In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
- Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt
(Source – Quora)
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
- Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt
(Source – Quora)
The business with IT services in India is great. The fact that close to 25% of exports in India are from this very Industry matters a lot. This impact of the IT services sector in India grew to 7% of the GDP in 2008, and has been growing ever since. But has it been productive enough?
About a month ago, while early at work one of my colleagues brought this issue. The kind of revenue Infosys and TCS bring in. Apparently TCS had reported a $10 billion revenue which brought big smiles across the Indian IT services industry. Pretty impressive, yes! But we still do not sum up to the kind of productivity the ‘valley’ in U.S flaunts.
I am not a professional at calculating productivity or anything, but here’s a layman’s approach at it. As simple as it could get, I considered just a set of 2 numbers from each company’s Wikipedia page.
1. Annual Revenue
2. Number of Employees
That is straight math. My attempt to get – Revenue per Employee. Now before we proceed, this is my very own layman’s perspective. I liked the idea of doing this math and looking at the results. These do not indicate any hard conclusions. That made clear, here’s a Google Spreadsheet link.
Note that companies like Accenture, though in the Service sector show exceptional results. Companies headquartered in India have failed to do so. The kind of talent being brewed in India and the markets we target are a cause of worry. We have very few players in niche markets that could pay more in the long term. We might be geographically challenged, but we could do a lot more with the talent we have.
I’m no pro at finance or economy, just that I sense a room for improvement and find very few reasons to be happy with the Indian IT business. One reason could be the focus on services. Services are basically risk free. There is a sure shot revenue; so most companies (even startups) do not risk getting into the innovation business. This kills the ecosystem. We won’t be self-sufficient in the long run without a good product ecosystem. On the same note, Services are not as productive on the revenue/employee chart as well. This is quite clear from the sheet. Numbers for product oriented companies are at least twice as that of services. Services cannot be ignored, but the Innovation sector should not be ignored either.
While I was drafting this article, I came across this post from PuneTech that does a good job at studying the Indian IT scenario as well. @akkiman (Akshay Damle) points precise factors that affect Indian IT. The Indian talent pool and its manufacturing unit (Universities) is to blame. We have good amount of talent, but far few risk takers. Students in India do not aspire to work on break-through technologies, as much as they do aspire to work in any company that can be classified as an MNC. I have personally met folks who asked me to suggest skillsets that create immediate entry points in these so called MNCs. That’s the sad part of the story. The talent pool that sticks to India is basically looking for a 9-5 (read 11-8) job, that provides enough security to obtain credit cards and housing loans.
For India to stay competitive, it has to focus on
1. Talent pool
Students should be made responsible to keep themselves updated. I believe Universities can do less in these terms, but they can cut some slack for students to go outside and get in touch with what matters most.
The Indian Infrastructure for IT should be more habitable. One that encourages research and innovation. Fab-labs are a must. Technology is pacing in terms of Hardware. Products fabricated within the borders will promote innovation at a higher scale due to lower costs of production.
Businesses should understand the ROI in terms of productivity – and not just capital. Indians often ignore the fact that effort put in saving a penny if focused on the right task could yield 10x. Care for employees. A good employee/employer relationship goes a long way in terms of productivity. Hold a workshop for freshers on expense management, tax savings, etc. Also, an IT company, compelling its employees to fill excel sheets for an hour, could definitely be more efficient by purchasing a good ERP solution for a few grands. Spend to make their lives easier, instead of treating them as just “resources”.
There’s more that should be done, but I’d say – these 3 are fair to being with.
You have to agree to the fact that – technology has been penetrating our day to day lives at unbelievable speeds. The moment we get used to an intrusion on one end of our social space (real social – not facebook/twitter social), another frontier of it seems to have faced a breach. There is an intense competition between brands to get their products on the top shelf of our lives.
