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."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 Stateswhich panelists praised as the most open environment for foreign companies to gain offshore clientsEurope, 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 CIOInsight.com.
He termed the globalization currently under way, "The mother of all inflection points."