IT Mavens

Market trends, Technology trends, IT's impact on business, Articles, Book reviews, Interviews,Quizzes

Location: Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

ONGC program test post

Thursday, November 30, 2006

HR ASCI post


This is a test

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

NTPC session


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Top IT services vendors earned $262 bln in 2005

Top IT services vendors earned $262 bln in 2005 by ZDNet's ZDNet Research -- The top IT services vendors had combined revenue in 2005 of $262 bln, a 1.9% increase from 2004, but well below the 8% boost in the overall market, Datamonitor said. The top 50 ranged from IBM Global Services with sales of $47 bln to Patni Computer Systems with $450 mln. The 10 fastest-growing IT services vendors included Cognizant, Satyam, Patni, TCS, Infosys, HCL and Wipro, SRA, CACI and SAIC.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Will they upset Indian outsourcing applecart?

CIOL has given excerpts from the Sandhill report on outsourcing. Whereas there is an overwhelming trend in favour of India as an IT outsourcing destination, the following are some of the areas of concern
- Rising cost
- Communication problems
- IPR issues
- People issues

Excerpts ;
Sand Hill – Persistent Systems 'Report on Offshoring' hints at many factors that could hit the Indian outsourcing industry

Shashwat Chaturvedi

MUMBAI: In 2003, the world was quite a different place. U.S. forces had landed in Iraq; a supposed Monkeyman (caped crusader) was roaming the streets of London helping old ladies cross the streets.

Meanwhile, India was purportedly 'shining'. There was a virulent campaign against outsourcing underway, yet significant amount of work was being outsourced to India. The clients were a wee bit unsure about the model and how it would work out. The very same year, Sand Hill group conducted a study on offshoring in the U.S., taking into account different clients' view on Indian players and the whole idea of offshoring and outsourcing.

Three years later, the world continues to be a different place. U.S. forces rule the streets of Baghdad, London celebrates Queen Elizabeth's eightieth birthday. Back home, the shine seems to back as the stock markets are on a roll. The latest Sand Hill – Persistent Systems 'Report on Offshoring' gives the industry a 'thumbs up' sign.

But on closer reading, the report also hints at many factors that could upset the Indian outsourcing applecart.

The biggest one is the cost factor. Clients abroad are concerned about the increasing costs; estimates show offshoring vendor costs in India growing 15 per cent to 18 per cent every year.

Says a respondent, “I think the cost advantage is starting to erode as time progresses. The offshore organizations are experiencing tremendous demand, so they have increased pricing strength. As that pricing strength grows, our costs grow, which may lead us to reduce offshoring or bring those activities back in-house.”

But, Anand Deshpande, chairman and managing director, Persistent Systems, isn't perturbed by it. “While there are growing concerns over the increasing costs, it is still not a big issue. Cost is no more the main factor for which the clients are outsourcing or offshoring work to India. The only fallout could be that clients will offshore less strategic work to other destinations. The bulk will still come to India, evident from the fact that close to 84 per cent of respondents affirmed that was India was the first offshoring destination,” he said.

The report suggests that clients should have a price protection clause in the agreement, whereby the spiraling cost could be curtailed.

Communication was another big issue with clients in the U.S. Respondents across the board spoke about communication issues with the team in India. The time difference puts added pressure on the team in U.S. to be able to interact on a daily basis.

“Remote management is a significant challenge to our efforts,” said one respondent. “The wife of one of my engineers complained that he spends from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. on the phone with India almost every night. That's not good. If he's too burned out, he loses creativity,” added another respondent. “Communication will be an issue whenever a company off shores its work. But with time, things ease out. This is not something that is specific to India,” clarifies Deshpande.

Significantly, the number of people who were “very satisfied” with offshoring in 2003, has dropped by 15 percentage points. Whereas the respondents who were “not very satisfied” in 2003, has increased from four-five per cent.