Companies constantly expand their boundaries, create new markets with technologies that promise to power our lives with ease of communication, easy creation of data, seamless access to the same data, and much more. Google Glass – is a product from one of these expansions. A company dominant in the internet space, created a strong hold on the Mobile market and now breaching the not-so-existent market of “Always connected” devices. Google Glass is a giant leap. Not so much from a technology perspective as much as the experience. Experience for both – the user, and the people around the user.
There has been a long debate over how Google Glass will be received; if it will ever fit into our daily social interactions, or will it simply reflect as just another too ahead of it’s time technology. I believe that Google Glass will slowly blend into our society, as a general tool of convenience (or luxury) with just the right kind of execution. If Google Glass does succeed – it wont be the first one of its kind.
We have obviously seen atleast one such technology that could make one look dorky to the untrained eye. Glass shall blend smoothly in our daily lives, provided that it makes a debut in the market with a sufficiently wide customer base. It has be there around us enough for us to adjust to it quickly.
“If an untrained eye, spots a person wearing Google Glass – and that person remains to be the only one wearing Glass around for more than a week or two, he is subject to being viewed as a dork.”
The argument around Glass, was that it gave out a negative impression about the user. People, not being used to seeing a person with a miniature screen hovering over his face, are prone to judge. But this is not the first wearable technology we have come across. We have easily accepted headphones as wearable devices. Bluetooth headsets have penetrated our social interactions well enough. The dork factor on a bluetooth headset is debatable, but they have found their own place, and can definitely not be termed as a failure. For people who compare Segways and Google Glass; there is not valid argument here. Segways have a far less utility/dork-factor ratio than what Glass does. I’ll leave the the explanation of Segways to @paulg; he has done it better – Paul Graham on why Segways didn’t make it big.
Headphones, or Bluetooth headsets both were found around the market for a price payable by most. This affects the acceptance a lot. You get to see it all around you – and you tend to accept it, because everyone agrees with it. Once they become a normal sight, people barely notice it. In layman’s terms – the first kid to wear prescription glasses at school usually appears to be odd to the peers (Don’t judge me – I have had prescription glasses since early in school), and possibly subjected to bullying. As more of them come in, it becomes a regular sight and you barely notice it. My analogy might not perfectly fit in, but it runs close to the case here.
To sum it up, what matters is – how frequently will you see a person wearing Glass around you? If people around you don’t get a sufficient enough dose of
Glassware Glasswear you might risk being framed as a dork. In that case, you might want to move to a Glass friendly neighborhood.
Today, Microsoft announced the Windows Phone 8 and its features at a Windows Phone Developer Summit in San Francisco which is due to launch this fall. The much awaited update to the Windows Phone does bring in some really cool features.
To being with, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 come together now – a shared core! The Windows Kernel is being used by 1.3 billion people, while the shared kernel will help Windows 8 developers port their apps to Windows Phone easily. There are 8 basic feature updates with Windows Phone 8 – let me sum it up in brief.
1. Latest and Greatest Hardware
WP8 will have 3 screen resolutions. So along with 800×480, we’ll now have 1280×768 and 1280×720 as well. Removable microSD cards will be supported. Even though Windows Phone 7 worked great on a single core processor, Windows Phone 8 will be shipped on multi-core devices to take advantage of superior hardware and quality.
2. Internet Explorer 10
IE10 will built in with Windows Phone 8. So HTML developers can code once and let it work the same on the PC, Tablet and Phone. Classic!
3. Native Code support
They had this one coming. It was pretty difficult to convince game developers on other platforms to get their game on WP for one big reason. A major shift in technology. XNA. Native Code support will let game developers adopt to the platform easily, based on DirectX. Same game for Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
4. Better sharing with NFC
NFC on Windows Phone – they call it Tap + Share. This feature is integrated deep into the OS such that it allows transferring app sessions from one phone to another. Aimed at Android, and Bulls-eye!
5. The complete Wallet Experience
Windows Phone wallet aims to take at the Passbook app in iOS6. Holds Credit/Debit card details, Loyalty and Membership cards, Saved details. Also supports NFC – “Tap to Pay”. Partnering with Telecomms around the globe can make wallet an elite application on Windows Phone.
