The Importance of Business
Even though Indias biggest technology center, Bangalore, was unscathed, reverberations of the Mumbai attacks were felt.
"This particular episode doesnt have any impact. But our customers are interested in understanding in detail our business continuity planning," said Nandan Nilekani, CEO of Infosys in Bangalore, in an interview.
Customers of these giants said the response to the Mumbai attack was encouraging. Indymac Bank outsources business processes such as credit risk analysis, incentive compensation calculations and back office servicing to WNS in Mumbai. "Our first concern was an impact on operations. The vendor was in contact with us immediately," said Mark Nelson, executive vice president of global resources at Indymac Bank in Pasadena, Calif. "We were hoping the people were OK. The people on the evening shift had already arrived. The cell lines were jammed, but text messaging worked. They tracked everyone down and they were OK," said Nelson. WNS has 75 people working on the Indymac account in Mumbai. Indymac also contracts with outsourcer Cognizant for application development in Pune, India, about 90 miles from Mumbai. In all cases, Indymacs data resides entirely in the United States. "It never goes offshore. People access our systems by way of secure lines," said Nelson. LeftHand Networks, a storage software vendor that contracts with Patni for product development work, replicates all its project data at its offices in Boulder, Colo. Click here to read more about outsourcing in India. Still, Bill Chambers, Chairman and CEO of LeftHand was on the phone to Patni in Mumbai to make sure the 50 Patni employees working on his project were safe. "Its a terrible and a tragic event. The first thing I did was to call and make sure our team and their families were safe. And everyone was safe," Chambers said. For their parts, Chambers, Nelson and Rosenthal agreed that the attacks dont impact their move to expand global operations. "Pulling back doesnt make sense," said Chambers. Rosenthal said ABN AMRO has prepared for numerous unpredictable events since the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. "We didnt stop doing business in New York City or London after similar incidents and well continue with our technology program in India," he said in an e-mail interview, adding that ABN AMRO also has significant operations in Florida, which has been roiled during hurricane season. He also noted that ABN AMRO helped create ChicagoFIRST, a plan to ensure resilience in the Chicago financial services sector in the face of terror threats. Analysts said the attacks wont stem the tide of outsourcing to India in the long run. Julie Giera, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., said, "Youll find that companies will ask the questions: Are we prepared? Are we vulnerable? But I dont think there will be any change in investment in India. The trends are too strong to reduce cost and improve quality." Mark Kobayashi-Hillary, a consultant and author based in the UK offered, "I understand why some people might be feeling some concern for investment into India at present. But the longer-term trend of trade and investment will increase as the growth has such strong momentum now," Kobayashi-Hillary added, "Indians have a remarkable tenacity and they will be concerned about this, but it wont stop me returning to Mumbai." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from CIOInsight.com.
Infosys has a disaster recovery facility on the island of Mauritius, near Madagascar and simulates many scenarios, including flooding and political violence. "Customers come in and evaluate our plans," Nilekani said.