I met Ashok Soota today. He was at the top of the Indian IT industry way before it famous.
While Soota was the president of Wipro in the 80s and to late 90s, some of the senior executives of the big Indian players today were out in the field.
I spoke to him a couple of years ago when he was chairing an Indian Service provider, known as MindTree, which has grown really quickly. See more here.
When I first met him he had some really interesting insights about how the Indian firms got so big so quickly without the Western IT firms being able to stop it.
He described what happened:
- "Before 1994 Western IT companies were not really noticing us because we were mainframe maintenance.
- Then client/server came they thought we could not do it. But we were.
- Y2K came along (millennium bug) and they thought we would go away afterwards. But Y2K gave Indian companies entry into big global customers.
- Then they did not think internet work could be done offshore, because of the need for a quick turnaround. But distance can be an advantage because you can work around the clock.
- Obviously the internet played a role. The internet reduced transaction costs. Before this big players had dedicated pipelines. Now it became possible for a mid-sized company to communicate with a mid-sized company.
- It was 2004 by the time the big Western suppliers became anxious."
The reason I chose the headline I did was because Soota told me all about his latest venture.
His new company Happiest Minds (strange name I know) has just officially launched in the UK.
Happiest Minds, which was set up in August last year, is targeting some of the hot areas of business IT. Its technology focus will be on: cloud computing; mobile computing; big data/analytics; and social media. Its business is split into three units: IT services; software product engineering; and infrastructure support and security.
By focusing on the technology areas which are clearly hot at the moment, without a legacy business to worry about, the company will be interesting to watch. Its growth will be a clear indication how businesses are approaching the four technology areas that are interesting businesses at present.
Hopefully we will get some case studies from the company.