By Nanda Kumar
In their report on assessment of 50 locations in India suitable for the IT – BPO industry Nasscom has described Bangalore as “a gateway to new global frontiers” and “a harbinger of a new global labour force that works in cyberspace and that, like much of the world’s financial markets, operates beyond the reach of governments”.
I don’t know when, but I envision Kerala IT industry getting there. Getting there, without making the mistakes the present Indian IT hubs did. I am certain IT is best suited for a state like Kerala, which prides itself with abundant talent pool. The reason I believe this is also because IT to a very large extent is non-polluting, and an industry of this nature is what will go hand in hand with our tourism mantra, ensuring we keep our well-earned status ‘God’s own country’ for ever, while making sure there is abundance of employment and prosperity for our densely populated state.
Currently, of the total direct employment of more than two and a half million in the IT-BPO industry, over 90 per cent is captured by the seven leading locations – Bangalore, Mumbai, NCR, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata. Apart from employment (direct and indirect) these cities have realized significant benefits in terms of improved branding and visibility, consumption led economic growth, improvements in social infrastructure, etc.
At the same time, rapid growth has led to these current IT-BPO hubs facing rising real estate costs, increased attrition and saturated infrastructure, forcing companies to look beyond these ‘Leader’ locations. Cochin and Trivandrum are placed in the ‘challengers’ quadrant of the report. While not enviable, this is not a bad position to be in. This essentially means, if we do the right things now, we are among the best placed to tap into the potential of IT and ITES as companies look for newer pastures to set up shops.
Several other locations in the country are looking to realize the gains that have led to the transformation of the aforementioned cities. Kerala’s competition is with cites like Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangalore, Indore, Vishakapatanam, Nagpur, Lucknow, etc. While our talent pool is desirable, infrastructure and approach to its development I must say is lackadaisical. IT, I believe is an industry that only needs robust connectivity in all means, such as information connectivity, road, rail and air, especially, since the government is looking at developing multiple IT hubs across the sate not just one or two cites. Once it is done, the government need not worry about setting up huge concrete buildings for IT companies.
Our developmental plans are short-sighted; we need to have a vision for 100 years and beyond. I am sure a well connected Kerala can match with any other hot IT hub. We as its people are yet to break Kerala’s shackles and make her ‘a Global IT Superpower and a front-runner in the age of Information Revolution’.
About the Author
Nanda Kumar is the Founder President and CEO of SunTec Business Solutions, based in Trivandrum, India. After a five year stint in the Public Sector, he set up this venture. Over the past seventeen years, he has built SunTec into one of the more successful, Enterprise software product companies. Today SunTec has grown to a 400 member organisation with offices in the US, UK, Germany, Singapore and Dubai. Nanda Kumar is an expert in the transaction pricing and billing space.