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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Indians must upgrade to stay on top of BPO heap

Arun Kumar, PTI   June 13, 2005
First Published: 22:35 IST(13/6/2005) | Last Updated: 22:35 IST(13/6/2005)

What are you planning to do?
Currently, I have eight options on hand which are little more than concrete. Some of them could see me functioning in an advisory capacity, while others are new ideas which require my attention. In the next 46 weeks, I am expecting to settle with 2-3 worthwhile options where I could make a fresh start.

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Which means that you are going to take the plunge in 2-3 ventures simultaneously?
It is slightly premature. It all depends what level of engagement each of these ventures require. Some of these are existing companies where they need my guidance and assistance. In one case, there is a proposal (just in a formative stage) which at first glance excited me. It requires some more due diligence. Once it crosses that filter, I would be in a position to take a final plunge. And, in strict terms, they are not in the BPO segment. But, yes, there is an umbilical cord which connects it with the BPO sector.

What makes you take up start-ups after start-up?
Certainly not wealth. Wealth comes automatically. It was a fire within me that wanted me to create an image that demonstrates that an Indian does not necessarily need to leave his own shores. They can afford to work in an international environment. I never draw any roadmap. I just slog to reach the objective, which may sound impossible. India's BPO industry has around 3 per cent of the global market share, but we are witnessing some kind of reversal.

Why and where are we missing out?
Let me tell you a personal story. I went on holiday with my family to China in April. It has changed my vision. Their thinking horizon is 5-10 years. Against that we work on a daily basis. I became so passionate about what I saw that in the middle of my holiday I wrote to the NASSCOM president offering my personal time in whatever they want to do to build a strong and robust domestic industry. This nation has given me everything, now it is my turn to repay. I am available to contribute.

Take a simple example. Everyone knows that the financial BPO market is worth around $5 billion which is primarily catering to the US market. But not a single institute in the country including the Institute of chartered accountants of India does a crash cross on US GAAP. We don't have a single qualified professional in that space. This raises a basic question of how to leverage your domain expertise in the financial market.

According to you, what should the country do to dominate the BPO space?Look at China, in certain sectors, the global giants do not look at any other option. They simply outsource only from China because of price and quality advantages. The biggest plus for India is its human resources and the domain knowledge. But we have to keep pace with the times. It is a dynamic world and unless you upgrade your skill sets which people are willing to do, you will be left out or someone will catch up with you. By up gradation you can increase the gap and automatically become a favourite destination for the global multinational.


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