It frustrates me not when I see the poverty in our motherland. (Don’t get me wrong. It makes me sad, but does not frustrate me.) It does not frustrate me when I read about corruption in India. It does not frustrate me when we talk about illiteracy. It does not frustrate me when I read about bad politicians.
However it does frustrate me when time and again, I am reminded that we are being shortsighted. Indian cricket team is forever blamed for waiting to field till the ball comes to them. But Indian industry does not seem to be far different. And I am not talking about Indian mining industry, or Indian textile industry. I am talking about our dear software Industry.
Let me talk with example. I am recently using Webex, a web service that allows people to do online conferencing. It is an excellent service. I found it very effective. When I was at home in Mumbai, I was able to web conference and keep in touch with team in Texas.
Who is the single biggest beneficiary of such a tool? The companies that handle outsourced projects. Which is the industry that has maximum potential for outsourcing allover the world? Software industry. Which is the country which is today almost synonymous with outsourcing? India.
If I were a CEO of one of the big Indian software company, or an authority from Department of Information Technology Ministry, I would build consortium of big and medium size players and invest heavily in collaboration tools. I would invest heavily in stuff that makes online collaboration easier. Better yet, I would make this consortium buy Webex.com and make it freely available for Indian companies and their customers. Not only this would make outsourcing look more attractive, it would give Indian companies and edge in competition from other countries.
That’s what Microsoft, Sun Microsystems did when it came to fighting spammers. These two companies were head locked in the legal battle over several issues with stakes running in billions of dollars. Yet when it came to fighting against spammers, they joined hands and worked as a team.
I talked to Chevron India HR manager before some days. He oversaw the expansion of Chevron offices in India. One of his observations was that the rate of employee turnover in India is far higher. In one year 18% of his employees left and joined other corporations. 18% is a large number and puts significant stress on HR departments when it comes to recruiting, training and allocating resources. Most of it happens in lower rungs in management, when people are young, single or just married, more mobile. We live in a free country and we cannot tell anyone what to do. But again, this is something hurting bottomline of every company and they can come together and form a policy to discourage people from switching too often.
Before some day I was reading some article on web and it made a point that made me think a lot. Do you know what is the distinction India has when it comes to second world war? India is the only country that fought on both sides of second world war. Indian forces, under agreement made with Congress were in Allies camp. But Netaji Subhashchandra Bose and his army sided with Germans and Japanese folks. For how long we will fight against each other on petty issues and settle for peanuts when together we could have gone to moon and stars.