Thursday, July 15, 2010

When do we see a Blue Ocean in Indian IT services industry?

Its the end of first quarter in Indian financial year 2010-11. And the season of IT service companies announcing their quarterly performance results. And ofcourse, the associated market reactions.

We have also been seeing number of press conferences by CEOs of Indian IT service companies.

If you have been observing those press events of those CEOs, the typical issues that would get discussed are - billing rate corrections, hiring numbers, profitability, geo-political risks, growth/profitability numbers, dollar-rupee currency fluctuations.

But, Why aren't we seeing light on some of the toughest customer problems that are solved by these companies, in that quarter?. Why aren't we hearing anything about some of the impressive technology solutions that they provided? Why don't we learn anything on their future technology seed planting activities?

Indian IT services industry has achieved the dominant status in offshoring nearly a decade ago. And all these years, we have been hearing only the general management talk from the leadership than the customer value management enabled by information technologies.

Have you ever seen a CTO or a equivalent role from a Indian IT services company talked to the press in detail about the company's technology perspectives or its vision for the future? The answer is resounding 'NO'.

On the contrary, I was reading the interview of Cisco India Globalization Officer in a leading newspaper in Bangalore. In the interview, the EvP talks about some of the real problems faced by urbanization and how Cisco's technologies can help solving them. He goes on talking about some of the projects that Cisco is driving. Of course, he touches upon General management aspects as well.

But, if you read the interviews/blogs of Indian CEOs (from IT services companies), you will learn only about general management innovation/outsourcing offshoring trends among customers.

Clearly, this was required a decade ago when the whole offshoring concept was new and emerging across the globe. But, not today. Today - Globalization is at its peak. And the speed of technology change/Innovation is rapid. The potential to create new value based on Technology is tremendous. The needs of the customer, the needs of the industry, the needs of the society are constantly changing. And the indian industry should lead from the front than getting stuck in the past.

Agreed, Cisco is a Technology/Products company and Indian IT services companies are 'IT-intensive Customer Services' companies. But, that shouldn't stop them from leading the global outsourcing/offshoring industry on technology front.

In fact, Indian IT service companies have a stronger advantage that they work with numerous clients across the globe to solve some of their pressing problems using technology.

Its time the industry flip its orientation from shareholders' interests to customers' interests!.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Why Boeing acquires Cyber Security capability?

Today morning, Over a cup of coffee, when I was reading the business section of Times of India, I came across this interesting acquisition - Boeing acquiring a Cyber Security Technology firm.

I understand there is quite a lot of activity happening in cyber security space, given the fact that number of threats are increasing every day. But, I was thinking - why would a traditional OEM / aerospace manufacturer get into the business of cyber security?

Apart from aeroplane manufacturing, the other key business of Boeing is Defense, Space and Security Systems. There are couple of areas where Boeing is planning to use the technology.

- as a capability that can enable secure networking of ground, air and space products
- as a defense for Boeing's network
- as a capability that can be deployed across its business units
- The acquired company can open new markets to Boeing

Pls note that its not seen as an IT capability. It is a compelling business capability. Going forward, I would say companies would build/promote cyber security as an integrated business capability like legal, HR and physical security.

Boeing has been supporting Military/Defense space for decades. With the ever-increasing influence of Internet, the defense strategies are shifting from traditional 'hardware' weapons/equipments to 'emerging' 'software/IT' enabled solutions. That's a significant paradigm shift!

I have talked about this transition in my earlier blog post as well.

With more and more businesses evaluating ET-based solutions and Internet getting embedded into pervasive devices, the need for cyber security solutions is only going to explode!.