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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    The party is over. India’s tech firms must re-invent or perish

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    You can see it in their faces, hear it in their voices. The Japanese and Koreans – on top of the world in the 1980s and 1990s – want the good old days back. When I meet Japanese and Korean companies these days I find their executives among the most attentive and determined of any in the world. Years of economic stagnation does that to you. Who doesn’t want to escape from a malaise? Willing alone won’t bring back the boom times – and I’m not yet ready to forecast a Northeast Asian renaissance. What I am ready to do is predict South Asian retrogression.

    The complacency that caused Japan and South Korea to lose their edge at the end of the last millennium is about to afflict India. This is not to denigrate the talent base in the Subcontinent – Indian digital expertise remains world-class. It is a question of attitude , an unwillingness to face the reality of the industrial shift that is coming.

    Much of India’s IT wealth comes from western outsourcing of IT services – managing new and old world corporate IT systems and mainframes upon which they run. Yet about a decade ago, the balance of computing power started to change to favour individual users.

    With the advent of tablets, apps and cloud computing, users have direct access to better technology than their IT departments can provide them. They can download cheap, elegant, and powerful apps on their smartphones that make their corporate systems look primitive. These modern-day apps do not require internal teams of people doing software development and maintenance—they are user-customisable and can be built by anyone with basic programming skills. And with secure cloud computing, companies are doing away with servers, so corporate data centres are shrinking while Amazon, Google, and Microsoft’s data centers expand.

    Gone are the multi-billion dollar outsourcing deals that the Indian outsourcers celebrated every month.

    There are literally $100bn opportunities elsewhere in the digital space that India has the expertise and capacity to exploit , yet it shows no evidence that it is likely to take them. Instead, many Indian executives seem happy to plough on with more of the same, listening to the warnings without changing course. They claim to be using artificial intelligence tools and entering new markets—but these are just press releases, for marketing purposes.

    There is a fundamental lack of understanding of the new technologies and appreciation of the emerging market opportunities.
    When I talk to Indian CEOs, they acknowledge the threats of digital transformation, and can see the opportunities for diversification. Yet they turn away from our conversations to focus on closing another legacy outsourcing deal – fiddling while Bangalore burns.

    Last edited by prasad1; 09-02-2018 at 04:46 PM.
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