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April 13, 2007
India vs the IT Incumbents: Who's Winning?
Late last year, when I spent a month in India, one of my goals was to find out the state of play between the Indian tech services upstarts and the Western incumbents. For years, observers of this battle have been talking about the Indians moving upstream into value-added services and the Western outfits setting operations up in India and other low cost countries. The idea was the best companies from both sides would emerge somewhere in the middle. After tons of interviews I concluded that Accenture has done the best job of blending its own capabilities with the best of what the Indians offer. I wrote about it this week in BusinessWeek. Also, there's an online extra about MindTree, an Indian firm that was built from the ground up to bring a consultative approach to IT outsourcing.
One thing I want to make clear is that just because Accenture has come up with the right formula, that doesn't mean it has "beaten" the top Indian firms, such as TCS, Infosys, and Wipro. These companies are the masters at recruiting, training, and deploying armies of Indian engineers, and they're steadily adding higher-order capabilities. There's a huge swath of the IT outsourcing market where clients aren't transforming their businesses--and Accenture's blend of consulting and service delivery isn't required. Plus, the Indians are gaining credibility with their consulting offerings, as well. So I expect the best of the Indian companies to keep growing at a gallop.
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