India Outsourcing Industry Chief Faces Criminal Prosecution
NASSCOM, which just wrapped up an annual conference that drew thousands of people worldwide to Mumbai,
has been hit with a nasty blow. Its president faces prosecution for allegedly failing to ensure the
safety of a Hewlett-Packard nighttime call-center employee prior to her murder.
Som Mittal, president of NASSCOM (an organization representing India's IT services industry), was
managing director at HP's GlobalSoft unit when a female employee was raped and murdered by a taxi
driver en route from her nighttime shift in Bangalore in 2005. Some of India's call center employees
work night shifts to service U.S. customers during the day.
The Indian state of Kamataka is prosecuting Mittal under a law governing employee safety,
reports, and the Supreme Court rejected his challenge of the charge in a ruling earlier today.
If convicted, Mittal faces a token fine of about $25 and a criminal record, Reuters reports.
This case provides further proof that the practice of employing Indians in nighttime jobs to serve U.S.
customers is a faulty and decaying business model in the broader realm of globalization. There are other
signs: India's workforce increasingly rejects these jobs because--hello?--they want a normal life. And
when an Indian accepts a nighttime job, it's usually only until they find something better, creating
turnover problems for both the services vendors and their clients.
CIOs also are finding fault with the model. Genworth Financial, for example, observed particularly high
attrition rates among nighttime employees of its IT services provider, Genpact. Between 2003 and 2006,
the company launched, "Project Daylight," which called for transitioning the work done in India from 80
percent at night to 85 percent done in that country's daylight hours. In retrospect, "the night shift
was designed for short term cost savings, rather than designing your company to be a truly global business,"
CIO Scott McKay told me in a conversation a few months ago.
India offers a tremendous amount of talent, which is helping to fuel new startups (my colleague Chris Murphy,
who attended NASSCOM last week, has been doing some great reporting on this topic from India). But that
whole model of chipping away at the operations budget by asking Indians to use fake names like John and
Sue and follow customer service scripts at 3 a.m.? It's on its way out, and rightly so. It increasingly
appears to be an ineffective way to save money.
The Curse of Internet Anonymity
Renowned for his radical views of the Internet as a culture
killer, Silicon Valley author, broadcaster, and entrepreneur Andrew Keen
argues that Internet anonymity, which is fast becoming the norm, is a
societal danger, leading to serious, long-term consequences.
Join Us For InformationWeek Live: Report From India
InformationWeek's Chris Murphy is spending two weeks exploring the IT
industry in India, looking at startups, IT in a small village, and of
course, the thriving outsourcing industry. Join us Tuesday at 3 pm
Eastern time for InformationWeek Live, when Chris will be back
in the USA and will share what he's learned with us. Just go to the
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Is Internet Censorship Doomed To Fail?
American companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and others help authoritarian governments, such as China, censor the Internet. The companies' defense: Internet censorship is doomed and bringing the Internet into countries -- even censored -- will hasten the day when those countries are open. But critics say that those arguments are self-serving and just plain wrong.
Commercial Open Source: A Half-Baked Business Model
PacketTrap CEO Steve Goodman struck a nerve with his prediction that commercial open source software companies are doomed to fail. The fact that his controversial position wasn't universally rejected is evidence that questions remain over the commercial open source model.
Satellite Smithereens Preferable To Graveyard Orbit
The US Navy says it is "very confident" it blasted a defective spy satellite to bits with an interceptor missile Wednesday night. Its next order of business, after definitively confirming the strike today or Friday, should be to play up the positive environmental benefits of the mission.
India Outsourcing Industry Chief Faces Criminal ProsecutionNASSCOM, which just wrapped up an annual conference that drew thousands of people worldwide to Mumbai, has been hit with a nasty blow. Its president faces prosecution for allegedly failing to ensure the safety of a Hewlett-Packard nighttime call-center employee prior to her murder.
Report From India: Wipro's U.S. Hiring Plans
Here's an update to Wipro's U.S. hiring plans, which we first reported last August when the Indian IT services company was acquiring U.S.-based datacenter operator Infocrossing. It has at least two new U.S. operations open and two on the drawing boards that, while far from a hiring flood, suggest a subtle strategic difference from other Indian IT services companies.
Catching Up With Zoho
Those of you curious to see how ambitious a Web-based application suite can be while still being built entirely on open standards need look no further than Zoho. The other day I spoke with company evangelist Raju Vegesna about what they've been doing in their ongoing attempt to beat both Microsoft Office and Google Docs at their own games. The short answer: quite a bit.
Report From India: A Web-Based Startup, Employee Head Count: 2
India's IT scene has been defined by its outsourcing giants. Its future will be defined in large part by companies like dhanaX. I visited the microfinancing startup's Bangalore office this week, just days before its planned soft launch. They've spent about $20,000 to get this far. Can two people, in a shared office with the chairs still wrapped in plastic, really pull this off?
Forrester Consulting: Unified Communications Delivers Global Benefits
This Forrester Consulting study shows how Unified Communications
(UC) makes it simpler to contact others over any device in any location,
enhancing business agility, cutting costs, and boosting employee
productivity. Forrester finds that UC is already delivering major savings
for organizations around the world in retail banking, manufacturing and
education. Download the full report for free.
Software as a Service Research Report
No longer a niche software delivery model, software as a service
(SaaS) can help small and midsize companies get access to enteprise-class
software functionality without having to commit enterprise-level capital
resources. Download the full report for free.
The Internet & the Developing World
The evolution of the Internet has been full of surprises –
surprises that have sometimes resulted in radical changes in the
commercial landscape, such as the arrival of Amazon, eBay, Google,
YouTube, and Skype. Could one of the next big surprises turn out to be
linked to developing countries? Read the full report for free from
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