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Can Indian IT Ever Productize?

Parag Agarwal instantaneously made to the IT celebrity list when he was named on Monday, 29th Nov 2021 as the new Twitter CEO, at 37 years of age. There has been a big enough list of Indian Americans who have  been heading multinational IT companies impacting globally, nearly the whole mankind, think of Microsoft and Google to start with. Indians have been showing the way, as to what it means to be the final tech leader, in product companies having a variety of products. How are products developed? Products which have been beyond our comprehension. The commercialization of products at a global level on a variety of business models and finally gaining the confidence of the customers in a rock-solid way. The customers remain perennially with these companies.

The Indian IT companies came on to the scene nearly the same time, think of the birth of Microsoft, Google and Amazon and then you would realize what journey they have traversed in the very same years. Starting from very nascent products they have become IT banyan trees covering the whole world. Cloud to the last mile virtual and many times even in the real physical world, they control all that they can see. That is what tech leadership is all about. Where have we reached in the same number of years? Have we ever thought about why we went into a trajectory so different from what Silicon Valley and the US took? Aping the successful has been human nature, then how did we completely miss out on it.

Tech entrepreneurship is managing uncertainty with the products and tools you create. Risk is inherent in this nature of business but the results outweigh the risks and so the world is still mad for it. We went to the call center, the back office of the world, managed services and what not. Effort, cost and annual maintenance formula. These IT services are provided all across the globe but we decided to restrict only to this. What it finally means is body shopping on a colocation basis or from a remote location? Finacle remained an exception till the time others gave it a run for the money rather than becoming the norm. Even the ones where these companies worked on ERP or other product related projects for individual customers could not be transformed into regular products even for the Indian market.

We have an English speaking population who could understand the world with ease and a pool of very good engineers, a bunch out of the same group have been proving their talent across the globe, with commendable success. The requirement was there in every single area, opportunities of a nature, once in lifetime ones. China could create product after product. Our market itself could have been enough for Indian product based companies to stand on their own feet and be reckoned globally. China has proved it. The urge for small gains, might be, spoilt the party, nobody was ready to go for the big kill. Even when funds for product development were a non-issue, we still decided against it. The tech leadership has erred somewhere in a big way and we are left with only talking about their laurels. Can the change happen now?


Sanjay Sahay

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