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Views on the Indian tech industry:

 
Ranch Hand
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I got this mail from one of my friend. What are u r views Ranchers.


It's a topic that has been oft debated - that India's tech industry is a lot like the Chinese manufacturing phenomenon - Low cost, reasonable quality, minimal innovation. I was an employee of a huge IT company in India (what the heck, it was TCS) and have, in the two years in their employ, developed certain opinions and concerns about the direction of India's IT revolution.

Here's how Indian IT companies operate (Infy, TCS, wipro and the second string such as mastek, satyam, patni etc). Hire engineers in bulk, never mind that they are not computer scientists or electrical engineers - if they can write a few lines of code in C/C++ and are academically decent, they're hired . After all, they dont need brilliant engineers - just people who will do as they are told and reasonably intelligent enough to get the client's work done, and bullshit their way out of it if they don't. They'll rarely make CAD software for Electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. Instead they will develop "end to end solutions" for banking, finance, inventory management, website development, etc. By develop I mean code, not design - there is a huge difference between the two, something which I will touch upon shortly. One important thing to note is that the HR in most IT companies dont give a damn about individual interests. They will put you wherever they need someone to slog for them. I've had one HR person tell me that they will put me in a project where they get maximum money, regardless if I am interested or not. And they wonder why so many people leave!!!

What is the nature of the work? At least 70% of the international projects in most indian IT companies is maintenence - i.e someone else has already developed an application. All you need to do is add more features/change behaviour as per client's request . Then there's production support, which is worse. It is almost call-center work - ensure that the application runs normally and if it fails, get it up and running ASAP. Take calls from the client, update on the status. In a sense, like a car mechanic - I didnt get an engineering degree to be a car mechanic - I got it to design the car! Finally, if you are lucky you get development - write code. But then, writing code is easy - it is like manufacturing a car. What is not, is designing a system that works efficiently. Typically, foreign clients get the design done by the likes of Accenture, IBM, etc. The designs are then sent to desi companies, who actually do the coding at a cost much cheaper than IBM or accenture. Thus, all we do is donkey work. It is not technology - it is programming. Technology is a new idea, paradigm or design - programming is implementing that design. Thus, most of the people in IT waste their engineering degrees, doing mundane programming, until they are made project managers - after which they spend their lives approving timesheets, conducting appraisals and sucking up to the client . Wait a second - shouldnt an experienced IT professional be doing advanced stuff and leave the bullshitting to MBAs?

Why is it so hard for desi companies to do design? The've not tried hard enough (yet) to get into this space. They just dont have the competence to get the job done. Desi companies are amazing at procedure oriented projects - if there is a procedure in place telling us what to do, we can do it. They dont have the experience (and therefore the brand equity) to attract IT consulting projects. Consulting is largely a reputation driven business. In order to build such a reputation, desi companies need to hire high-flying consulants - they dont come cheap. Even after all this, there is no guarantee of results! (Lately, Infy is trying to get into this space, I'm told, so good luck to them. I dont think TCS is though :-)) How many software products come out of Indian cos? IFlex is the only company to have a product successful worldwide. Making products is expensive and again, there is no guarantee of success - why risk it when services give me an assured income?

Why do we need to get into high end IT - consulting and products? Simply because the algorithm of low cost, low margin services will run it's course in the future. As payscales rise in india and the rupee appreciating wrt the dollar, margins become more and more slim. In time, India may not be as competitive as say Brasil or Russia - the American cos will take their projects out there! U can see trends in the manufacturing sector - earlier Taiwan was the manufacturing base for American cos, then SouthKorea and then these days, China For too long have we been stuck in the procedure oriented IT services. It is time to invest in consulting and products, and take Indian IT to the next level, or else I fear we will remain stuck in this low end nonsense.
. Indian companies thus have 2 choices - identify and set shop in countries where the low cost, low margin algorithm can be applied (TCS seems to be taking this route) or enter into high end IT, which is independent of geography (Which Infy is trying). I believe the latter is the better route - it is a high margin business and reasonably high tech. What is even better, is coming up with technology - like Java, efficient databases, advanced operating systems (Like Sun, Oracle or Microsoft). That is real tech. It's not that we can't do it. It's just that we dont want to risk it. But, nothing venture, nothing have! Desi companies� dont even do proper R&D!


Finally, a true story. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC) was huge in the chip manufacturing industry, making almost 60% profit. They could have got into chip design, and potentially, designed low cost chips. However, design is a risky business - what if the chip bombs? TSMC chose to stick to it's core competence - fabrication. In time, TSMC's profits have declined to 20% or so... they're still number one, but don�t make as much money as they used to... Are we learning yet?
PS: Work at TCS drove me so crazy; I quit to do a PhD :-)

Ritu Sharma
Research Assistant
Department Of Applied Economics & Statistics
Room 229, Barre Hall
Clemson University
 
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This would work much better in the Job Discussion forum.

Dave
 
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Agreed. But just painting a larger picture.

I think we need to be brand concious. By brand I dont mean that its just a name and feel good about owning one. Just like software quality attributes, brands also need to be scalable, reliable, secure, user-friendly. Thats how they become brand. Ofcourse a good brand become automatically easy to sell and market.

