Is it a good thing when everyone else also agrees with you on something? I would say no, especially if everybody agrees, have a drink and depart. I think that’s what happens when comes to talking about the need of innovation in Indian I.T industry these days. Other than low cost services, what have we done in providing better software applications to customers? Agree there are areas where we excelled in the past few years like semi-conductors, hardware devices etc, but when comes to innovations in business software applications and enterprise systems, we are kind of comfortable being disciples and clap around than being gurus.
Good thing is people are realizing it, bad thing is many(including this blagger of course) don’t know how exactly to transform from being outsources to true innovators as these two are not butterfly life cycle stages - to change naturally from one to another. What required here I would say is to consider software engineering as an engineering domain and encourage people to ideate and construct solutions and products rather than moving only in the path of resourcing.
A key area to be addressed is collaboration. Most of the time engineers in Indian outsourcing firms work at multiple client locations, on multiple domains and technology areas and the parent companies fail to effectively tap into the acquired knowledge which can help them build and offer better solutions to the customers. Foster internal technical groups, knowledge repositories etc is one way to ensemble and enrich this scattered knowledge-base. However, if the middle-level leadership doesn’t have a charter in place to do all these, and are forced to focus only on resourcing, then the journey will not be smooth, no matter what the CxOs try and how much ever skilled the engineering workforce is.
I would say our outsourcing companies are in a much better position than even product vendors to understand the pulse of customers with the kind of reach they have not only into the customers I.T departments but also into other key business units as well. Especially with the kind of economic turmoil we are in currently, customers I’m sure are in need of better, cost effective and efficient solutions more than earlier. And with technologies such as the utility computing models, web2, advanced mobile technology etc, I think the opportunities are immense, to come up with innovative ideas and solution offerings - only if we have the right vision, leadership, plan and risk-taking, experimenting mindset. The raw material – brainware – is in no short supply I think.