I have got tired of the incessant chant in politico-industrial circles – knowledge superpower India, emerging India, global positioning etc. Some have already placed India on the highest pedestal in the IT industry while others are modest enough to just lay claims over the top position by 2010/2020.
While it is true that, Indian companies with their Global Delivery Model, low-cost-highly-educated workforce and strong process orientation, are sure taking on the IBMs and Accentures of the world right from the front – but they are far from snatching the turf from these global majors. More so India poses no threat to American domination as yet and neither is its model disruptive enough to oust every American firm from the market.

For one, while Indian companies may be the preferred partners in implementing world renowned software packages or doing the back-office jobs, they are still squarely dependent on their partners like SAP, Siebel and IBM (itself) for innovating newer packages or add-ons to implement. This excerpt from Nandan Nilekani’s interview summarizes the general philosophy of the Indian Software Industry-

So if you take a long view of this game, it's just part of the process. They're going to happen whether you like it or not. In fact, the guys who are going to win are the ones who say, "It's going to happen anyway; let's figure out how we can take advantage of it."

There is no harm in taking advantage of the situation and making hay while the sun shines, but one should not ignore the value of innovation. While back-office may be giving us the much needed bucks, we must not re-invest them solely into creating bigger BPO campuses, but invest them into funding innovation. Again I differ slightly from Nandan when he says

For us it's about hiring and growth and building a brand; for them it's about restructuring the work force and I think, frankly, I wouldn't want to do that job because it's very painful, whereas this is exciting.

It is great to have a recruitment process which ensures that you grow in numbers and quality alike but continuous restructuring is also something that India Inc must look at. Infosys and Wipro are not as new as the yesterday startup that they will not have their share of pains. Kaizen as the Japanese would put it – is a way of life in the ever changing world.

To be continued …


  1. While tech-colie work has brought indian IT to where it is today, I wonder how far can it take india in the future. Different indian IT companies are trying out different approaches to tackle the issue. While Infosys wants to move up the value chain, into the Consulting domain, TCS wants to strengthen it's position at the bottom, by concentrating on BPO.
    While the GDM has been the pioneering inovation of the last decade, which has now been adopted by all IT heavyweights of the world, indian IT companies must now look for some new ways by which they can beat these heavyweights in their own game.

  2. whatever... IT today is seen and used as an enabling tool... (like screwdrivers for a machine) for India to make a mark on the world map... we better start making things (machines) using these tools... imagine this way... a screw driver/hammer costs 50-100... while machine where you operate this costs... in thousands... try to fit this analogy onto the IT industry...

  3. too much MBA!*and ambles away disappointed*

  4. @lord...
    thats what u get from an MBA i guess.. "all fart no gyan" :)

  5. @nikhil..
    Hmmm... Moi better not comment... I really dont have a proper grasp of this thing yet..


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