Taking On The Competition In A Flat World Guru


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Taking On The Competition In A Flat World Guru

  1. 1. as services pie. So, whether it adopts a (and a living) for themselves in the to succeed if it has a strategy to take on its competitors or process-Aadil Bandukwala, chief evangelist, Leading Minds & Talent clear understanding chooses the right space to be in, it Onions; Gurudev R Goud, vice ofart-up can markets t its target only hope is important for a start-up to know and challenges. In fact, president-business development, whether its greatest challengers are competition might prove to be one its Indian counterparts or overseas KTwo Technology Solutions; Nirmal of the biggest stumbling blocks firms in China and emerging areas Shah, vice president, Global Delivery, in its road to success. Given that like Brazil. Tescra; and Vihang Kathe, director, IT start- we live and work in a 'Bat' world, In a bid to help Indian International Business Consulting. competition is no longer limited to ups navigate their way through Who poses the greatest what we see around us. It extends to intense competition and emerge challenge? IT start-ups and established unseen winners, we present the view of some panellists who have stood up firms in other countries, battling for Kathe's experience suggests that a slice of the global tech products/ to competition and made a name competition varies depending on each 41 i.i;. I www.itmagz.comIDECEMBER 2008 I
  2. 2. behind Indian and Romanian firms quot;It is the overall niche of the IT sector. For instance, Q) o he explains, quot;If you are competing in terms of talent, technology and value that counts, o for an ERP implementation for SAP, skills. He feels that these advantages irresQective of. '> quot;quot;'m~~~~.~~...~~quot;-~'-~~ '..~'-~quot;-~~'- ~~ 'S~~~~~~~~ quot;.~~~ ~~ quot;'-~~~~ ,her you are CD agencies in India and Romania bag companies like Infosys, Wipro, TCS competing against or HCL. However, if you are looking 60 per cent of the work outsourced by the US and the United Kingdom. for niche storage solutions, expect a fellow local player Other countries rapidly catching up competition from US companies or an international like EMC, HP or IBM. My firm is in this sector are Malaysia, Israel, player/· engaged in the storage, server and Bangladesh and Macedonia. j, According to Shah, Indian .network security solutions sectors. counterparts as well as firms in The greatest competition we face is Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Hungary and from large MNCs operating in this Mexico, comprise the competition space-firms from countries like the US, Israel and Russia that are faced by Indian tech endeavours. Goud, however, is of the view that strong in the security segment and the biggest competition for Indian IT companies like Dell, IBM and HP that have a sound presence in storage/ start-ups comes from within India, server, technology.quot; although some Chinese firms rule Bandukwala seconds this. His the roost in the 'buy cheap, use and throw' product category! ~nteractive Internet agenC:y,Leading Nirmal Shah, vice president, Global Delivery, Tescra Minds, faces great competition from Advantage India similar firms in India and Romania. developers wouldn't mind clocking in a few extra hours after their Evidently, the challenge has two This is because Internet start-ups in dimensions and necessitates tech China and Brazil, for instance, are far routine schedule to help design a project. Web developers usually start-ups to have eyes'in front as quot;In order to cater well as at the back of their heads to code, and design is not their forte. to larger volumes, However, in India, you will find a make their presence felt in a tough market. But do Indian techies have lot of Web developers who know firms just need , the inherent skills to help them deal their design like the back of their to focus on offering with the intra-country competition hands. They don't mind working products/services of an and price wars that Bandukwala feels late hours simply because they have equivalent 'quality at a are becoming a frequent occurrence? the drive, the zeal and the passion He himself believes that clients oomDetitive price.quot; to create that magical product in the promised timeline. nowadays want a relial':>le,quick and Against overseas competition, efficient partner. quot;If a start-up can Shah cites maturity, a better build and leverage on these three understanding of processes, delivery core competencies (of being reliable, models and technological depth and quick and efficient) other than its breadth as the major advantages technological expertise, it will never run out of business, no matter what that Indian companies possess. quot;Barring (very) few examples, price it quotes,quot; he advises. IT vendors from other emerging Further, Bandukwala points out that India boasts of an abundance nations are really small players and sometimes just a rag-tag bunch of of 'flexible' talent and passion, an otherwise scarce resource, as a techies running a garage operation. Scale is definitely against them at huge advantage. He elucidates his Gurudev R Goud, vice president-business this point in time,quot; he says. point with an example: typical Web development. KTwo Technology solutions 42 I www.itmagz.comli. I quot;t. DECEMBER 2008
