Friedman Keynotes

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2006-02-15 Print this article Print

Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and author of "The World is Flat," a bestselling book that popularized awareness of the global economy, including Indian outsourcers, delivered a speech based on the material in his book and received an award from Nasscom. Friedman noted in his book that Nandan Nilekani, chairman of Infosys, told him two years ago during an interview, "Americans are not ready for a level global economic playing field." That warning spurred him to write his book.
He termed the globalization currently under way, "The mother of all inflection points."
"In a flat world, there is no such thing as an American job any more. It will go to the person in the flat world who can do it." With India, China and Russia becoming full members of the new global economy, some 3 billion new workers will be available, and even if only one-tenth of those fully participate, at 300,000 thats more than the population of the United States, said Friedman. A toehold in Europe Another panel dealt with the question of how Indian firms can better succeed in Europe. In contrast to the United States—which panelists praised as the most open environment for foreign companies to gain offshore clients—Europe, it was agreed, is far more closed. Standing in the way of offshore agreements are labor laws that can make layoffs very costly for companies that would send work elsewhere. There is also what several panelists called the emotional reaction against the practice. To overcome that, panelists agreed that Indian firms need to hire local recruits, especially for customer-facing jobs. As Indian firms become more skillful in addressing these issues, the larger ones will try harder to get work in Germany and France, the two most resistant countries, said Vijay Khare, executive vice president and global delivery coordinator for Patni Computer Systems. Despite the challenges, Deutsche Bank has been outsourcing successfully with several Indian firms for several years, said Simon Fanning, strategic sourcing program director for Deutsche Bank, who declined, however, to name the companies. He said he has a program to teach project managers how to deal with Indian firms. "But we also need to teach Indians about Germany and Deutsche Bank culture. The culture shock goes both ways." Arvind Thakur, CEO of NIIT Technologies Limited, acquired a company in Austria to provide a local presence, which he said is particularly required in Germany and France. "There are huge opportunities for Indian companies in Europe, but only those with a strategy will win," said Fanning. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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