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It?s a new year with new opportunities!

Nilekani points out that 80% of world?s cranes are in China, a new crop of programmers is emerging in China and millions of people are getting on-line in Brazil, writes Ganesh Natarajan.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2007 20:12 IST

There’s a new marketplace emerging almost unnoticed even as the country and the world gets polarised over the United Sates' summary trial and hanging of Saddam Hussein.

While the US flaunts its burgeoning fiscal deficit and gross consumer spending as a gift to the export economies of China, the action is slowly but surely shifting to the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations.

Nandan Nilekani - the current poster boy of India’s IT sector points out that 80 per cent of the world’s cranes are in China, a new crop of programmers is emerging in China and millions of people are getting on-line in Brazil. Are Indian firms looking to these countries as future markets and for joint venture possibilities?

One could ask whether the IT and BPO exports industry which is all set to scale from just over $17 billion (Rs 76,500 crore) last year to an estimated $24 billion this year even needs to worry about new vistas when the outsourcing juggernaut seems to be rolling on and even gathering speed and momentum in the western world.

But it is these new opportunities that can lead to a reincarnation of the industry and the creation of a new sigmoid even as the old format of outsourcing begins to flatten out. The Economist talks about the new acceptance of India as a product engineering hub as one of the key inflection points of the last year.

Couple that with the huge opportunity in unrelated spaces like engineering services , business intelligence and data warehousing, content and collaboration management, knowledge process outsourcing and embedded software development and the vision of even a trillion dollar industry transforming the landscape of this country in the next couple of decades may not be a pipe dream !

The recent innovation showcases conducted by NASSCOM in Bangalore and Hyderabad showed that the mood in the industry is clearly in favour of new areas. When companies of the ilk of TCS and Wipro, WNS and Genpact, Intel and HP and scores of others walk the innovation ramp, it is obvious that is not just unknown names like Ittiam and Strand that need innovation to succeed.

However, the real challenge for the industry is to absorb and practice the innovation model recommended by Harvard Business School guru Michael Tushman, who argues that successful companies should continue to exploit their core success model while investing in exploration areas to build early share of new opportunities.

His premise is that only this ambidextrous approach will enable operating leverage between the successful status quo and the innovative future business and the time to liberate innovative businesses is only when they mature enough to thrive independently. Will the other Harvard guru Clay Christensen agree? Maybe the Indian knowledge industry will roll the dice!

Email Dr Ganesh Natarajan: ganeshaa@zensar.com

Dr Ganesh Natarajan is Chairman of the NASSCOM Innovation Forum and Deputy Chairman and MD of Zensar Technologies.