Turning geography into history (Chapter 10 of “The long revolution”)

Finally, Chapter 10 “Turning geography into history” is the story of how every other industry is benefiting from off shoring services to India; the IT success story acted as a catalyst; Internet offered the wherewithal; the global mindset of average Indians today (thanks to demographic dividend) and the government policies fueled the growth. Once again the book traces the “long revolution”  – Swiss Air starting a joint-venture with TCS though Airline Financial Support Services (APS) in SEEPZ Bombay in 1992; British Airways followed suit in 1996 (later becoming World Network Services (WNS); financial services major American Express and GE followed. Local entrepreneur jumped in – Raman Roy with SpectraMind, K Ganesh with CustomerAsset, Jerry Rao with mPhasis; later they were acquired by Wipro, ICICI and EDS respectively. In the process, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry was born.


Interestingly R & D outsourcing, starting with Pharmaceuticals R & D led to a whole range of companies starting their R & D arms India – GM, DuPont, Unilever, Volvo, Philips, LG and so on. IBM, GE, and Cisco were particularly focusing on large investment in R & D in India.


Engineering Services was the next. Bechtel started modest operation in 1994 and the headcount has touched 600 by 2006. Indian companies Wipro and HCL Technologies cashed in this opportunity.


Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) started in a big way; EvalueServe is a classic example that focused on patent related services. Management Consulting Services (including McKinsey) followed. Financial Services (Goldman Sachs) information Services (Thomson) and Legal Process outsourcing (LPO) followed – spanning a wide range of services.


In “Conclusion” the author talks of the role of the government – ECIL/ ITI / Government computer centers contributing to early technical staff of Wipro, DCM; IITs, NCST providing manpower. The restrictive follows hampering growth initially and supporting policies enabling spectacular growth. The challenge for the Indian IT industry is to sustain the growth – enter into products and technology in a big way. With the global meltdown and Satyam scam, the challenges have only increased. One hopes that the Indian IT industry will come out of those dark clouds with a renewed vigor and energy.

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