Indian IT stands up to Sandy

  • downed tree

    Workers clear a downed tree blocking East 96th street in Central Park the morning after Hurricane Sandy in New York City. AFP Photo

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    Waves pound a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Erie near Cleveland. AP Photo

  • John B Caddell

    A 168-foot water tanker, the John B Caddell, sits on the shore where it ran aground on Front Street in the Stapleton neighborhood of New ...

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    Rescue workers use a hovercraft to rescue a wheelchair-bound resident from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey. Reuters Photo

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    Esperanza Medina (L) is taken from a rescue boat along with pets in Little Ferry in the wake of superstorm Sandy, New Jersey. AP Photo

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    A parking lot full of yellow cabs is flooded as a result of superstorm Sandy in Hoboken, New Jersey. AP Photo

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    Storm surf kicked up by the high winds from superstorm Sandy break onto homes in Southampton, New York. Reuters photo

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    A man drives his convertable with the hood down through Times Square during superstorm Sandy in New York. Reuters photo

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    Many vehicles are submerged on 14th Street near the Consolidated Edison power plant in New York. AP photo

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    A view of a building in Manhattan's East Village hit by blackouts due to a power outage from rising waters as superstorm Sandy makes its approach ...

Superstorm Sandy has ravaged the eastern coast of the United States, including its financial centre New York, hurting the biggest market segment of the country's information technology industry, but floods and power outages have not dampened the software army's spirits - thanks to the very technology they specialise in.

Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Cognizant and HCL Tech, which employ thousands of workers on client sites in the east coast, are shifting their work to relatively calmer locales, made possible by broadband linkages and "cloud computing" that make geography irrelevant in many instances, although servers were down in many New York establishments.

Firms in the $70 billion (Rs. 377,700 crore) IT industry are helping maintain business continuity for their clients while ensuring employee safety by allowing their workers to work from home, though client meetings are bound to be affected by disrupted flights and flooded office districts.

"We are also taking necessary measures to provide remote assistance to our clients to support potential production issues in the event of power outages," said a spokesperson of Bangalore-based Infosys.

TCS and HCL Tech also said they had activated business continuity procedures. Cognizant said two of its east coast offices were shut down.

The US accounts for over 60% of the country's IT export revenues and the east coast is home to some of the major banking, financial, insurance and healthcare firms that outsource services deals to Indian firms.

IT firms are still tightlipped on the financial impact of the hurricane, but expect only a short-term hiccup. "I do not think there are concerns (at the moment) about an impact on a client company's business plans or it's IT budget," said Ameet Nivsarkar, vice-president at industry association Nasscom.


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