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					Recession and India
Impact of Recession on Indian IT Industry




The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies
Mumbai University, Mumbai


November 2009




By Saeed Khan
Information Systems Consultant
Mumbai – India
Table of Contents
1 Introduction

 1.1 Background

 1.2 Problem Discussion, Research Purpose and Research Questions


2 Literature Review


3 Impact on Indian IT industry


4 How Indian IT Industry can handle it?



5 Findings and Conclusions



References




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                 The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, India - November 2009
1. Introduction
1.1 Background


In economics sense, recession is a general slowdown in economic activity over a

long period of time, or a business cycle contraction. During recessions, many

                                                            s
macroeconomic indicators vary in a similar way. Production a measured by

Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment, investment, spending, capacity

utilization,   household        incomes,        business profits and                         on
                                                                                        inflati      fall   during

recessions, bankruptcies and the unemployment rates rises.




Governments       usually        respond         to recessions by                 adopting          expansionary

macroeconomic         policies,       such        s
                                                  a     increasing          money         supply,        reasing
                                                                                                       inc

government spending and decreasing taxation. Recession has many attributes

that can occur simultaneously and includes declines in coincident measures of

activity such as employment, investment, and corporate profits.




                                                   anies. It impacts the
Recession has direct impact on Profitability of Comp

expense power of company. Companies go to an extreme level of cost cutting for

its survival. Usually companies try to shutdown some of its unit and layoff

employees.




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1.2 Problem Discussion and research purpose


Recession in the West, specially the United States and Europe has significantly

affected Indian IT companies which depends upon the outsource projects from

these countries. The IT projects are a part of planned expenses for future growth

of business. In this period, many US/UK based companies had cut-down on their

IT expenses. This had a significant impact on Indian IT industry.




IT companies has taken various steps to control their outgoing. With this study,

we will try to find out how the cost component been managed by Indian IT

companies and what are the impacts of such a strategy on their business. In IT

Industry, cost of employee’s package makes a major part of expenses. Many

companies come with the concept of virtual bench, fired highly paid employees,

put trainees on project by replacing experienced.




The research for this subject is done as an exploratory research project. An

                                                                       r
Exploratory research provides good insights into the issue, situation o any

business ideas. To define the research problem, an exploratory research can be

carried out. The problems are formulated clearly in exploratory research and it

aims at clarifying the concepts, gathering explanations and gaining insights.




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              The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, India - November 2009
2. Literature review
What is Recession?

The economic slowdown of the advanced countries which started around mid-

2007, as a result of sub-prime crisis in USA, led to the spread of economic crisis

across the globe. Many hegemonic financial institutions like Lehman Brothers or

Washington Mutual or General Motors collapsed and several became bankrupt in

this crisis. According to the current available assessment of the IMF, the global

economy is projected to contract by 1.4 per cent in 2009. Even as recently as six

months ago, there was a view that the fallout of the crisis will remain confined

only to the financial sector of advanced economies and at the most there would

be a shallow effect on emerging economies like India. These expectations, as it

now turns out, have been disproved. The contagion has traversed from the

financial to the real sector; and it now looks like the recession will be deeper and

the recovery longer than earlier anticipated. Many economists are now predicting

that this ‘Great Recession’ of 2008-09 will be the worst global recession since the

1930s.


A recession is a decline in a country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth for

                                                                 eceded by
two or more consecutive quarters of a year. A recession is also pr

several quarters of slowing down. An economy, which grows over a period of

time, tends to slow down the growth as a part of the normal economic cycle. An

economy typically expands for 6-10 years and tends to go into a recession for

about six months to 2 years. A recession normally takes place when consumers


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lose confidence in the growth of the economy and spend less. This leads to a

decreased demand for goods and services, which in turn leads to a decrease in

production, lay-offs and a sharp rise in unemployment. Investors spend less; as

they fear stocks values will fall and thus stock markets fall on negative sentiment.

Risk aversion, de-leveraging and frozen money markets and reduced investor

interest adversely affect capital and financial flows, import-export and overall

GDP of an economy. This is exactly what happened in US and as a result of

contagion effect spread all over the world due to high integration in the global

economy.


[1]




Overview of Indian IT industry

The size of the Indian IT industry, according to NASSCOM, is US$ 64 billion as

of year 2008. It has been growing with an annual rate of 28% since 2001. The

Indian IT industry can be broadly divided into two markets: domestic market and

exports market. The exports market constitutes the largest segment accounting

for 62-66% of the total revenue generated by the Indian IT industry. Within the

export segment, geographical diversification and maturity in services and

operating efficiencies helped the IT services exports to jump 28 per cent to $23.1

billion, while the BPO exports were up 30 per cent to $10.9 billion. Engineering

services and product exports clocked revenue of $6.4 billion, an increase of

almost 29 per cent over FY07. The domestic IT market accounted for 34-38% of




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revenue. The domestic market is gaining momentum, driven by overall economic

growth, increased adoption of technology and outsourcing.




