What Happened, What Didn’t?

By : |July 29, 2005 0



It is stocktaking time once more. What happened during the year-and what did not! DQ once again presents the analysis of an industry, which, over the last few years, has captured the attention of the country-and the world-in a way that few have done. An analysis backed by data and the experiences of many writers and analysts. Spread over four issues and many pages, this will keep you busy for sometime.
In the meantime here is a quick look-not based on data-but on what got noticed and what did not.

The center stage presence of the year award undoubtedly goes to IT enabled services-for being there all the time. Though sometimes for the wrong reasons. From the heady heights of growth and a sustained expansion into new areas, to the anti-offshoring backlash and the security and fraud issues that kept coming like annoying pop ups, this segment saw it all. Hidden behind the umbrella term BPO were many segments-even if their presence remained subservient to the omnipresent call centers. People were jailed and bailed; companies were bought and sold; agents were hired, and left at electronic speeds; the commercial benefits kept the backlash in control and, in general, there was at least one headline per week that emerged. The only thing missing was a Bollywood movie based on this industry though there was a play staged on Broadway.

The older IT services segment graduated to become a character actor. Strong, but somewhat silent. Most happenings were dominated by these, and the smaller players remained conspicuous by their absence. Because of which the depth of this segment remained uncharted. The anti-offshoring movement impacted the industry but did not stop the growth engine.

The domestic segments-hardware and software-remained the side actors. They came in occasionally to give the now well-rehearsed lines of cheaper computers, higher PC penetration, lowering of duties, anti-piracy drives and low margins. There were a few who managed to hang on for more than the mandatory ten second dialogues by trying extra hard. But clearly, it was not their year as public performers. They did their job, they grew, they contributed-and they slept normal hours.

The backstage presence of the year award went to the internet and online activities. There was some noise about broadband here and there, but apart from that all of the actors went incognito. There were many exits and few entries. Those who remained strengthened their positions and some even started making money. Relevant internet- based services became more viable and used-but remained mostly backstage.

Convergence of the IT, telecom and entertainment industries got added to the script at some places. Technologies and devices started becoming converged. But the businesses still remained fairly insulated from each other.

Varying performance levels and conflicting objectives are not really a surprise. The IT industry in India is really many industries rolled into one. Each has its own business imperatives and cycles. Hence it is not possible, nor correct, to try and measure it on common yardsticks, as some attempt. The DQ Top 20 annual survey, therefore, takes a look at all segments individually and avoids the pitfalls that would come if one big common analysis was attempted.

On a personal front, this is the 21st version of this annual survey that I have had the opportunity to be associated with. The DQ and CyberMedia team as usual has worked long and hard at making this happen. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly applaud their efforts.

May God give them more data to analyze.

The author is Editor-in-Chief of CyberMedia, the publishers of Dataquest

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