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An India Response



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Hi,

I have over 3 decades of IT experience, a large part of it being in
India.
Currently I am in the US, to work on internet based projects., software
engineering, project and program management.

I totally agree, life doesnot stop at 25, good code is vital, however,
coding per-see is about 10-30 % of the project effort. We have to move
UP
the value chain viz. design, technical architecture, conceptualizing,
developing, managing large complex projects, and getting into product
development.

The latter, product development, is an area India has not ventured in to
any
great extent (Instaplan, several years back would be an exception) I
feel
largely because we dodnot have a home market to understand a
requirement, or
the funding to develop and market products. It should be noted that
development cost is about 5-20% of the cost of a product, a bulk being
taken
by marketing, promotion, and support.  esp. now, is interesting from
India's
viewpoint, as the internet experience can be had by our boys, at a
minimal
cost, without going to the US etc. Over the net, we can study the
existing
products, components and component families, frameworks, design patterns

etc. sitting in Chicago, as easily as sitting in New Delhi, or even
Simla.

I agree the internet access cost in India is still high, but I
understand
that in Delhi, GK area, a DSL, 64KBits/sec connection connection costs
Rs3000/month = $60. Currently a 640kbps, DSL, connection costs $50 in
the
US. I have one, and besides Napster and multimedia downloads, how often
do I
really use the full 640kbps bandwidth.

I understand that a high capacity fibre-optic network is being setup.
With
that, a wireless last mile, we should be able to catch up with what is
currently available in the US. It took the US about 50 years to develop
this
infrastructure, we could have it up in a few years. In the meanwhile,
like
for client-server computing, the internet standards, like XML, SOAP,
UDDI,
etc. would have matured and stabilised, so we could have a good
environment
say by 2005- 2010. This potentially could form a good infrastructure to
re-engineer India into the 21st century.

However I think the BIGGEST problem is NOT technology, it will be to,
set
enlightened goals for ourselves, change our mindset,  re-engineer our
processes, in govt., business, education, industry etc., to use this new

manna.

The only silver-lining, for India, as see it is, that unlike the
developed
countries, where most of their systems still work, ours DONOT, so
scrapping
our systems and processes, like the IT&Telegrap Act of 1885 !  would not
be
a problem, but we will need a LOT of skill in change management to
introduce
this change. The power-shift, from the existing
politician/bureacrat/industrialist setup, to the common man, will be
resisted like hell. This is where enlightened people MUST be careful and

contribute, ther net being a powerful tool.   Platforms for informing
and
involving the public in this change (in the US, I find Senate Hearings,
in
which a Senate sub-committee, invites, the professionals and experts to
testify, under oath, to educate the Senators about the latests trends
etc.,
so that the best input is given to the law makers for making sensible
laws.
These hearings are televised, over a public network, CSPAN. The
bureacrats
are NOT running this process). These and similar institutions MUST be
setup
to bring about an awareness.

We can make !  The alternative is just too bleak.

Vipen Mahajan





----- Original Message -----
From: "Ratnendra Pandey" <pandey@hotmail.com>
To: <indata@satyam.net.in>; <debate@indiapolicy.org>;
<india-gii@cpsr.org>
Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2001 2:20 AM
Subject: Re: Chinese know how to cut costs


> This news points us again to the issue which many in India have begin
to
> realize. The good news is that Ministry of Human Resourse Development
is
> conscious of this (as it can be seen in its consultation paper on IT
> education). And it is that Indian software Industry is operating at
the
> lower end of the value chain. If india really wants to become
software/IT
> superpower, it must move up the value chain. Until today, the only
advantage
> India software professionals (= programmers) has been  english
language
and
> lower cost. With Russian/Chinese programmers entering into the market,
it
> seems that english language may not be such a high barrier to entry
into
the
> programming business. Marketers (and Strategic Planners ) anywhere in
the
> world will tell that the price last item to be negotiated; and as far
as
> possible, never engage in price war with your competitors. Therefore,
entry
> of China and Russia (both are non-English country as far as medium of
higher
> education is concerned) should be an early warning to Indian software
> industry to move up in value chain and not to sell low cost structure
as
its
> competitive advantage. If indian software industry does not
capatilizes
its
> early movers advantage and fights with China and Russia on price
alone, it
> my have to loose a huge chunk of this business to other countries.
>
> The process of additional value creation my be difficult for Indian
company
> because of weak domestic demand as most of the software is still
written
for
> external consumption.
>
> Anyway, according to some analysts, this industry will loose
speciality
> (=growth market) status sometime around 2008 when people will take
this
just
> as much part of life as we take telephones or automobiles. Therefore,
the
> Indian industry has to make as much as possible. There is no doubt
that IT
> industry will exist after 2008, but it will be a very low margin
activity
> (just as computer hardware industry has become today) with lot of
suppliers
> are fighting for same non-growing market. The ability of market to
support
> lot of players will diminsh and only those who are best will survive.
>
>
> Sincerely,
> Ratnendra Pandey



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