In this article, I will attempt to dissect the long term strategies adopted by Indian IT Industry and will try to connect the Practical Understanding of Strategy from the dissection with Strategy Lessons taught in the B-School class.
Some theory which will help you understand the article before I begin – A long sustainable growth is a product of long term sustainable strategy adopted by the industry or the company. A sustainable strategy is one which is rare, unimitable or hard/costly to immitate. Strategy adopted by any player depends on its strengths & weakness and the opuurtinities and threats in the industry.
For a long time since inception of Indian IT Industry, Indian IT industry has banked on “Low Cost Strategy” for its growth. “Lost Cost” is not a sustainable strategy as it is not a rare and costly strength to immitate. Russia, China and Malaysia are upcoming low cost centers and pose a great threat to the Indian IT Industry. Hence, there is a need to identify new strategies for growth and some of the leading Indian IT Firms have done so. The strategy is “Product Differentiation”.
In a highly competitive industry like IT industry, firms put efforts to differentiate products and offerings. Big 4 definitely have put special efforts to differentiate products/offerings and to serve niche markets. FOR EXAMPLE : Infosys has strength in BFSI, Satyam is well know for ERP and WIPRO is renowned for telecommunication.
Some of these firms even went ahead and tied their earnings and revenues to non-perishable activities (Tying your revenue to non perishable assests is another strategy which I have learnt in the Strategy Class). Non perishable activity in case of IT industry is support and maintainence for their own products. Indian IT companies have now entered into product development. Once a product is deployed, the firm enjoys long term maintainence and support revenues. Some of the firms that have entered Product development are Infosys-Finacle; TCS-Bancs; iFlex-FlexCube.
In the pursuit of Product Differentiation, IT firms have now ventured into quality service offerings like IT consulting which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40% till 2010, banking on good brand recognition they enjoy among the clients. Wipro Technologies bought U.S. consulting firm NerveWire Inc, Infosys set up its U.S. consulting unit, Satyam lapped up a U.S. consulting firm, Bridge Strategy Group – These are the indicators of the huge potential that Indian IT firms have indentified in product differentiation.
Furthermore, Indian IT Industry are exploring oppurtunities in Domestic sector which is expected to grow at good rates. Supplimenting this is the ability of Indian IT firms to crack into outsourcing averse nations like Denmark, France etc via business offerings like Sub-Contracting, Consolidation and Partner Strategy.
In the view of all this, I believe Indian IT industry has matured and has the ability to adopt new strategies easily and early. Hence, I infer we will observe few more changes in the strategies of Indian IT in the years to come.