A bad omen? “No. The expectations of the clients have changed over the past few years. The clients do not simply outsource; they look for strategic partnerships. The needs and requirements on the client side have changed. The initial euphoria has given way to more circumspect assessment,” pacifies Deshpande.

Clients in the U.S. are also increasingly worried on intellectual property rights (IPR) related issues. The numerous incidents at Indian companies, where strategic data related to certain clients was comprised does not help India's cause. Deshpande acquiesces, “I agree, a lot more needs to be done to assuage the IPR concerns. It is an important and sensitive issue for the clients.”

Then, there is the most-talked about issue on shortage of talented people. The report mentions that experienced technical staff is tough to find and retain than it was in the Silicon Valley during the Internet heyday. Thus, quality and productivity are suffering.

“It is one of the most talked about issues in India. What more can I add, except that we as a industry need to find an answer for this and fast,” says Deshpande.

The offshoring industry is maturing and India is developing into a powerhouse. The concerns need to be addressed, as the competition is hotting up. And one can't just rest on the laurels. Three years later, when the world will continue to be a different place, hopefully India's place in the offshoring market be the same or stronger.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Link to all management jargon

Although I have a healthy disrespect for management jargon, they are a necessary evil in the profession I am in. So here is a link to a web-site which gives to links to all the Management buzzwords.

Monday, April 17, 2006

How to read a Business Book

via Fastcompany

How to Read a Business Book
Three ways to get the most out of business tomes -- without resorting to just the executive summary.

From: Issue 88 | November 2004 | Page 106 | By: Jennifer Reingold


We here at Fast Company have always been suckers for a good business yarn. And we're not the only ones: Last year, 5,301 books claiming to be about business were published, up 30% from just three years earlier, according to Andrew Grabois, director of publisher relations at publishing-industry specialist R.R. Bowker. Grabois predicts that the business-book market should hit $828.6 million this year, making it the third most-popular category after romance and religion. Basically, we're all drowning in the stuff. So we figured a life raft might be in order. Here's a primer on how to get something out of a business book.

Take a Big Grain of Salt
"Anybody who reads my [work] literally, I have no patience with," says Tom Peters, the consultant and author of 11 management books. "Relative to my conclusions and framework, if you adopt it hook, line, and sinker, then I think you're a fool. It ain't the Bible." Most authors would hardly be so cavalier about their own work, but Peters has a point: Business books are necessarily about generalizations; your company is necessarily all about specifics. No one strategy or approach to marketing, no matter how brilliant, can be an exact fit. So don't just xerox every page and try to perfectly replicate every single example. Just because it worked for Cisco or Microsoft or Procter & Gamble doesn't mean it will work for you.

Distill the Central IdeaEven though a book may have 400 pages chock-full of stories, numbers, and footnotes, chances are most are devoted to just a few ideas. In Built to Last, it's both "preserve the core," or keep what is essential, and "stimulate progress," or have the courage to change and move forward. To be able to get something out of a book, says noted consultant and author Ram Charan, you first need to understand what that key idea is. "Then you toss around that idea in your mind and determine under which conditions it's a good idea and under which conditions it's a bad idea." Finally, he says, you try to push it forward, asking what would be the next logical idea that flows from this one. That's how you get to creative solutions.

Create Your Own Toolbox
Think about your views on parenting, or on politics. Did they all come from your grandmother, or did you develop them by talking to lots of folks and studying different points of view? The same is true for business books: The more you read, the more you learn. "I think of a good manager as being like a good mechanic who has a very good box of tools," says Darrell Rigby, a partner at Bain & Co. "He knows what those tools are good for and when they can be dangerous if applied to the wrong kind of problem." The tools don't all come from the same place, and neither should ideas. "The world is such a complicated place," says Rigby. "Nobody has a monopoly on business truths or effective business principles."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

When Will India Kick Its $200 Bln Gold Habit?

