Industry Renewal and New Horizons

DQI Bureau
New Update

Professor David Garvin, academic extraordinaire and an epitome of leadership

and learning at the Harvard Business School was one of the stars in the recently

concluded India Leadership Forum of Nasscom in Mumbai. In his plenary keynote on

Corporate Entrepreneurship, David argued eloquently for the need to nurture new

business ideas within successful organizations to ensure that the process of

renewal which is so essential for a dynamic industry like ours is kept fresh.

Something that we at Zensar can definitely testify. As a late starter in this

industry, the foremost reason for the ability to become globally relevant in the

short span of ten years has been our willingness to take risks in new markets,

new approaches and new business models, and develop a distinctive point of

view. And if the $200 bn goal that the IT and BPO exports industry is chasing

for the year 2020 is to be achieved, at least a quarter has to be delivered

through this capability to innovate and build successful products, services and

processes through innovation.


The Leadership Forum saw over 1,600 participants and global thought leaders

like Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley, David Garvin of the Harvard Business

School and industry leaders like Azim Premji and Nandan Nilekani sharing their

ideas on the global economic revival, and the new challenges and opportunities

for the Indian IT and business services firms.

The global downturn has caused a fundamental rethinking of the nature and

scope of business in most economies. As financial structures, organization

hierarchies, customer access and response mechanisms and the management of

global supply chains came under sharp scrutiny, mature organizations in the key

industry sectors chose to re-engineer their processes, improve productivity of

people and technology, and focus on a minimized cost model to keep bottom lines

intact even as top lines remained flat. The successful firms that survived the

recession mayhem and grew their market share, and entrepreneurs who saw business

ideas in the discontinuities caused by the slowdown and grabbed opportunities

have all demonstrated that innovation is the key to building a successful model

in the times of adversity and to create a platform for future success.


The confidence displayed by all CEOs and analysts at the Leadership Forum has

demonstrated that the next few years will be a period of robust revenue and

profit performance for most of the players who have strengthened their value

propositions in the slowdown period. Opportunities in Platform BPO and cloud

computing are being tapped, and new innovative revenue streams can be expected

to contribute at least a quarter of the $200 bn exports revenue that the

Nasscom-Mckinsey Perspectives 2020 study has projected for the sector. There is

a note of caution here that the withdrawal of stimulus packages in the west, and

even in India and China might create some short term ripples. But, the ongoing

need to reduce costs by availing high quality offshore services should keep the

industry buoyant.

Many innovative firms across industry segments have shown the way to

continuing success and progress on a fast track even when economic head winds

have threatened slow progress. Clairvoyant leadership, a culture that rewards

entrepreneurial risk taking and celebrates success; and processes that lend

themselves to rapid innovation and new idea mobilization and implementation on a

sustained basis are the recipe for success in the coming decade.

Ganesh Natarajan

The author is Vice Chairman & MD of Zensar Technologies. He can be reached at