CXO

Outsourcing: Nasscom event probes issues beyond India's shores

More a global conference held in Mumbai than an Indian conference...

In the second of Mark Kobayashi-Hillary's reports from the Nasscom annual conference in Mumbai, he finds this event is now about a lot more than just Indian offshoring.

The second day of the Nasscom annual conference is generally the busiest. Whenever I travel a long distance to a conference that runs for several days, the first day is usually a mess of jet lag and meetings being shifted around, while the last day is a frantic attempt to get everything finished before leaving.

One of the more annoying aspects of the conference this year was how difficult it was to work anywhere. Have you ever found hotels charging £50 an hour to 'rent' café tables in a bid to prevent too many conference delegates spilling into the public areas?

The increased movement of staff between Indian IT firms was again a big subject at Nasscom's Mumbai conference

The increased movement of staff between Indian IT firms was again a big subject at Nasscom's Mumbai conference
Photo: Fi Dot

It seems the Hyatt management are not aware of the Twitter storm my post on the subject has sparked in Mumbai. I guess they will find out soon via an eagle-eyed employee browsing Twitter.

But moving on from the problems of finding a place to work, what were some of the key points I took from day two?

  • Data is getting more complex to own, so many firms are exploring ways to outsource their data ownership. Not quite using a Facebook profile as the definitive record of a person, but methods that are not far off that kind of self-service, self-update model.
  • The public sector is getting more important for some firms - especially those used to a mix of public and private sector work. Many government programmes are being launched in many countries.
  • Attrition is up in India. This problem used to be a perennial issue for India, with IT employees able to regularly jump ship for better offers, endlessly driving the market rate up. The recession calmed employee behaviour, but it seems to be back with a vengeance.
  • "Ash clouds" was used a few times as a term to describe disasters in the cloud - particularly fears over security.
  • The buyer of IT services is changing considerably - it's moving to the business line leader, who has to consume the services provided by the IT firm. That could be the CEO, or more often, the COO.

Another observation of the event this year is that this is no longer a conference about IT in India. Alex Blues of PA Consulting told me: "This felt like a global conference held in Mumbai rather than an Indian conference."

I'd echo that sentiment. With many foreign delegates wandering around the hotel and over 30 trade delegations plugging their own country, this event is now about a lot more than just Indian offshoring.

Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is the author of Who Moved my Job? and Global Services. He lectures at London South Bank University.

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