Today India, Tomorrow the World…

DQI Bureau
New Update


a recent workshop on ‘empowered leadership’ conducted by one of India’s

most evangelistic trainers, Anand David of Manford, a group from the US played

the ‘Tower Building’ game. Worldwide, management trainers and practitioners

have used the game to give people the confidence to set and achieve significant

goals. This game proves that the best of management teams with the greatest of

strategies and teamwork cannot achieve great results unless a positive vision of

the future and great amount of self-confidence precede the strategy formation

effort. These are the factors that help ordinary people achieve extraordinary

results. Some IT companies in India have successfully exploited the approach to

achieve breakthrough results in the last decade.


The motivators

Often, a prestigious award or honor serves as a motivating factor for

individuals and organizations. The Oscar awards, for instance, have been

synonymous with global excellence in the field of cinema. In India, for IT

companies, DATAQUEST and its Top 20 annual rankings draw a parallel. Many

companies have set these rankings as serious goals to motivate their leaders and

teams. Without knowing the final composition of this year’s Top 20, one can

still predict that there will be a clutch of software exporters invading what

used to be the domain of the hardware giants as the country becomes more and

more focused on the global software opportunity. All these companies have come

from different origins and have diverse characteristics and objectives, but one

or two factors are common to all these firms, irrespective of their backgrounds

or operating domains.

First and foremost, most of these companies would have, at some point or the

other been through a period of adversity, either through weak markets or

management transitions. Second, they would all have had strong leaders at

various stages of their progression into the Top 20. And they would all have had

to reinvent themselves at least once in the last ten or more years of their



What are the lessons from this for the Top 20 aspirants that traverse the

Indian IT landscape? One, of course, is the need for strong, professional

leadership. This is essential to build opportunity share in new or emerging

markets, build market share in high-growth markets and even to ensure survival

in periods of downturn like the one software and training industries are going

through today. In a recent discussion that I had with the head of a Top 20 firm,

it was interesting to see the excitement that pervaded his entire entity as he

talked of doubling his market share in a period of industry adversity.

Then there is the clarity of purpose and mission that has driven these

organizations in their formative years and the ability to adapt and change that

makes them successful even today.

After initial achievement comes the greater challenge–to retain the

position earned, consolidate, and grow further. Top 20 CEOs recognize that a

company is only as strong and successful as the last year’s performance. The

biggest impediment to an organization’s future success is sometimes the

exceptional success record in the past, and the organization knows fully well

that it needs to continually reinvent its strategies and renew its capabilities

to succeed on an ongoing basis. This is all the more true of the software sector

where the goal is to achieve a ten-time growth in less than eight years, with

hardly any time to rest on one’s laurels. To succeed, companies also need to

recharge their corporate batteries from time to time, and be ready for their

next drive into the future!


Top 20 through 200: The road ahead

The agenda for the industry is growth, growth and more growth–the Top 20

companies’ revenues broadly represent the progress of the industry in a given

year. Their steady growth also hints at the need for generating a countrywide

movement to ensure that IT becomes an enabling force for the domestic economy

and one of the prime engines for powering the country towards global success.

Such a movement will involve not just 20 companies, but 200 or more energetic

and highly focused organizations, which will build a vibrant and successful

industry in the years to come.

The agenda for exports has already been laid out by the combined energies of

visionaries like the late Dewang Mehta and our very ebullient IT minister Pramod

Mahajan. But now, we need strong industry leadership to turn that agenda into a

real process of achievement. Also, the industry needs to be mapped with various

sectors of opportunity in different geographies. Instead of entering a

debilitating price war with the services industries in Russia, China and

Ireland, the call of the hour is to build a mutually beneficial equation with

them. While this may sound paradoxical in today’s fiercely contested services

space, there is no better way to tap emerging markets like Eastern Europe and

Latin America than by building strategic alliances with the Infys of Russia,

China and Columbia.


The clairvoyant CEOs of our IT organizations will also need to work as

partners with state governments and Old Economy chieftains to increase the

capability of the manufacturing and service sectors in India. The reason why

China poses a biggest threat to India’s dream of global software dominance is

not just the discipline of its knowledge workers but also a vast domestic market

that offers the necessary cushion for its infotech industry as it transforms its

fortunes in the years to come.

The day all of us–CEOs, consultants, software specialists and marketers–start

taking calculated risks, not just 20 but 200 Indian IT companies will rise from

ordinary capability to extraordinary achievement. And then, Indian IT will have

its tryst with the global destiny that is within its reach.

Ganesh Natarajan is deputy chairman

and managing director of Zensar Technologies and the global CEO of Zensar