6. Nokia Maps with Windows Phone 8
Nokia Maps technologies will be brought to Windows Phone. This will make the map business more competitive with a recent update on iOS with its own versions on Maps.
7. Enterprise Ready!
This is very Microsoft is always interested. The Enterprise market – and for good reasons, this market does love it back. Encryption, Secure Boot and Device management made available to Microsoft IT admin. Big thing – Sharepoint servers will also be included in the enterprise system.
8. The Start Screen
Adds customizable tile sizes. Tiles, which define you and you phone can now be customized to a newer level.
You can view the whole keynote here
And now, the bitter part – Windows Phone 8 won’t be coming to old devices. There is not upgrade path to Windows Phone 8! Bummer. I literally imagined a bunch of Nokia Lumia 900 owners hurl their devices in the air. I’m certain, that the few who have bought a device in the last 30 days will opt for a money-back. I’d think otherwise, because there’s more to the news. Current devices will get the new Start screen update with Windows Phone 7.8. The current marketplace has 100k apps, and the count still be rising and developers will ship apps for WP7 for a reasonable period even after WP8 launch because of the large user base, and legacy support on WP7. Considering the stats, you can still own a Windows Phone 7 for atleast 8 months from now.
People rant about WP8 not coming to old devices – I’d say, it was inevitable. The hardware requirements are too demanding for the older phones. For now WP8 seems promising – once again, the execution of the device matters.
All in all – too soon to predict the outcomes before we see the devices. Windows 8 will be launched late in August, we can expect Windows Phone 8 by November. <Fingers Crossed>
I had subconsciously made it a point to follow the Microsoft Press Conference on Monday. At 4:30am (India Time) I instinctively woke up to check my twitter timeline, to find a link to the live blog at Engadget. Much to my amusement, the conference was just about to begin – so I tuned in.
What I saw next, was eventually lead by a sigh of relief and satisfaction in the foreground, yet a truck load of excitement in the back of my brain. Surface is a major leap for Microsoft Windows. A lot bigger than the transition from Windows Mobile 6.0 to Windows Phone 7. Windows 8 and its revolutionary Metro UI were game changing already. The OS has the “touch interface” in its DNA. But with Surface, it becomes a whole new story.
Microsoft’s Windows lies at the heart of Microsoft’s product ecosystem. The evolution in computing devices originating from a certain Cupertino campus did eat a huge chunk out of the PC market, and open new markets where Microsoft had tried it’s hands earlier in 2001 with the Microsoft Tablet PC range. Microsoft was out of the big picture for a long time, taking only a few steps in with the whole new Windows Phone in Oct 2010. But that still kept Microsoft out of the tablet business. Especially when every other OEM is trying to get their share of the Tablet market, some with very weird approaches - Rise of the Phablet. Microsoft entering the tablet market was inevitable and apparent with its Windows 8 operating system being targeted to low end devices and extended support for ARM. But that was still not game changing. What is gaming changing is a signature device running the Windows 8 operating system.
With Surface, Microsoft has its own hardware presence in the tablet arena and the ability to provide the richest Windows 8 experience by gracefully integrating the hardware features in the OS. After looking at Surface, I won’t hesitate to say that Microsoft has lived up to its potential – The war is back on! All thanks to the superior design considerations Microsoft has made with Surface. Two of the design features that were highlighted during the press conference set Surface apart from its competitors.
The moment I think of a tablet use-case, the first thing to strike out is anything that involves frequent keystrokes. I can’t picture myself typing out a whole blog post while tapping on a glass. It’s just not as comfortable as a keyboard, where my fingers can feel the buttons and instinctively carry on typing. Surface takes care of this issue – The Touch Cover is plain Awesome! A 3mm multi-touch keyboard doesn’t add as much weight, as value to the device. Moreover the usage of a 0.7mm flap behind the device (the stand), along with the touch cover changes the whole tablet experience providing the comfort of a laptop on a light weight tablet. These design consideration will surely create a Win! Win! situation for Microsoft. Though I am sure independent vendors will be shipping touch-cover like add-ons for iPad very soon – it meshes better/naturally with the Surface!
