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Spreading their Reach
ST Team
Monday, July 2, 2007
Father’s footsteps: tempting and not tempting

Rishad Premji, the eldest son of Wipro Chairman Azim Premji, is slated to join the IT bellwether by mid July. He will join as a Business Manager in the BFSI vertical and will report to Girish.S.Paranjpe, the head of Banking, Finance, Securities and Insurance vertical.

Rishad is currently working with a global consultancy firm in Europe. Incidentally, Premji, who still holds about 80 percent of Wipro, joined the company at the age of 21 following his father’s sudden death in 1966. The company was then known as Western India Vegetable Oils Company.

While Rishad seems to be following his father’s footsteps, Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju has clarified that his sons Teja B Raju and Rama B Raju will not be joining Satyam. “Even if I ask, they will not join. They are running more exciting business,” Raju recently said. His two sons run Maytas Infrastructure and Maytas Properties respectively.

China threat as offshore destination waning

According to a recent Forrester report “China’s Diminishing Offshore Role”, while China’s percentage of global delivery model (GDM) resources for the top services firms such as Accenture has dropped, there has been far greater investment into India and the Philipines.

Allaying the fears of many that China would pose a threat to India as an outsourcing destination, the report states, “while Chinese services firms are supporting a vibrant local IT market, China has not achieved the offshore growth that people expected”.

According to the report, Japanese clients constitute a major share for Chinese offshore service providers. Also, Chinese IT professionals are largely focused on modern language skills like J2EE, and the skills base growth is also very limited.

The report suggested that the clients should focus in smaller projects in this realm to limit the exposure to the small supply of higher-end and more experienced technical skills.

Indian, Argentinean business leaders work longest

Business leaders in India and Argentina work the longest, up to 57 hours a week, according to a survey by London-based consulting firm Grant Thornton International. The survey is based on data gathered from 7,200 respondents in 32 countries.

The report stated that business leaders in mainland China, Taiwan and India experienced more stress at work this year than in the previous year. “With strong economic growth across Asia, more business people in the region reported an increase in stress levels,” said Grant Thornton.

Kon Yin Tong, Managing partner of Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton, the Singapore unit of the group said that globalization and increasing technological advances had increased the pressure on business leaders to be always in touch with the work place.

The challenge for business leaders is how to improve modern working practices to allow time to “switch off” from the strains of increasingly demanding business lives while remaining competitive,” Tong added. The survey also identified Italians as working the shortest hours at 47 hours per week.

Top 10 countries with the longest working weeks (Average hours worked per week)
India 57
Argentina 57
Armenia 56
Australia 56
Botswana 56
Turkey 55
United States 55
South Africa 55
Singapore 54
Hong Kong 54

Over 218 M phones ringing in India

As per data available with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), India’s telecom density at the end of May stands at 19.25 percent, 218.06 million telephone connections active throughout the country.

According to the DoT, the mobile phone segment witnessed the maximum growth with the number of GSM (global system for mobile communications) users rising by five million and CDMA (code division multiple access) by one million. Positive growth was also noted in the broadband segment.

“About 2.38 million broadband connections were provided and coverage of broadband connectivity by public sector service providers has reached 1,039 cities,” said a DoT statement.

Genpact to expand operations in Hyderabad

Genpact, a provider of business and technology services, recently signed a deal with the Andhra Pradesh government to expand its operations in Hyderabad by setting up its third state-of-the-art campus with an investment of Rs.121 crore.

Genpact, India’s largest business process outsourcing (BPO) firm, will construct a million square feet IT/ITES (IT-enabled services) space on about 50 acres of land at Jawahar Nagar in Ranga Reddy district on the city’s outskirts.

The company has promised to create 5,000 jobs in the next five years at the proposed campus. It also plans to develop the area as IT/ITES Special Economic Zone for its own use.

IT, outsourcing growth seen dropping to 30%: study

The annual growth of India’s IT and BPO industries may fall to 30 percent for the next four years, after expanding by 35 percent in the past two years, says a study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Nevertheless, both large and smaller companies in the two industries in India have seen a faster growth than their peers globally at the expense of Western firms, says the study. “Considering the positive outlook toward Indian IT/BPO service industry, private equity and venture capital investors are looking at investing in these companies to be part of India growth story,” chamber president Venugopal N. Dhoot said.

Across all the sectors, venture capital and private equity firms obtained exit routes for their investments in 37 Indian companies during 2006, including 19 via initial public offerings, says the study. For 2005, this figure stood at 41, including 17 via initial public offerings.

IBM starts operations in Lucknow

Global IT major IBM announced the commencement of its operations in Lucknow, adding that it would expand its business across Uttar Pradesh over the coming months.

“With Lucknow becoming IBM’s first destination in Uttar Pradesh, we would soon be spreading out in the state. In the next phases, we will probably go to Agra, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur and other important cities,” said Vivek Malhotra, IBM territory executive, global small and medium business (north and east).

IBM also proposes to spread its wings in 13 cities across India, including, Bhopal, Nasik, Nagpur, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Ludhiana, and Madurai.

“IBM’s operations in Lucknow will target various clients in the government, hospital management, banking, cooperatives, and research institutes,”
Malhotra said.

Biometric IDs for Mumbai slum dwellers

Maharashtra has decided to introduce a biometric ID system for slum dwellers to protect them from unscrupulous land sharks.

The identification system is meant for those under the state-sponsored slum redevelopment project in the megalopolis. It was mooted after the government received several complaints alleging that slum dwellers were being intimidated or lured into signing out their property by real estate developers to start construction on their plots.

Swadhin Kshatriya, the state housing department principal secretary said that under the biometric identification system, a unique number for each beneficiary would be created using the image of his or her eyeballs and thumb impression.

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