Golden Oldies

The readership on my blog has recently increased. By that I mean in last 7-8 months, I have had many repeat visitors and the number goes every day. Selfishly assuming that I have been writing good articles from the day 1   🙂   I’m adding few of the old entries that the recent readers might have missed. Enjoy them and sorry for the selfish marketing  🙂

Ohh! Bah! Meh!

Yes the post refers to the newly crowned American President, Barrack Obama. (The results were just out. Check Here) People are already gunning to be a part of the glory of the new king of the most powerful (?) economy of the world. Some one is composing music albums in Mexico and are dedicating it to him, some body has painted his portrait in Madrid, Spain. In fact a handful of Indian techies donated a share of their wallet in the difficult time and contributed about $4100 to his election fund. I wonder what could be the usefulness of that amount.

Anyway, what worries me is a quote from the new President. “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody” Whoa! Excuse me Mr. President, you are going to lead the largest capital economy of the world. Can we infer you have sounded a warning bell against capitalism?

barack_obamaA lot has been said against Obama’s possible socialistic approach. He had already cleared his anti-outsourcing stance stating the American corporations have a social and corporate responsibilities towards the people of the states. Looking at the already volatile market, companies, mainly the financial firms, have lost humongous sum of money. The best strategy that comes to my little brain is to save costs and look for alternate markets with small but immediate short term gains and large long term profitability. But the democrats (even Bill Clinton) feel the other way. They are striving hard to protect the rights of American citizens and have given assurances to most for a better social security and jobs. Yet with the complete no-no agenda on moving jobs out of USA (socialist stance that Obama is portraying) the future, at least the near one looks bleak. Many of the Indian corporations, especially in IT have kept their fingers crossed on the legislative changes, if any that Obama will bring upon. Obama voted against shipping jobs outside of US. He instead argued that America will give tax breaks to the corporations that are willing to invest in USA thereby creating jobs. {In the current scenario All US corporations are required to pay a 35% tax on income, but US companies are allowed to defer paying taxes on income earned abroad as long as that money is being used by the company overseas and remains “unrepatriated income.” That can amount to an indefinite deferral, and does offer an incentive for US companies to do business abroad. for reference click here.}

Hmmm… so the question mark for the honest startup entrepreneurs with middling credentials wanting to take advantage of the famous-American-free-trade-policy is here to stay. Guessing the way Obama is going to function, I think these are going to be the reactions of most Asians… “Ohh!… Bah!… Meh!”

Am I a small fish in the big murky pond?

My thoughts regarding the outsourcing industry have created lot of furore wherever I discussed. While there are many who believe India can be a super power, they have no idea how. Then there are some, like my friend Big K who think we are donkeys. But some believe that the donkey can become a horse. As he says, it will need a change of attitude. Well, both are right. But both views don’t necessarily tell us how are we going to climb up the ladder. I at least suggested a way. Right or wrong is now all of us to decide.

In last many months, I have spoken to number of organizations, small or big and urged them to use our strength and cost effectiveness for getting things done. As a sales guy, I have pitched many a times why are we so good at support, bug fixing or simply supplying manpower (what my friends call donkey work). Never did I think if I’m losing any self respect as an Indian in doing so. In the recent past, I have consulted some companies and helped one or two of them to establish a team to outsource their sales process to India. So in an extremist view I have made my brothers and sisters work on some thing the whites look down upon. In optimistic view, I have earned money for myself and my country men. I have established a practice and a dependency of the west on the east. Have I done anything different? Or probably I’m one of the small fishes in the murky pond of international business. I know no one will be convinced by my answer. I have just one question…

“How do you classify work as worth doing or not worth my penny?

