Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why didn't any Indian IT company win the Idea deal? One could've thought that the Bharti deal was a one-off and Bharti was labouring under the false impression that Indian companies couldn't handle the breadth of what it required - Telecom consulting, IT infrastructure, Application Development and Maintenance, Telecom Technology-IT interfacing, BPO, Shared Services etc. Lets for arguments sake say that if some Indian company say Wipro which was supposedly a contender or HCl which has the breadth but not the depth had stretched themselves, they would've won Bharti.
But two successive major deals lost means the impression is not false and Indian IT companies are indeed short on competencies.
And whose fault is it. And what does it portend?
For one, MNC IT companies like IBM, HP, Accenture, EDS have quickly scaled up to the challenge of cost arbitration posed by the Indians. But the Indian companies have not built their depth or breadth in ADM, or consulting or Infrastructure management. Are they going to live off the little maintenance deals that the MNC majors throw at them? What happens when the majors figure that they don't want to give those around anymore? Once they have the infrastructure market cornered among them and away from Western minors which've been wiped out by lower costs from the Indians, the Majors are going to not only have the expertise and economies of scale to to ADMs cost effective, but also the hegemony to demand fatter margins off ADMs.

The Hindu article says India will maintain a lead on cost arbitrage for 20 more years. Even if that were true, the implicit thought that "India" refers to Infosys, TCS, Wipro, HCL will be replaced by names like IBM, Accenture, EDS, HP and Cap Gemini.

And this Business Today article says the Indians still stand a chance as the market wants to spread their risk with breaking up contracts and bigger chunks are being given o Indians. I say that the market is instead swinging the other way round. IT clients like consolidation nowadays. They don't want to maintain a hundred legacy systems and hundred times hundred interfaces. They don't want uncertainty in vendors. They want a reliable vendor who can perform the breadth of their IT needs and if the vendor is a globally acknowledged brand like CSC or IBM... that's just peachy.

First they didn't notice that India was not just the fastest in being a service provider but also one of the fastest growing in requiring services... Techies and consultants having cut their teeth in the tough Indian market would've been hardened veterans before stepping into the International space.

Second, ADM is a cash cow. And Cash Cows breed complacency.

Thirdly the Indians are usually happy with being told that they have the potential to be world winning. Potentially world winning is enough... it isn't really necessary to actually go do the wining... too much like real creativity needed. We're happy correcting bugs till we're fired and the coffee machine is taken away.

The Indians are still too concerned fighting among themselves for lower billing rates to notice that they're in very real danger of having being just a flash in the pan. They lived and fought gloriously and made the world sit up and notice but defeated they will be, if they continue to be so blase about their future. Oh they'll probably survive. They'll probably even grow bigger they become smaller but they'll survive but as sad remnants of the famous Indian IT Service majors that sent shivers down the collective spine of the MNC IT majors.

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