This 'brand conciousness' has to come in our day to day dealings. We should not settle for less. Unfortunately that attitude we Indians these days show only when negotiating the salary. It is not showing in our day to day work.

When you work ... work like...as though this deliverable matters to your heart and soul. Put your passion behind it. See the big picture always. An organization comprises of its individuals, their common goals and how they are runnign to achieve it.

Our sasta and 'tickau' attitude is not getting us out of the mess. We are not able to move up the value chain. Having said that we always need to create room for the bread and butter stuff. But keep upgrading yourself as an individual.

I quote Mr. Narayanmurthy : "Intellectual Captial Matters !!"

Look at the Americans. The Americans have innovation in their blood ! They will not settle for anything less. They spend like crazy. But at the same time, they want the best.

The nation is able to come of the worst 'everytime', depression, war ..what not. They are focussed. They created brands and they sell it to the world

Lets think for a moment, is it possible to compete these companies :

To name a few Nike, levis, Exonmobile, Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, Coke, Pepsi,GM,Ford,CNN,fox, CBS, Citigroup,Intel, Google, Yahoo, IBM, Microsoft

The important thing about these companies is:

-They have penetrated every country, individual, business in the world. Today you go out to eat,work,play whatever, I wont be surprised that you wont interact with these brands in some way or the other.
- Mere cost advantage will never take you ahead. Its innovation. Only the Japanese and to a certain extent the Koreans have come near to the americans.


Another important thing is media propoganda which is PRO-US (except for BBC :-) ) that really helps them.
All the biggest TV channels are owned by the Americans ! Our news channels, need to focus on +ve news and show the real spirit of journalism which is truth and non-ignorance.

Our babu culture will not take us anywhere. India is creative but severly lacks Innovation!. We lack the initiative to get going, we like to sit on things as long as we are not 'directly' affected.

This country runs by the grace of God and some exceptional talented folks (from those premium institutes like IITs and IIMs) But we should not forget, We are a developing country & sometimes we dont have a choice, but to take up the bread and butter stuff to grow.

The MNCs have always followed where they can make profits, thats the nature of globalization.

For us in India, innovation matters. According to me right now the IT Industry in india is still going towards cosolidation. Business want to get rid of the non-core activities so they can focus on making better profits and diffreciate themselves.

I believe as time goes by more indian companies will buy stakes into foreign technology companies. I quote from an interesting speech by the CEO of Mind Tree consulting b'lore.... "We have been a nation that supplied to the world raw materials, rather than finished products -- granite, rather than the monument's design. For decades, most Indian companies have focused on supplying grey matter that is equivalent to quarried granite and raw silk. This behavior is driven by a desire to live off the land, to do what has the least risk and low value-add. As a nation, we need to break that mould."

We need to innovate and become demanding customers. Guys please dont settle for less in your life.
 
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This country runs by the grace of God and some exceptional talented folks (from those premium institutes like IITs and IIMs)


. A standard TOI(Times of India) stuff. I can see many IITian's working in Indian IT companies, thereby wasting their quality education.
 
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This article has been discussed here earlier, and as ramesh rightly points out, this is standard TOI nonsense!

Let me see if I can add the discussion link here....

- Manish
 
suekar meredilko
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agreed. this is non-sense
 
Vikram Kohli
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Ok , let us take in other way what type of work are you doing this days.
 
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Originally posted by Vikram Kohli:
Ok , let us take in other way what type of work are you doing this days.



Same as what you metioned before
 
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Its only Dollor /Rupee rate that is running market ,Indian companies mostly run by Businessman who wants to earn money ,more over their is no such local market ,or IT usage with money that encourages R and D and innovative efforts .Desi company primarily involved in Body shopping ,maintenance work and most of them have no respect of degrees they take Engineers so it is easy to apply for VISA or handlful of graduates from IIT/IIMs so they can market them selves .
They are earning really on *S* ..who can do their maintenance work with some training ...thats all about this industry .
All US corporates are in India primarily becuase of Dollor value and cheap Englist speaking hands ,that really costly in US . Not for brains .Brains they can hire in US or get to US from Any where .
 
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Originally posted by NJ Joshi:
Indian companies mostly run by Businessman who wants to earn money



The same is true everywhere. All businesses are run by businessmen who want to earn more and more money. There is nothing wrong with it. The Indian IT companies are just catering to the demand, that's it. As long as they know there is going to be a demand, they are not likely to change their business models much. Starting products development requires lot of creativity, understanding of the market, patience and most importantly investment. Considering all this, I don't think they will just start concentrating on products business as long as their current services business continues making money.

Many successful products companies today were started by individuals (or group of) who were not born rich but knew the technology and had the vision to spot the opportunities. I think more and more bright and creative minds should start taking some risk and try becoming entrepreneurs. As long as most people are just happy with their paychecks the situation is not going to change much.
 
NJ Joshi
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Hope U know difference between run by "Professionals" and run by "BusinessMan" ...then u can understand my posting .
 
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I am agree all the companies run by Businessman including IBM, Microsoft and Google.

Do you think Naryan Murthi was not a professional but above that he was a businessman.

Don't you think Tatas have done a lot more for India even they earned lot more by doing it.
 
Jignesh Patel
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Don't you think Wipro machines are not as good as Dell Machines?
 
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