Global Outsourcing of software and services: The Indian experienceProfessorS.KrishnaIIM Bangalore
Strengths ( Generally written about ) • Prevalence of English Language • Large technologically educated, inexpensive manpower • Diaspora links • Accompanied by serious infrastructural problems and policy restrictions which deter business growth
Indian Government Initiatives and policies which have helped the Industry • Starting of Indian Institutes of Technology in mid 1950s to 1960s • Software Technology Parks in late 1980s • Tax concessions for exports. • Broad and limited in impact • Several other policies have had a negative impact
Government Actions and policies which have constrained the software Industry • Strong restrictions on hardware imports till mid-80s • Poor choice of location for Software Technology Parks • Scant progress in infrastructure needs like airports, roads and urban environments • Inability to scale up good quality education. • Domestic Markets and Government use inadequate
What has really made a difference are social,cultural and historic factors which have placed India in a unique position to benefit from a mental skill and knowledge driven industry domain.
Long tradition- zero,chess, largest poem ( Mahabharata),literature in several dozen languages, spirituality and so on • Value for intellectual activity rather than physical ones • Other “soft” domains- For example: largest movie industry, (yoga and spirituality industry !), potential in education, management and so on • Need to discuss at firm level: “Micro foundations of growth, and thus the proximate cause of differences between national economic performances, lies in the capabilities of firms. The cumulative increase in firm level capabilities attract investment and drives growth” Sutton
Research Program • Empirical studies involving around 300 interviews over 5 years. Several Longitudinal case studies. • Interviews at Bangalore and other cities in India. Also at Canada, U.S, U.K, Singapore, Japan & Korea. Team involving researchers from India, U.K and Canada. • In parallel, e-Government, IT in public health information systems and IT in rural areas • Global Software Work influences and is influenced by ongoing processes of Globalization • Interpretive Research :“Interpretive research does not predefine dependent and independent variables but focuses on human sense making as the situation emerges”. ( Klein & Myers)
Focus on Strategic Alliances in the outsourcing context • Discovering Identity Through High Technology And Global Alliances • Managing Cross-cultural Issues in Global Software Outsourcing • Influence of geographic dispersion on control and coordination approaches for management of software development projects • e-Government in Andhra Pradesh, IT in public health information systems in Karnataka
Theory of Being (Identity) Theory of Action (Strategy) Organizational Relationships &Alliances Project Activities Identity and Action Relationships
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Commence Globtel work in India Self Reliant Exploration Startup in Silicon Valley Academics enrolled ‘Unleashing India’s Creativity’ Make the right connection 1989 1991 1993 Longitudinal Study Period Observation continued Milestones in Organizational Transformation of SRS
In the software domain where people are the most important resource, our case points to the need to be sensitive to individual’s search for meaning and align it with organizational agendas and inter-organizational relationships.
Managing Cross-cultural Issues in Global Software OutsourcingStrategic Choice of Projects
Influence of Geographic Dispersion on Control and Co-ordination approaches for Management of Software Projects • Separation of resources in time and space leads to problem in controlling and coordinating software projects • Formal Approaches – Output control, Hierarchies, etc. • Informal Approaches – Informal networks, Self control etc.
Globalization Involves disembedding social processes from their contexts and reembedding them in new contexts ( Anthony Giddens) • Facework commitment: trust relations which are sustained by or expressed in social connection established in circumstances of co-presence. • Faceless commitments: development of faith in abstract systems which are symbolic tokens or expert systems.
Trust relations are basic to extended time-space distantiation associated with modernity. • Trust in persons: Facework commitment • Trust in systems: Faceless commitments Greater process discipline leads to improved quality for Global software Work.
Spillover Effects • E-Government initiatives in India (in the late nineties) are an offshoot of success in software outsourcing industry • Influence both in urban and rural areas- Government and Private initiatives
Spillover Effects (Contd.) • Training Infrastructure • Trained manpower at lower costs • Greater awareness and IT literacy • Experience with systems in developed countries • Availability of venture capital • Competence and skills for localization
Policy Recommendations • Governments need not be too selective in promotional efforts. A broad range of infrastructure, education and export promotion is preferable unless a clear identification (as in the following) is possible. • Strengthen and deepen industry programs where a clear fit to national character is apparent and global competitive advantage can emerge.
What next in India ? • Can Bangalore get ahead of original silicon valley ? Work by Oracle, Intel and TI is at the forefront of Technology; Bio-Tech, Space Technology, R& D, Design - GE, Daimler-Benz, Motorola • Back-office to the World ? • E- Government efforts- will they take root and spread ? • Government efforts too little and too slow !
References Journals and Book chapters 1. Managing Cross Cultural issues in Global Software Outsourcing. (With Prof. Geoff Walsham, Cambridge University and Prof. Sundeep Sahay, Oslo University), Accepted for Publication by Communications of the ACM 2. 'Synching' or Sinking: Trajectories and Strategies in Global Software Outsourcing Relationships ( With Richard Heeks, Brian Nicholson and Sundeep Sahay) IEEE Software, Journal of IEEE Computer Society USA, Vol 10, No 2,March 2001, pp 54-61. 3. Software Work Across Borders: Discovering Identity Through High Technology And Global Alliances (With Sundeep Sahay, University of Oslo) Under review by MIS Quarterly 4. The Ontology of Space and Place in Global Software Work Arrangements: A dialectical perspective ( with Prof Sundeep Sahay)submitted to the Journal Information and Organizations Competitive Advantage in the Software Industry: An Analysis of the Indian Experience Chapter in the book titled- “ Information Technology in Context: Implementing Systems in the developing World” edited by Avgerou and G. Walsham, Ashgate Publishing, UK, 2001 6. 'Originative' Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Information Technology industry in India ( with Abhoy K. Ojha) Chapter in E.Sridharan (Ed.) Context of Innovation India:The case of the Information Technology Industry, to be published by Palgrave, U.K.
Conference Papers 7.The Process of Building Global Software Outsourcing Relationships: TheExperience of a Multinational Vendor with Indian Contractors. (With M. Barrett, S. Sahay & B.Hinings) Presented at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS`97), Atlanta, Georgia, USA, December 1997 8. Influence of geographic dispersion on control and coordination approaches for management of software development projects(with Rajeev Sharma) Information Resources Management Association Global Conference, PhiladelphiaMay 2003 9. Structuring Coordination and Communication in Global Software Work: A Case Study (with Rajeev Sharma International Federation for Information Processing 8.2 and 9.4 Joint Conference, Athens, Greece June 2003 10.Cultural Imperatives of Global Software Development- Presented at the Beijing Conference on Managing Global Business in the Internet Ageheld at Beijing, China, May 2000. 11. Requirements Engineering: Problem Domain Knowledge Capture and DeliberationProcess Support(with Sudeep Mallick) First International Workshop on the Requirements Engineering Process. Milan, Italy, September 1999. 12. Creating the Global Manager: Understanding Identity as a Processes ofTranslation(With Sundeep Sahay), Presented at the IRIS Conference, Uddevala, Sweden, August 2000. 13. Competitive Advantage in the Software Industry: An Analysis of the IndianExperience (With Abhoy Ojha and Michael Barrett), Proceedings of the IFIP 9.4 conference on “Information Technology in Context”, at Bangkok, June 1998 14.Work Practices and Local Improvisations with Global Software teams: A case study of UK Subsidiary in India (With Brian Nicholson and Sundeep Sahay) Proceedings of IFIP 9.4 conference on “Information flows, Local Improvisations and Work Practises” held at Cape town, May 2000. Proceedings of the IFIP 9.4 conference on “Information Technology in Context”, Cape Town, May 2000