  3. 3. Adding value to Brand India ''Tech start-ups need at a lower price, as being a key CD < Goud believes Indian techies' factor for enabling starr-ups to to develop world o survive in markets. skills in Web 2.0, WiMAX, o class products that embedded technology focusing may be marketed Don't get bypassed by ,_ on the design of low-powered and CD 'local' companies ,,quot; not only in India but high-performance devices, and the across the world.quot; No discussion about competition convergence of automotive, medical and consumer electronics, are far would be complete without superior to the overseas competition. mention of the clients' perception of Nevertheless, he stresses that Indian competing local and international players. When an Indian tech firm is IT professionals need training on how to present and market their pitted against an overseas firm, which skills. quot;We have it in us but need one is more likely to win by virtue of world-class presentation, business its country of origin? Further, if two communication and PR skills,quot; he local players compete, what are the key factors that influence a potential advises. On a larger scale, he feels client? the Indian IT industry should take .Bandukwala feels that when it inspiration from the Korean and comes to the Internet platform, the Swiss ecosystem, and organise itself likewise to nurture talent and clients usually don't bother about the location of an agency or partner. promote innovation. Vihang Kathe, director, International Business Consulting quot;They are only very particular about Kathe mentions India's prioritising the ability to understand, tweak, value-based entrepreneurship as things up fast~rquot; A start-up can customise, build and scale the carve a niche for itself very quickly its greatest strength, which should technology they need and to deliver it if it focuses in the right direction,quot; ideally be nourished with government in a decent timeframe. If these can be advises Shah, as he shares how his support. He says, quot;The Indian matched, more often than not, even firm co-exists with the big boys management principles emphasise of the Indian IT industry, and price is not a barrier,quot; he says. providing value for money products/ solutions to end-customers. In Shah too stresses th(! importance actually gets to do some cutting- of delivering value. quot;It is the Qverall edge work that they don't. keeping with this tradition, tech value that counts, irrespective of Goud agrees. Citing Skype, start-ups need to develop world class YouTube and Orkut as the best whether you are competing against a products that may be marketed not examples of how starr-ups have fellow local player or an international only in India but across the world.quot; player,quot; he says. And what adds to a given established biggies a run for Expand your footprint their money, he says, quot;Every start- firm's value in this local versus foreign If value-based entrepreneurship up's mantra must be to 'give value.' debate? Apparently, a lot of weight is placed on the firm's local presence in Don't worry if your way forward is stressed, even a start-up can hope is blocked by a big player because its potential clients' city of operations. to gain a foothold in a market Shah explains: quot;We are headquartered where an older player is already well at the end of the day, people in the US and some of our clients feel established. quot;Start-ups must see respect the value they derive from more comfortable when they know value in not competing on price, a producr/service. Besides, market we are a 'local' company. We have but overall value. If you show value, leaders usually overlook a few key lost some bids because we did not you are bound to get more business points like service quality, customer have a presence in a particular city and take that bit away from the loyalty or price. A new firm can use or state. The bias, if there is any, is competition. In fact, although large these omissions to its advantage.quot; for someone to be local to the client's Kathe sees the ability to companies drive the IT industry, city. If they don't have that bias, smaller start-ups are agile and have provide niche solutions modelled they usually don't much care about the advantage of being able to pick on the offerings of large players i.t. 43 I www.itmagz.comIDEcEMBER 2008 I