Finding Opportunities in Adversities
This is the first time it is apparent that the US presidential elections and the office of the US President is going to really to have an impact on the Indian global services industry. In the past, we could dismiss them as mere `election rhetoric’, but the quick actions of Donald Trump since he took office gives reason for some level of preparedness on our part.
Though, there is no immediate crackdown on the H-1B visa, the lifeline of the Indian global services industry, it could happen overnight. Trump’s style is to use a sledgehammer to repair a Swiss watch, I heard someone say on the TV.
The Trump presidency represents a new world order, a big change in the existing world order brought about by protectionist and de-globalization moves. Protecting American interests through the `buy American and hire American’ dictum, the cancellation of trade treaties, and the crackdown on immigrants have already seen action. The action on H-1B and L1 visas may not be too far away.
We cannot get by doing more of what we have been doing or have done in the past, such as lobbying and image-making. We must find new opportunities in the new world order. The earlier we do, the higher the chances we get to script and set the new rules of the game.
There could be opportunities both within the US and the rest of the world. Offshore may not be the answer this time. It might involve recruiting large number of American workers. It might involve massive training of Americans in the same way institutes such as NIIT and Aptech produced new IT talent in India through the 90s.
Even if the Trump factor was not there, the tech industry would have anyway been in the throes of painful change brought about by digital. The nature of IT work itself has changed and so have the contents of outsourcing. Robotic automation has similarly changed the nature of BPO work. In that sense, it is a double whammy for the tech and tech services industry.
The sorest and most unfair point for the global tech services companies is that we have got used to measuring them by quarterly growth in revenue, profits, and headcount. Let us stop doing that. These measures could prove to be big distractions because chasing them would require these companies to cling to the status quo.
Every company worth its name is striving hard to push the frontier with things such as CX and UX, analytics, AI, IoT, design thinking, and more. These battlegrounds would define a new game with new rules. The smartest companies would anyway bubble up to the top to lead the new order, Trump notw notwithstanding. Ed Nair Group Editor-ICT Business www.dqindia.com