Nasscom summit | Crisis as an opportunity

The Satyam fraud, the slowdown in the IT sector and the general feeling of gloom in both the domestic and international markets has meant that the 17th edition of industry lobby group Nasscom’s India Leadership Forum taking place at Mumbai has had to address these issues, willy-nilly. Nasscom which itself is in its 20th year has emerged as a astute industry lobbyist which projects and protects the interests of the Indian IT industry.
So inspite of the gloomy sounding topics, Nasscom and the speakers are trying their best to give a positive spin to the entire scenario. Som Mittal, president of Nasscom, Ganesh Natrajan, chairman of Nasscom and other speakers have been emphasising how this current crisis could be used to do some necessary housekeeping. With double digit-- growth and salary increases -- for the last 8 years, the Indian IT industry had felt very little need to address and confront some of these challenges leading them to become a little bit soft and complacent. Indian IT will now have to use this crisis to evolve to the next level.
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Will Indian companies take a PaaS on SaaS or ?
About a decade back one of the hot IT buzz words was SaaS (Software as a Service) just like virtualisation, Green IT or cloud computing is today. But while the promise held out by the SaaS model was vast (like little upfront investment required, not having to upgrade software continously, not having to employ an army of IT people and basically go by a pay per use model) it never actually took off for a variety of reasons including security related ones. But finally as bandwidth becomes cheaper, companies try to rationalise IT cost and cloud computing becomes a reality, SaaS might just get another chance.
In the Indian context with reliable bandwidth, even power, being a major issue and customers’ experience in the past with vendors none too happy, one would assume that they would be shy of having a go at SaaS model again. Not so, says Peter Coffee, director of platform research for salesforce.com (a company which incidentally never wavered on its model in the whole 10 years of its existence and this even before cloud became the ’in’ thing) says emerging markets like India in fact have been more receptive. This he says is across segments like Banking, Pharma and Auto. Even Microsoft has been moving its Windows offerings on the cloud throuh Azure
Even Indian IT companies looking to control costs might more aggressively adopt the PaaS model. On your next netbook or any IT device you need not pay to preload software but you may get to pay on a use basis.
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Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Jaipur as new IT destinations ?
For long Indian IT has meant the southern cities plus NCR and Mumbai-Pune belt. But increasingly as these cities face challenges (different ones in each case but a common thread being creaking infra and quality of life issues), other Indian cities have emerged as the new hotspots for growth.
KPMG in a report released on Wednesday said Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Nagpur would emerge as new growth locations for shared services and outsourcing. For long cities like Bangalore and Chennai had the advantage of the network effect where a positive cycle of growth was reinforced by the existing ecosystem of people, capital and expertise.
But the current environment where companies are looking for cost advantages might just provide the impetus for them to get into newer geographical locations if the state governments provide the right incentives. While ’emerging’ Tier II locations have been discussed several times in the past, given the current triggers, this time around it might actually turn out to be true. What do you think ? Does Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Jaipur has what it takes ?
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IT’s India Leadership Forum: Updates from Mumbai
The annual Indian IT industry’s ‘India Leadership Forum’ conclave which the lobby group Nasscom puts together around this time of the year is sombre this time in keeping with the prevailing mood as it taking place in the background of an economic slowdown. One of the significant changes which one wtinesses is the amount of security mounted at a star hotel where it is being held in Mumbai. Nobody wants to take any chances specially after 26/11.
While all the blue/grey/black suits and the industry’s heavy hitters descended on the city and were schoomzing and networking as usual, the industry’s woes seems to have left a mark even on things like the sponsors for the event. Last year for instance there were 7 platinum sponsors and this year just 4, similarly as against 14 gold sponsors this year’s number seems to have come down to 11. (Depending on what they pony up, sponsors are tagged in various categories).
Some understandable drop outs from last year’s sponsors list have been Satyam and DLF (given the woes in the realty sector). However some like Big Blue, IBM surprisingly have been tight with their purse strings.
The turnout of number of delegates seemed to be fairly good the topics for discussion include things like ”Market Spiral : Bottoming Out ?”, ”Future of BPO : Bubble or Boom”, ”On C Level : Making the most of a crisis” probably reflecting what the industry is thinking of.
With Indian IT industry’s growth rate now being projected at 16% instead of the 24% which Nasscom said would happen at the beginning of the fiscal, the cautious mood is understandable. But compared to several other sectors like realty or auto the industry should take heart from the fact that it is still growing at this clip.

Source: livemint