No work is better or worse. Even a donkey adds value to a work. If there were no donkeys, you and me would have been the ones doing that on behalf of them. Its not like that because the roles are defined. An architect designs a house, the builder builds it. But it is the worker who lays the foundation. Without them, there would be no houses. We dont value them because we are attracted to more fancy jobs than being a worker. Bill Gates built Microsoft because he had an idea, a dream and a courage to follow it. He got support from all around, an obvious advantage of being in US. There are many Bill Gates in India too. They need support, words of encouragement and opportunities to prove their potential. I’m only urging the big guys to look at them. We are right now, all but a subsided part of the global value chain. We need to stand up and get noticed.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Go and grab the opportunity. If you don’t see it, ask for it.

Mind you all, I might look like a small fish in the pond, I’m not going to be here for too long.

Should companies outsource their core work?

I work as a Presales Manager in a company called focusing of Publishing, broadcast and media industry. Since they provide technology, interactive content and animation services, understandably their existing and target customers are those from US and Europe. Meaning they are on a job to convince their prospective customers to outsource their work to an off shore location in India. Since I also undertake consulting assignments as a free lancer for helping companies get their sales process right and for companies to kick off their outsourcing practice, they hired me to conceive and promote their service offerings to the US and Europe.

Like many other companies in India, they too believe that because we provide our international customers a cost advantage, we are actually adding a great value to their business model. Well of course, I agree that they say this is not the only value addition, but one of them. It reminds me of the “Nirma Super” advertisement (Wahi quality, wahi safedi, wahi jhag kam damo mein mile to koi ye kyun le… wo na le) Lol, well what are we trying to tell the Americans and Europeans? Had you outsourced the development of ‘a windows’ or a ‘Firefox’ in India, you could have saved humongous sums of money? May be…

Maye be… is the best word when we have to escape an argument. If we were good enough to develop a Firefox, by now we would have done that. I’m not saying we can not. We can, after all aren’t we promoting the above Nirma Super ad? We have matching (well almost) infrastructure, excellent work conditions, advantage of time difference, huge pool of talented engineers and technicians- young and old, and most of all the ideas to make it big in the world. But what are Indian companies doing with it? Deploying most of them on technical support? or software testing? Well… things need to be set right. I know it is not easy to build a Microsoft Corporation or Mozilla overnight. But in this post, I’m going to urge companies of the likes of SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and others to make better use of Indian talent by outsourcing their core work to us. Let the world know that we can build Windows too.

Let us take an example. If you deploy a technical Architect (any domain) in US (Silicon Valley), You might probably end up paying in excess of $600 per day on him/her including overheads. However, if you hire a technical architect here in India for the same work, you will be charged maximum of $220 per day, a straight saving of $380 per day. Moreover there are other savings on maintenance of lesser infrastructure. Like all others, you can easily set up a VPN connectivity so that there is a seamless information flow. Moreover you have the option of using free telephony from Skype or others to save on your telephone bills… some more savings. Even if you add the cost of setting up of network infrastructure, you still manage to save enough. Although I agree that outsourcing a single person’s work will not be as beneficial as outsourcing the entire work. So when you get a team to develop an IE 9, why don’t you consider giving it to a team here in India? Worried about the deliverables?

There have also been enough questions raised on the quality of people here in India. I would like to highlight the fact that we have 6 Indian Institute of Technologies and 25 National Institute of Technologies which provide world class engineering education to thousands of engineers across India and also to some of the foreign students. Besides we have more than 1000 other university managed or affiliated colleges that churn out millions of engineers every year. Do you still feel we have a dearth of talent? Then what about umpteen Indians working at global corporations? And those who led multi billion organizations? What about Arun Sarin? What about Laxmi Mittal? What about Indra Nooyi?

Hello global corporations. Indians have arrived on the global scene. We are no longer the ‘some IT geek sitting in Bangalore or Pune’ fixing up your bugs. I urge the Oracle’s, SAP’s, Microsoft’s, Mozilla’s of the world to treat us with respect. We can also what you do sitting in Redwood or Seattle. May be the next Outlook is called In(dia)-Outlook and surely we will do much better.

All you Indian guys reading my blog, please start treating yourself with respect. You are no longer a bug fixer. I urge you to spread this word regarding India as a great Development and Innovation hub rather than outsourcing hub.

Happy reading! Cheers!