Friday, March 28, 2008

Arbitrage is passe, time for Indian IT to innovate.

Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra, who described himself as a representative of "smoke stack economy" said it is time the Indian IT business starts looking at itself from a different perspective. At NASSCOMS's Annual February jamboree held at Mumbai this year, a delegate from a global technology company pointed out, "it almost seems like the Indian IT business is on the back foot. I've never heard the Indian representation sound so circumspect in all my years here". The reasons though aren't too difficult to get a handle on. Over the last couple of years, fears has been mounting around an impending recession in the American Economy. One of the fallouts of that fear has been a weak dollar. In turn, it has impacted on the rupee revenues of Indian IT companies with a significant presence in US. Into this, add the shortage of trained manpower in the country; and skyrocketing salaries that have eroded the labor arbitrage advantage that Indian companies have had and the industry cu of woes seems full.An ominous sounding Lakshmi Narayan, Nasscom chairman and vice chairman at Cognizent Technologies said, "The current situation is not temporary. It is the new baseline. The industry will have to learn to operate under new parameters."Anand Mahindra said that Indian IT Industry needs to send out a signal to the world that it is capable of something spectacular- akin to the TATAs' achievement of building Nano- the cheapest car in the world. More optimistic tones were were stuck by representatives of multinational tech companies like IBM ans Accenture.If consensus is anything to go by, clearly tough times lie ahead.

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