When Will India Kick Its $200 Bln Gold Habit?Related Stocks: GLD

If John Maynard Keynes were alive today, he would be horrified to see gold rallying again, and for a reason very familiar to the British economist: India’s “ruinous” love of the “barbaric relic.” Almost 100 years after Keynes used those words to chide India for its extravagance, the billion-people nation shows no signs of losing its fondness for the metal. India accounts for 18 percent of world demand, more than any other country, writes Andy Mukherjee of Bloomberg.

Three out of four traders, investors and analysts in Bloomberg’s latest weekly survey advised buying gold.

What’s surprising to modern economists is that gold demand in India is on the rise when most of the traditional reasons for hoarding the metal — high inflation, persistent rupee depreciation, rapacious taxation and low penetration of banking services — are fading.

With increasing modernization and urbanization in the nation, the proportion of gold in the bridal trousseau should also have been on the wane. However, India’s gold consumption rose 57 percent from a year earlier in the 12 months ended March 31, on top of a 63 percent jump in the previous year.

Andy cites several reasons this should not be occuring:

Indians are no longer living in the 1970s when they were hard-pressed to protect their savings. Inflation averaged 9 percent a year then, and the income tax rate was as high as 97.75 percent in 1974. Gold jewelry was a handy option to store wealth and hide it from the state. It was also a smart investment: Gold prices rose more than eightfold between September 1976 and January 1981, when they soared to a record $873.
India is now the world’s 10th-biggest economy. The top tax rate is a reasonable 30 percent, while local inflation has averaged 5 percent since early 2000.
The Indian rupee, having weakened from about 7.5 to the dollar in 1966 to 49.06 in May 2002, has risen 11.5 percent against the U.S. currency since then.
India has also liberalized gold imports, reducing smuggling of the metal and rendering anachronistic the plot lines of ’70s era Bollywood movies that featured gold-smuggling heavies.
And then suggests several reasons it may be happening:

Over the past five years, the Indian government has added 16 percentage points of GDP to its public debt and spent 65 percent of the borrowed money on expenditure that doesn’t create new capital such as salaries and pensions. That inefficient allocation of savings by the government may have prompted individuals to become more risk averse and stock up on gold, Morgan Stanley’s Ahya says.
According to India’s latest census, more than 47 million girls in the age group of 15 to 29 have yet to marry. Assuming 80 percent of them do so in the next five years, that’s 38 million weddings. At a very modest 10 grams per wedding, or slightly less than one-third of an ounce, that would translate into 76 metric tons of demand a year, enough to buy a fifth of all gold mined in South Africa last year.

The Top 100 Most Innovative Companies Ranking -BW

The BusinessWeek has brought out its annual list of top 100 innovative companies.
I can see 2 Indian names there. Infosys at 32 and ITC at 81.

The World's Most Innovative Companies 2006 Rank
1 Apple
2 Google
3 3M
4 Toyota
5 Microsoft
6 General Electric
7 Procter & Gamble
8 Nokia
9 Starbucks
10 IBM

Friday, April 14, 2006

Infosys results - more of the same thing

Infosys came out with its 4th quarter and annual results. I had a quick look at their fact sheet.

Their results have become so boring that one has got tired of their extreme standardisation. If the presentation of the results has the sameness, the business itself has the sameness, which has become very predictable.

- BFSI remains their main industry
- Application maintenance remains the mainstay and the share is growing.
- Time and Material projects are only increasing
- Share of USA remains at 65 %
- India remains a foot note at about 1.2 %
- More space is being created to house more and more pros to do more and more of the routine work
- The pros seem to be increasingly voting with their feet with rising attrition to 11.2 %
- The release of Mohandas Pai from the CFO chair once again shows that any professional who acquires a bigger image than the promoters is usually cut down to size , perhaps..

How long are they going to bank on scale and operational excellence to drive growth and profitability. No innovation. No guts for large acquisition.

It will be interesting to see how the market reacts on Monday. With the boring predictability of Infosys results and the cliched statements from the top management, it will do well for CNBC and NDTV profit to not accord any special status to Infosys results, every quarter. They have their own TRPs to look after.

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