Surface will be available in the market running Window RT (the ARM based OS) and Windows 8 Professional (x86 – Intel’s 3rd Gen core i5 processor). So Surface is not just a family of light weight and comfortable tablets, but is also powered to high end configurations of a PC. This again – is game changing. Windows has close to 90% of the global PC market share, while Windows 7 alone has 49% of the global market share. Will all these preps in Microsoft’s arsenal Windows 8, along with soon to be announced Windows Phone 8 seems to be strong contender to the current competition.
Microsoft still hasn’t announced the prices for Surface – which will be a major factor affecting the sales. Fingers crossed!
Finally, I manage to chip out sometime to write a post up here. Looking at the trends of this week, one couldn’t be foolish enough to miss the hype over Google+.
If you preferred to stay in the deep dark caves of Himalayas, heads buried deep under the snow for last two days, then you might not have a clue. Google+ is Google’s perspective of how a social networking service should be like. Rather, its an implementation of how Google feels social networks should be like.
The news about Google building its own Social Networking service had been doing the rounds since last December, then code-named as Emerald Sea, further known as Google+1. Being one of the Google enthusiasts, I was really anxious about how Google’s view of a social network would be like. Google’s previous attempts to dominate communication and social streams ended in disappointment with Wave and Buzz. I really hoped Wave would do better, but apparently the Internet is a composition of muggles too (anything less than a geek) who’d bluntly ignore a new communication protocol, but I agree – Wave was a tool, too early of its time. Now that has passed. Google+ is the present. It has been a few days since the Google+ Field Trial began. And this is the right time to ‘judge’ it. Will Google+ make a difference? Is it something Facebook should be worried about?
By now, you have already heard what Circles, Sparks and Hangouts are. So what’s different?
Assuming that Google+ has had its huge share of early adopters and field trail users, Google surely can make a huge impact on the social graph with the help of organized Circles. People will share online, more often when completely aware of the Circles exposed to the post. But, there exists a hidden condition in here. “If and only if users organize their Circles”.
I personally spend a lot of time organizing my social network, grouping people according the nature of relationship we maintain. I like to keep my friend list organized.I already have 8 circles for 49 people. But not everyone does. Not everyone believes in investing time to group their social circles. Success of Circles totally depends on how well Google convinces users to create them.
On the other hand, Hangouts is a pretty convincing feature. I have read people quote it as a “Skype Killer”. I don’t see that happening so soon, but it could drive considerable traffic to Google’s social product.
But, what drives the most traffic on any social network is the activity. A social media service should be active to generate reactive content. This goes in full circles. So far my Google+ stream is highly active (possible due to users like Robert Scoble and Vic Gundotra). But, once again, what drives reactive content is notifications. Google+ surely has a huge plus side for this one. Google+ notifications show up on the top navigation bar at Google.com and many other Google services like Gmail.com.
Also, anyone having a Google account can share on Google+ using this same navigation bar. So, no one having a Google account misses any action on Google+ without even accessing it.
It is pretty obvious that Google is taking Google+ seriously. The black navigation bar seems specially designed to improve the visibility of the red notification icons. Google+ layouts implemented on major Google services like Gmail and Calendar indicate that Google does not want to see this one go down.
Google+ has had a serious impact among some really influential people on the web. Mark Zuckerberg (CEO Facebook) and Tom Anderson (Founder of MySpace) showed their presence on Google’s new platform. Tom Anderson even did a positive post about Google+. Recently Vic Gundotra’s post welcomed Taylor Swift on board. It would be fair enough to say that Google+ is growing at a steady speed. But ultimately its the curve of growth that matters.
Facebook on the other hand seems to have taken Google+ way too seriously. Some hasty invites were shipped out for a conference at Seattle possibly announcing integration of Skype services in Facebook. I don’t know if Google+ will be a Facebook killer, but it surely is going to eat some of it.
For the rest, its too soon to say – so lets wait and watch!