Saturday, May 19, 2012

Retrospecting India's IT High Rise

Book Review: Non-fiction/The Coalition of Competitors by Kiran Karnik, Collins Business, 187 pp; Rs399 (Hardback)
Nasscom has over the years played crucial parts as a leading industry body for IT sector in India. Twenty-five years back in Delhi, a meeting attended by spirited young entrepreneurs like, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, Kiran Karnik and others resulted in the creation of this specialised industry body. Further that went on to change the face of India’s software industry. The growing existence of Nasscom sharply got stronger with the India’s economic reforms in 1991, and that immensely helped in unified representation of software industry’s business interest and its taking-off. The story behind the making of India’s software business from $400million in1991to over $60billion presently is well covered in this book.

For chronicalising India’s software business, Kiran Karnik is the most suitable thinker and practitioner with a tremendous track record of shaping a nascent Nasscom to the level of cresting high and also in successfully helping out the mastermindedly scam hit Satyam Computers in its painful transition. India’s IT high rise has indeed given its business a much needed “global synergy “with new bold impression in the broader world, which hitherto was a dream only. From a humble beginning of India’s computing, to the consistent endeavours in the resource scarce private sectors to the high rise have all covered lucidly inside the book.

In the 1980’s, GE group’s Jack Welch’s unusual interaction with Sam Pitroda (As Rajiv Gandhi’s special envoy) had change the course of action forever. A CEO of global stature suddenly became eager to outsource his company’s captive operational works to young entrepreneurs by simply relying on ideas. Interesting to know, those days Indian software companies were severely lacking with the required industrial skills and resources to execute global services orders, but then passion triumphed the adversities. This book beautifully clears that leadership has played pivotal role in the phenomenon rise of India’s software industry.

N.R. Narayana Murthi’s thanks giving to the governments since 1991 strengthens the notion that policies have also positively impacted the IT business. The multiplier effects of IT business have touched the lives in India, with direct or indirect two million jobs at different levels. But it’s also true that in the future, India’s stake in the cheap skilled labour would not remain unchallenged. So, Indian IT companies need a fresh strategy to cope with seamless challenges from the other emerging economies, trying hard to flourish in this domain at global level. The present regulatory lexes are the downside that is haunting the usual growth impetus of Indian industries; software sector is also not proof from such odds.

Unlike the other industries, IT sector can’t even think to survive on domestic demands-global integration is its first fundamental and overlooking it may dampen the spirits and edge that Indian companies have made through the last decades. As this book has more focus on the rising side of IT business, so it fails to see big challenges confronting under the guise of “west’s neo-protectionist drive” that may badly compress the long term prospects of global outsourcing business. Though at some points, Kiran Karnik seems trying to locate few challenges and their potential cure from the industry’s side-in retrospection, this book is worth of reading by those who have enthusiasm for policy issues but for knowing current holistic state of affairs in the IT business, this work may fall short!
Atul Kumar Thakur
May 19th, 2012, Saturday, 2012, New Delhi

1 comment:

  1. Not the kind of thing I would read, so this is a pretty concise summation of what I probably ought to know!