Indian IT Market Highlights

The Indian software & services industry group generated total revenue of $64

billion in 2008. It contributed over 5.5 % of the overall GDP of India. It has been

growing with an annual rate of 28% since 2001. IT Exports will account for 35%

                             a
of the total exports from Indi . As far as job creation out of this growth is

concerned the sector generated 2 million direct jobs and around 7-8 million

indirect jobs.




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[2]


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Investment Plans of MNCs in India

Cost arbitrage and the availability of a large talent pool have attracted several

MNCs to India. Big players like IBM, Accenture, CapGemini and Oracle among

others have not only increased their headcounts in India but also outperformed

their global performance in terms of revenue growth. Their Indian operations are

witnessing strong growth as compared to their global business. Some of the

major global companies like Intel, IBM and CSC are shifting their base to India.




[3]




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              The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, India - November 2009
3. Impact on Indian IT industry
The booming Indian IT sector is set for a slower growth in the current fiscal due

to global economic slowdown, surge in crude oil prices and lower technology

spending in the US. The near-term impact is non-trivial for the Indian service

providers, who enjoy a relatively higher concentration of discretionary, staff-

oriented, contractual relationships. Compared to some of the Western providers,

                             e
Indian IT service providers ar also less well-diversified geographically and

vertically. Going forward, service providers are likely to see their sales cycles

                             layed ramping up of projects, experience
lengthen; witness a slow or de

consolidation in multi-sourced deals and not be able to command better prices

from their clients. Large IT services players will be able to cope with tighter client

spends, but it's the smaller IT companies which will face the heat. SMEs with

commodity type offerings will find the business unsustainable. With a recession

in the US, which accounts for over 60% of the business, - Fortune 500 and other

companies may reduce overall IT budgets marginally and are unlikely to commit

to new systems upgrades. Lower technology spending and rising unemployment

rate in the US will lower the export growth rate by 5-6 percent. Its full effect will

become known only a couple of quarters later. Within the financial services

                                         pendent on consumer credit for
sector, and related industries that are de

spending, there is likely to be a pull back on investments for the next several

months. The return to growth for applications-oriented projects will come in all

likelihood through a new paradigm for making such investment decisions, one

that looks to maximize leverage in development, maintenance and operations.


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Gartner Views:

The top 20 IT services exporters saw a dip in their growth, growing 29 percent as

against the 45 percent recorded in 2006-07, according to the Dataquest Indian IT

Industry Survey 2008 Technology budgets worldwide are expected to increase

3.3% this year, slightly higher than in 2007. Many U.S. companies are taking

steps to speed up their off-shoring programs in order to contain their labor by

sending more of their IT jobs off-shore. In the worst-case scenario, the slowdown

will turn into a prolonged recession that will indefinitely delay non-critical projects

                             novation projects being cancelled. Gartner
and lead to enhancement and in

recommends that companies considering off-shoring work to India either look at

branching out their off-shoring facilities to more countries, or that they negotiate

multiyear annuity-based outsourcing contracts with vendors that let them raise

rates by between 3% and 5% per year to account for employee salary increases.



Forrester Views:

                                         d
US IT buyers may spend less than projecte this year, reducing worldwide

demand for computers, software and services. While US spending will climb 2.8

percent to $552 billion, missing an earlier forecast for 4.6 percent growth, global

spending will rise 6 percent to $1.7 trillion, instead of the 9 percent originally

predicted, the report said. The spend on IT services and outsourcing is expected

to be $162 billion out of the $552 billion on total IT purchases in 2008. This is a

4% growth over the previous year and is the lowest rate since 2003.



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               The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, India - November 2009
'Indian services firms will feel the heat from the meltdown in financial services for

sure,' Forrester Research analyst John McCarthy says. But Forrester analyst

Christine Ferrusi Ross says the industry has to diversify from financials – where

most of them make their money at the moment – and seek growth opportunities

in utilities, manufacturing, telecoms and health care



NASSCOM Views:

The global financial meltdown following the collapse of US investment banks will

have limited impact on the Indian IT sector in the short and medium terms, but

poses a challenge in the long term. In the long term, the export-driven software

sector has to become risk-protected from such uncertainties by penetrating other

geographies and expanding its service offerings to diverse verticals so as to

retain its competitive edge and sustain the growth momentum – Som Mittal,

president Nasscom. “In IT budgets, non-discretionary spend, which is about 70

percent, will continue to happen. In a downturn, discretionary spend on new

projects, innovation or upgradation gets affected. The impact, if any, will be on

the latter,” Mittal explained. “The UK and other European markets will recover in

