Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sudhakar Talks about the Third Wave


shriniwas wani said...

What do u think about future technologies in IT companies ?

Sudhakar Ram said...

Dear Shriniwas,

This is a very broad question and I could probably answer it better if you are more specific. If your question is whether IT services companies should invest in developing capabilities around new technologies to get to Wave 3, the answer is absolutely.

Wave 3 companies are more likely to be technology thought leaders who can guide their customers on leveraging new technology for gaining strategic advantage.

Vishal said...

Hello Sudhakar,

I’ve two questions. First, what impact does the recent trend in reverse brain drain can have on moving towards third wave sooner? Second, is there any negative impact of high turnovers for IT companies in India?

Proud Alumni Vishal Baijal

Sudhakar Ram said...

If by reverse brain drain, you mean the thousands of Indians from the US moving back to India, it will have a very positive effect on Wave 3 companies – since these professionals can bring the US business understanding, work culture and domain expertise to help Indian companies deliver strategic programs.

As regards turnover, it definitely impacts companies in a negative way. Wave 3 engagements require much more than mere skills, it requires expertise that can only be built with deep experience in a specific area. Unfortunately, many youngsters in the IT field do not realize that technical skills by themselves are inadequate to grow in terms of capability and contribution. One needs to develop a good understanding of the business context and how IT can enable companies to differentiate and grow.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sudhakar,

Let me first congratulate you on bringing up this innovative method of people and ideas networking. It will surely help in bringing isolated experts into the main stream of ideation towards a stronger Indian IT industry.

As I infer from your posts, the 4 key areas we are looking at are:-
1. Managed Services
2. Products
3. Business Process management
4. Process and systems integration

However, my main concern, as far as I perceive, is resource capabilities. What I mean by this is that though we have the skills, we still lag behind in leadership ability. By this, I mean, the ability to take the bull by the horn and forge ahead to drive technology and not be driven. A key area which I would like to add to the third wave is "empowered man power". What this implies is the development of present and future leaders who have the vision and courage (along with the requisite skills) to help evolve the technology independent of the key driving forces around the world. We have low-cost workforce, we have skilled work-force; what we donot have is a roadmap to utilize and empower them to take the lead. We are still following what business needs. However, if we look carefully, today IT is actually defining many aspects of the business. We need to move towards the 'defining' thought rather than the 'use what is defined' thinking.

Please let me know your views.

Thanks, Kunal.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sudhakar

It’s a fact that new technologies will be one of the pillars for the "Third wave".
But we need to really think whether Indian IT company’s have real capability in this arena.

Majority of Indian companies are service oriented and most of the time these services are based on a relatively old technology. So services companies are comparatively less equipped for Third wave as they don't have as much domain and technical exposure as solution oriented companies.

Rest of the companies claiming themselves as solution providers, are not in a very exciting position too.

If you see Indian IT companies in a technology perspective, majority of them are technology consumers... Not providers/leaders. I mean we just use the technology to either service existing solutions or to develop new solutions. So when a new technology comes up, these companies will have to develop that skill set in its resource pool, either through recruitment or through training. So the scenario is like, we have domain expertise, but need new technical expertise.

Companies which are actually driving the technology (For example IBM, Sun, Microsoft, BEA etc) don’t need to worry about the technical pool as they are the originators of new technology. So if they want to ride the third wave, they just need to build the domain expertise and they can do it relatively much easier than what an Indian company can do. In short, the business rules do not change as frequent as technology does. So once a company developed good domain expertise pools, the maintenance and upgrading of the same is less cumbersome than developing expertise in new technology. Also these companies can afford the high cost of hiring domain experts.

A simple example of this is, BEA who is/was a leader in the Application Server/Middleware technology market, now offers end to end solutions. What they do is, hire the domain experts and use their technical expertise to provide end to end solutions.

Moreover the established and well known brands like BEA, IBM etc can convince any customer much easier than an unknown mid-range Indian company.

The services companies may present a better job in a long run, using of the power of money they have.

So the middle tier companies they bank on solution oriented approach is going to get crushed in the Third Wave. They don't have both money and technology. In short if a Third Wave comes, it will be like a TSUNAMI for mid-ranged companies.


Rajiv Desai said...


Congrats for the blog. It was awaited since long and finally its there. The thing I liked was that it's not part of Masteknet and hence I guess everyone will be able to exchange views and ideas with you and vice versa.

One request is please do update and answer queries at regular intervals.

Also it would be great if people, especially Mastekeers, come to know more about you on the personal front via this your interests, hobbies, etc..

All the best.

Rajiv Desai.

Prashant Jalasutram said...


Really very happy to know more about your blog and your views on the current IT trends.

I strongly feel Indian Companies should invest more in R&D section and see that quality of education improves further in india as discussed in this article.

Prashant Jalasutram

Sudhakar Ram said...


