11 September 2007

Welcome to the Flat World

yeah..yeah...world is flattening. I don't know if the three-time Pulitzer winner, Thomas L. Friedman, mentioned or even thought about the new scenario explained later in this post. I haven't finished it yet. After reading few pages and so many discussions with few intellectual friends, I'm sure the book is full of beautiful pictures and statistics, completely avoiding reality , culture and ignoring key aspects. I'll let San Jose University professor dissect this argument for me.

Review by Roberto J. Gonzalez, professor of anthropology at San Jose State University

But that's not the point of this post. It is about how the Indian Outsourcing companies embraced this whole flat idea (Infosys even has a logo of "Win in the Flat World" on its website) and how it is playing in the home turf.

DataQuest Top 20 Employers 2007

Every year, DataQuest India, a well-read publication, lists the top employers in Indian IT industry. For many years, Infosys, Wipro, Satyam, iFlex, Tata Consultancy and others topped this list - only to be challenged by the flattening world.

When Indians started to pitch for American IT contracts, they were the challengers; the American firms were the incumbents. In the Indian talent market, the same phenomenon is repeating itself, with the order having been reversed. It is the Infosys and Wipros who are the incumbents; it is the IBMs and Capgeminis that are the challengers.

The survey results show that the world is indeed flat - equally flat for all. Or, as they often say, globalization is a two way street. We have come a full circle.

With Tata Consultancy still leading the pack, companies like IBM, Capgemini, Cognizant, CSC, and Ness Tech have either made a debut or have moved up in the ranking, while the Indian giants, but for TCS, have tumbled.

I strongly recommend my loyal readers (?!) to read the DataQuest report

Top 20 Employers 2007

Thanks to the constantly appreciating money and 11% increase (in 2007) in average salary, Indian IT companies have to really play hard to keep their profit margins. Surprisingly, it seems there is no relationship between salary levels and satisfaction with salary. Infosys is ranked at No. 12 in terms of salary but No. 28 in terms of 'satisfaction with salary'.

There might be a little difference in the salary + perks category between MNCs and Indian IT giants. MNCs don't pay in millions and Infy, TCS, Wipro doesn't pay cheap. They pay well above the industry average. According to the report, the top reasons Indian IT professionals switch jobs are:
  1. Salary + perks
  2. Overseas opportunity
  3. Career Development
  4. Location
  5. Technology
  6. Job Content
These reasons have remained almost the same over the last few years.

It is interesting to look at the factors most employees are satisfied about. They are ranked as:
  1. Career development
  2. Work/Life Balance
  3. Work culture
  4. Job security
  5. Technology
  6. Company image
  7. Salary
Now, anyone who has worked in an Indian IT company, would easily realize how these are addressed by the management. They just suck! To be fair, departments or projects within each company, can be run in different styles. I have personally come across very good managers and professionals. When considered as a whole company, they don't score high.

Non-Indian companies have woken up to this unique characteristic of Indian employees and are changing themselves with a gusto. Take the case of Capgemini, its India center is not a clone of the HQ, but follows distinctive HR policies that are aimed at the Indian audience. IBM is trying to be more personal, with Sam Palmisano making frequent trips to India and displaying his love through huge get-togethers that seem like a typical Indian wedding. On the other hand, Intel, has taken a leaf out of the Tatas and is increasingly talking about its CSR activities. It would seem that these non-Indian services are adapting to the Indian work culture and beating the big Indian players in their own game.

10 September 2007

Third World - Where is it today?

The term "third world" was coined in 1952 according to Wikipedia.

Like the third estate, wrote Sauvy, the Third World has nothing, and it "wants to be something." The term therefore implies that the Third World is exploited, much as the third estate French commoners were exploited, and that, like the third estate its destiny is a revolutionary one. It conveyed as well a second idea, that of non-alignment, for the Third World belongs neither to the industrialised capitalist world nor to the industrialised communist bloc.

The economically underdeveloped countries of Africa, Oceania, Asia, and Latin America, considered as an entity with common characteristics, such as poverty, high birthrates, and economic dependence on the advanced countries were often nations that were colonised by a European nation historically.

According to political theorist Hannah Arendt , "The Third World is not a reality but an ideology."

Is there still a "third world"? Things can't be the same after 50 years! I'm no Harvard or even wannabe economist to demystify bulky topics such as world order. Hans Rosling's TED presentation about the myths of "third world" is definitely one of the best educational videos I have ever seen. Read his full bio. If you want to see in full screen, Have a look. Download the presentation, if you like it.