Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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3/29/2005
04:01 PM
Paul McDougall
Paul McDougall
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Starship Enterprise Needs To Outsource IT

A business trend has really taken hold when references to it resonate not only in the corporate world but also in popular culture. We've seen that previously with the notions of Megatrends, Tipping Points, the Peter Principle, and the like. Now, it seems, outsourcing is the latest business concept to work it

A business trend has really taken hold when references to it resonate not only in the corporate world but also in popular culture. We've seen that previously with the notions of Megatrends, Tipping Points, the Peter Principle, and the like. Now, it seems, outsourcing is the latest business concept to work its way into mainstream thought.Over the weekend, I took in the BBC's "The Kumars At No. 42"--a hilarious sitcom/talk-show hybrid featuring an extended Indian family that has immigrated to London. To help pay the bills, these fictional Kumars, incongruously, host a chat show from a television studio they've bolted onto their modest home in Wembley. Real guest stars appear as themselves.

Actor Patrick Stewart was in the hot seat as I watched on Sunday. Despite Stewart's attempts to move the conversation toward his theatrical career, the Kumars mostly wanted to know about Star Trek." At one point, Grandma Kumar pressed Stewart on why there were no Indians aboard the Starship Enterprise. "Didn't you need IT support?" asked the grandmother.

This drew a big, knowing laugh from the studio audience (and myself), and that indicates the extent to which Indians are now ensconced in the popular consciousness as the world's computer technicians. That's a plus for India--think of it as a form of "national branding." If even casual observers think India when they think IT, then the country has successfully positioned itself as a mainstream, albeit specialized, player in the world economy rather than just another exotic outsourcing destination.

That's good news not just for India but for anyone interested in peace and global stability. Prosperity, wealth, and good jobs cannot be confined to the United States and other Western countries if we expect the rest of the world to play its part in the eradication of global terror and the maintenance of reliable security and economic networks. It seems India Inc. still has a bit of marketing work to do, however. Apparently, its message hasn't yet reached the HR department at the United Federation of Planets. Are you listening, Capt. Picard?

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