Sunday, November 1, 2009

With Global Mobility of its people, Tata Consultancy to Expand Footprint in Emerging Markets

The recent article and interview with TCS’s new chief N. Chandrasekaranmade for interesting reading. [Software Exporter to Expand Footprint in Emerging Markets]

With revenues of $6 Billion, the largest Indian software services firm is certainly a global player. Mr. Chandrasekaran's comments to WSJ were measured, and to some extent upbeat. However, one question stood out. When asked, "What are the challenges to ramping up hiring in the U.S.?"
he replied:

"Mobility is an issue. If I hire someone in California, and the next project is in North Carolina, I can't really move them. If I send someone from India, they can go to California, and when that's done I'll send them to North Carolina. Also, we want to train people in our methodology. In India, we recruit people and train them. It isn't just about having the correct software coding skills..—I'm sure we could find enough skilled programmers in the U.S."

I addressed the same issue of mobility in my book (Offshoring IT Services) while examining the cultural aspects of Indian software developers and how their ability to be mobile made them attractive in the global marketplace. Mobility of people is a big factor in Globalization of businesses, but wasn’t the flattening of the world supposed to mitigate the need for mobility? I guess it is true to some extent. Case in point the H1-B visa quota for this year, annually capped at 65,000 is not yet exhausted even half-year after the gates were opened. During the last few years, the quota was exhausted in just a few days after the April deadline.

As they embark on expanding the footprint in global markets, I guess the question that. Chandrasekaran and team must be asking themselves: how to motivate their Indian employees to pack up and head to Timbuktu, Mongolia or Siberia when even H1 visas are going begging?