16 February 2008

I’ve spent the past few days in Mumbai, India attending the NASSCOM 2008 India Leadership Forum. The sell-out event was, without question a great success, bringing around 2000 stakeholders from the global outsourcing industry together under one roof for three days.

I have spent much of my time at NASSCOM introducing H&K client ITIDA to analysts and consultants who were attending the event. ITIDA is promoting Egypt as an outsourcing destination as part of Egypt’s ICT Strategy 2007-2010. Discussions at the forum have been overwhelmingly constructive and reaction to the path of progress that Egypt has embarked upon and its stated strategy of partnering with the Indian outsourcing industry was received very positively.

The conference and the trip as a whole has been an eye-opening experience for me on a personal level – seeing this country of such contrasts for the first time and getting a sense of the optimism and ambition that is driving Indian business in the early 21st century. At the Global Leadership Awards ceremony, Shri Praful Patel, Indian Minister of State for Civil Aviation gave several examples of the tremendous leap that Indian companies have made over the past decade. He also observed that India will place aircraft orders of more than $100 billion over the next ten years.

It is undeniable that much remains to be done in order for the wealth created by those businesses to impact the country’s poor meaningfully – the conference was hosted in the lavish Grand Hyatt, from whose windows the widespread poverty within Mumbai is impossible to ignore – but Indian economic success permits development in the wider country.

ITIDA’s spokespeople including its CEO, Dr Hazem Abdelazim, stressed that Egypt is learning from India’s success, particularly the important role that NASSCOM has played in this. They also highlighted that the policies adopted by the Egyptian Government aimed at returning some of the country’s industrial wealth into improving the welfare of the people, particularly through education.

On a slight Web 2.0 tangent (who would have thought it?) I managed to make several new contacts, thanks partly to NASSCOM Connect, which allows registered delegates to contact one another and partly through sheer serendipity. One very charming person I met is Kiruba Shankar who runs social media consultancy Business Blogging Pvt Ltd and who was part of the forum’s blog team. I was very pleased to learn that blogging has taken off in India together with other social media technologies. Indeed over breakfast today I learned that the Times Of India reckons it’s India’s buzziest media brand and I’ve watched numerous TV ads proclaiming that TOI’s email/SMS package is the most advanced available.

*Full disclaimer: NASSCOM and ITIDA are both clients of H&K 

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