You are absolutely right. What we need is a critical mass of people (around 5% to 10% of our based of IT professionals) who can demonstrate though leadership and be able to set the agenda and drive outcomes rather than waiting for customers to do. However, this requires deep understanding of business context and strategic drivers (in a B to B situation) and / or a pulse of people (in a B to C situation). We need develop our talent pool in this realm for Third Wave to be a real wave rather than a set of isolated firms doing something.

Sam said...

Being a relative newbie in this IT industry, I have often wondered as to why the Indian companies tend to be more of service oriented rather than product oriented?
May be the reason is simple enough but it eludes me.

thiru said...

Hello Ram,

Thank you for a wonderful message. I agree with your message, but my question is

What is the expectation from a professional who is working in IT Company to achieve the Third wave goals?

For an instance, banking solutions we have so many talents from India who are providing complete solutions. Are we not giving complete solutions?

Thank you,

Sudhakar Ram said...


You can classify technology in two broad categories – core technologies and applications. This is similar to fundamental research and applied research. While these distinctions are not water-tight, what you say is truer with respect to core technologies rather than innovative applications of technology. Let us learn to walk before we run. If we can come up with innovative applications of technology in business or with consumers and develop our capabilities there, we will slowly gain the maturity to work at a more fundamental level, in terms of technology.

As an example, I remember we were at a similar cross road as a country in the early 90’s – whether to focus at the Semi Conductor level, build hardware or focus in software. Unlike other countries in SE Asia which focused on setting up fabs and chip manufacturing facilities, we, as a country, veered towards software services. This created a vibrant growth in services arena. Moving to generating IP in applications of technology will be n easier transition for us than moving into fundamental research right now. Over time, as we become successful and as India and China become large markets, we will be better equipped to make the transition to a core technology level.

Sudhakar Ram said...


Thanks for your support. I will update these blogs regularly. However, these blogs will remain focused on industry issues rather than my personal interests.

Sudhakar Ram said...


I could’t agree more. We definitely need better training. However, we need as much of training in business and application of technology as in pure technology related subjects.

Sudhakar Ram said...


Industry evolution follows some natural patterns, most if the time. Any developing country, addressing the needs of the developed countries, starts of as a component supplier, gains the trust and confidence to be complete OM suppliers before being able to launch brands of their own. In the IT industry, we have had a similar evolution In the eighties and early nineties, we gained customers due to the quality of our people through staff augmentation. This was our version of being component suppliers. Later, on the back of Y2K, we became a good destination for services – offshore programming delivered under client design and oversight. We no want to become a large solutions provider.

Having attempted to build products for global markets in the early 90’s, I can personally vouch for the fact that it does not pay to be too far ahead of the market at any time. The time is now right for IP based solutions out of India and a number of firms should come up to address this opportunity.

Sudhakar Ram said...


Any large solutions implementation program has a diverse set of skill requirements - SME’s, business analysts, solutions architects, technical architects, project managers, program managers, documentation specialists, training and change management specialists – to name a few. We need professionals who gain depth of expertise and become Guru’s in these several areas. We also need some generalists who can work across these fields to integrate different perspectives. We need the ability to team up with consortium partners, customer team members and end users to deliver the expected outcome in a predictable time and cost. I don’t think many Indian companies have defined their role as such or equipped themselves to deliver a complete end-to-end engagement.

Vishal said...

Hello Sudhakar,

Thank you for answering my earlier question… This is a very broad question: Can you highlight few major political, social / cultural and economic issues, which can negatively impact the India’s march towards 3rd wave in next 3 – 5 years. I feel this can provide the clear high level understanding of what are the key challenges and as a leader what I need to concentrate on.

Again proud Alumni Vishal Baijal

Sam said...

From what I understood it is NOW that Indian IT companies should ideally foray into the product segment based on the brand value that they've created over the years.
However, given the fact for nearly two decades now (probably more) India has been a service provider, how difficult is this journey going to be?
Again, how are things going to be changed internally to bring about this change?

Sudhakar Ram said...


Any shift at an industry level happens with a lot of new players entering the field along with some of the existing players making the shift. The new players have the advantage of no baggage, speed and agility while the existing players have the size, stability and track record. For an existing player, there is a considerable difference in culture, people profile, business model and financial metrics that they need to work through to make this shift.

Sudhakar Ram said...


Quite frankly I don’t see any political, social / cultural or economic issues in making the shift. We need a critical mass of leaders with the vision to put India on the solutions map of the world – the rest will follow.

Sam said...

Congratulations Sudhakar, for being "CNBC's Asia's India Business Leader of the year award 2007".

aj said...

Dear Sudhakar Ram,

Being a newcomer in the IT services field and the depression being what it is I often wonder whether all the Indian IT companies have to evolve to "The third wave" to survive these bad economic times?