Sunday, March 29, 2009
I read a very interesting article last week in the Financial Times regarding India's struggling outsourcing business. At least that was the tenor of the article, but I am not so sure that it is struggling quite to the degree that the FT claims.
It was apparent a few years back when I worked for Wipro that things would mature and change, recession or no. And natural change is occurring there, albeit at an accelerated rate now.
For where India has been smart, is in spreading its bets - in the last few years more an more work has been coming in from Japan (for example) and the smart executives recognized long ago that the US and Europe were already reaching a point where growth could not continue at the same unrelenting pace. What India has, is a huge amount of highly educated technical folk - and India has continued to invest heavily in education whilst the West has not.
You can't take this huge educational advantage away from India quickly, and insourcing work once it has been outsourced a few years is not a lightweight task. I believe that just like China, India will survive and do well.
Where India may be hit I think is in the call center area - many firms are slowly and at times reluctantly coming to the conclusion in the US and Europe that local support just can't be beaten - and probably never can be. IMHO a lot of outsourced call center work was done simply to cut costs - often to meet a quarterly reporting demand. But it was done at the expense of quality and the value of a local touch. There is a good reason to move call centers back to the right time zone.
And in the US it is pretty likely that the new administration will impose even tougher H1B restrictions, but the outcome of that will be more outsourcing not less - as near-sourcing becomes increasingly difficult to enable and support (see comment on lack of skills above).
So though call centers might be hit, IT outsourcing in general will do ok, its too late now to turn back - and too many things still remain favourable for India. The access to a highly educated technical (and growing) skills base, the cost of change - and the short termism of most Western organizations.
The only thing that could really hurt India, is India itself (witness the horrific events at the Taj in Mumbai, and the implications around the IPL moving to South Africa) - sadly self destruction remains a possibility.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
This week I deleted my Facebook account, and so far have suffered no withdrawal symptoms if anything I am annoyed that I did not do it earlier. I left because:
- I felt it was invasive - I was finding out too much about other people, and visa versa.
- The attempt to change the contract with Facebook users and gain ownership of data a while back was a trigger.
And frankly it seems time to move on from such things - and gain some control back over privacy and private data. We are moving very quickly into an Orwellian world, the UK is already way ahead of us in the States, with CCTV's on every street, face and license plate recognition software everywhere. It has happened so remarkably quickly, and probably as a result of the speed of change we behave as if we have no say in the matter. We do have a say, and currently we do still have some controls and safeguards. We do still live in something similar to a democracy, with legal safeguards and a press that still (though only just) represents a balance of sorts..
I am not against electronic information - heavens that is how I earn my living! But...there are huge implications when it comes to the misuse of data, and the lines between valid, less valid and downright invalid uses is being blurred by the day. And that is not something I am personally comfortable with. For me its way too late, everything from my Marital status to my DNA is held online, but its not too late for most, and its certainly not too late to make a stand and say enough is enough..
I can't believe its been over a year since my last post......
Anyway I am getting fed up with the doom and gloom regarding the 'recession' as I think as some commentators suggest "this is different to past recessions". It is, and without a doubt many people are being hurt by it and much fall out is yet to come. But its starting to feel like people understand now that there will be no quick fix, and its time to get on with life.
In my industry (ECM) there are more than a few shoots of optimism out there. Job postings are still strong, many vendors are telling me that the market remains not only steady, but in many instances growing.
On a side note, the ECM Maturity model that we (CMS Watch) along with Apoorv at Wipro, Erik Hartman and Dave Smigiel jointly developed was released into open commons a month ago. To my (if not our) amazement it really seems to have taken off with a lot of downloads, and so far some very complimentary feedback. Check it out here: http://ecm3.org/