Indian outsourcing specialists must reboot their strategies

21. January 2017

Date: 19-01-2017
Source: The Economist

IT firms need an upgrade in the face of technological and political shifts

COMPUTERS slow as they age, and before long must be replaced by newer models. Something similar is true of the business models of Indian IT firms. Specialised in running global companies’ outsourced back-offices, the likes of Infosys, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) used to be national champions growing at double-digit rates. Their prospects have dimmed of late; an entire industry built on the back of globalisation is fretting about the incoming American president. But Donald Trump is merely the latest threat to their operating systems.

Over three decades, Indian IT has become a $140bn industry built on a simple proposition: rich-country companies could trim costs by getting tedious behind-the-scenes IT work done by cheap engineers in India. The Indian firms hoovered up bright graduates—the big three have over 700,000 employees in total—paying them starting salaries of $5,000 or so, a decent local wage. After gaining some experience, tens of thousands were dispatched to client sites in Europe or America, along with a few expensive local staff. The rest ensured their clients’ computer systems kept ticking over from cosy cubicles in Bangalore, Hyderabad and elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »

Replacing the board

15. August 2014

   Date: 15-08-2014
 Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

The case for outsourcing company boards

CORPORATE boards are among the most important institutions in capitalism. Their job is to police the relationship between shareholders who own companies and managers who run them. This means keeping an eye out for managerial incompetence and fraud. It also means standing back and offering strategic advice on hiring new managers or buying competitors.

Yet their record might politely be described as mixed. The first decade of the 21st century produced an embarrassment of dismal oversight, from the Enron and WorldCom scandals of 2001-02 to the financial crisis of 2007-08. “I actually don’t think risk management failed,” said Larry Fink, the boss of BlackRock, an investment firm. “I think corporate governance failed, because…the boards didn’t ask the right questions.”

Problems have been widespread and deep-rooted. Chief executives have packed boards with cronies: Michael Eisner’s board at Disney once included the former headmistress of his children’s school and the man who designed his house. They have sidelined critics: when a member of the Bank of America’s board criticised the CEO’s compensation in 2000 she was dropped. Read the rest of this entry »

Outsourcing Progress

29. October 2009

Date: 29-10-2009 Source: Businessworld

If you thought outsourcing would take a hit from the financial crisis, think again. While certain sectors have seen double digit declines, other end markets are growing. What the final tally for the year might be is unknown, but the results thus far are somewhat counter-intuitive. Outsourcing’s resilience in the face of such financial and political strain – lawmakers across the globe have often required firms to hire or source materials domestically – has implications for globalization. For one, it suggests that globalization as a trend remains in place despite fluctuations. Second, given that many firms plan to expand their outsourcing footprint, one would conclude that the trend should continue. Indeed, that many small and mid-sized companies seek sources of innovation offshore, suggests the trend has considerable strength. Read the rest of this entry »