Yesterday, I received my weekly newsletter from NZTech. It reminded me that Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) are setting up a Business Session including one on one meetings with a Gtech Indian Business Delegation in Auckland on 27 October. If you haven’t come across Gtech before, it is the industry body of IT/ITeS Companies based in Kerala. It’s in the very south of the country.

Whilst most of my recent activity has been focused on Silicon Valley and some upcoming opportunities for NZ tech there, I was interested in the notice. I set up my first Indian ICT venture, HBI Software, back in September 2001 in Bangalore. So I guess I have about 14 years of experience of working out India and have a pretty good understanding of how the sector has developed over the past decade or so.

Speaking at the Nasscom India Leadership Conference, Mumbai, in 2013

Speaking at the Nasscom India Leadership Conference, Mumbai, in 2013

One of the myths that still holds true for many people I know in New Zealand is that India’s ICT strength is its low cost software development environment. In my view, this take completely misses the most significant change in practice over the past decade or so. That change has seen the major Indian software companies’ move right up the value chain. In my view today, the likes of Infosys, Wipro are TCS are up there in terms of competency with the traditional major global consultancies: Accenture, PwC, KPMG et al.

I see this in Silicon Valley. In the US, Wipro for example, has 23 offices. I have been to their Mountain View office many times. Likewise, TCS in Santa Clara. These companies are not there to make up numbers. They have significant Federal, State & private sector clients and are managing the whole back-end project process; right from the top, yep down to those armies of software engineers based back in India.

Three years ago, I was asked to speak at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum in Mumbai. The theme of the presentation was ‘How Innovation will Impact on Outsourcing in India’. I talked about emerging technologies such as text analytics, machine learning and AI and their impact on the traditional data processing sector. I stressed however that whilst emerging technologies such as these would negatively impact on perhaps up to 25% of data entry and data processing jobs, the Indian ICT sector had proved itself to be resilient and capable of positively responding to changing market trends. That remains the case today.

For those New Zealand ICT companies planning to meet the Gtech delegation in Auckland next week, it makes sense to get a better understanding of just how the India ICT sector has evolved over the past few years. I believe it offers great value to Kiwi companies struggling to grow capacity with limited human resource and overseas market access. Indian partners can offer both. My expectation is that there will be cooperation opportunities aplenty to those prepared to take that step.