2-3 years while the US will take another 12-18 months to emerge from the

current gloomy conditions. The Indian IT industry may have suffered from the

recessionary trends but it will recover in another 12 months. Moreover, after 12

months, the Indian IT industry will focus more on domestic market and less on

international markets," said Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of NASSCOM and CEO

of Zensar Technologies. As per the Nasscom forecast in June-July 2008,



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software exports are projected to grow by $9 billion to $50 billion in fiscal 2008-

09 from $41 billion in fiscal 2007-08 and $32 billion in fiscal 2006-07. As per the

McKinsey report, exports are set to touch $60 billion by fiscal 2009-10 even if the

growth rate remains lower at 23-25 percent.



Impact on employees and recruitment trends in recession

Lowering of attrition levels by 6-7 per cent; broadening of the manpower base –

over the past five years the industry has grown from employing 4,30,114 in 2000-

2001 to 2 million in 2007-08, thereby the percentage of new additions is tapering;

increase in productivity and utilization levels – hires are now being made closer

to deals. The growth in salary hike has come down from 13.5 per cent last year

to 9 per cent this year.



How it affects India

“Buyers will aggressively move toward off-shore destinations and service

providers that can offer a global delivery model to access lower-cost IT labor for

routine IT work that must continue for the business to operate. However, non-

                              ed
critical projects may be delay indefinitely, and for most organizations, any

discretionary IT spending will be cancelled", said Allie Young, vice president and

distinguished analyst at Gartner. "Plenty of opportunities are available in Latin

America, Japan, China, Europe and also in some African nations," Ganesh

Natrajan, Chairman of Nasscom added, urging the IT industry leaders to not be

constrained by just US markets, but look elsewhere too. "By 2020, India can



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alone fulfill the need of technical talent of the whole world. By that time the whole

world would need 43 billion technocrats while India will have 47 billion surplus

technocrats. Huge investments have to be made to train the available talent," he

added. At a time when customers in the US and Europe are tightening their IT

budgets, leading Indian tech firms are betting on their huge pile of cash to steer

through the global economic crisis and also to explore M&A opportunities in a

world reeling under severe liquidity crunch. Larger spends on training, R&D, a

focus on consulting and higher value services could be the only way out for the

IT services players.



In turbulent times, clients expect greater flexibility and business value from

service providers. The tighter governance and regulatory environment that will

                             ncial turmoil will offer opportunities to service
evolve as a result of the fina

providers in the medium to long-term.

[4]




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4. How Indian IT Industry can
handle it?

Diversify Globally

For far too long, Indian IT industry has focused on the US. Yes, US does account

for about 60% of the total IT spending. However, IT spending of American

companies is bound to slip with the slump. It’s also been a long time since US

                                                            s
firms embraced the outsourcing model, so further growth seem very limited.

With that in mind, the Indian IT firms need to focus their attention on the other

markets, especially Europe. Using UK as the base, software firms can branch out

onto mainland Europe. There will be a certain amount of language and cultural

resistance in countries like France, Germany, and Netherlands, that Indian firms

will need to grapple with. Language training and cultural orientation should form a

big part of the foray into Europe.



The potential of near-shoring in the context of IT, also needs to be tapped fully.

Customers are looking for IT service providers who are geographically closer and

culturally similar. With respect to Europe, the East European countries satisfy

both these criteria. Moreover, East Europe has a large number of skilled software

programmers. According to Arkadiy Dobkin, CEO of outsourcing powerhouse

EPAM, the so                          f                            ring
            -called "Soviet heritage" o traditionally strong enginee

education is responsible for the region's large pool of trained professionals. The




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cost advantage of India over such locations is also significantly diminished as

salaries in Eastern Europe as not significantly higher than those in India.



The need for near-shoring is especially highlighted by the fact that many UK IT

service providers have recently invested in 3 global delivery centers in Eastern

Europe and Morocco each and 4 in China. Such near-shore locations will be able

to service EMEA and South East Asia region and their capabilities cannot be

replicated by similar centers in India. Many global firms want to continue off-

shoring, however they are looking at non-India based partners as a way of

addressing the issues of talent shortage, salary hikes and high turnover which

                                                           k
are commonplace in India. Such firms are even willing to bac development

centers run by Indian giants elsewhere, purely from the standpoint of flexibility,

business continuity and seamlessness in global operations. Hence, Indian IT

companies should establish a strong presence globally through delivery centers

in emerging regions, so as to acquire a bigger portion of the IT revenues pie.



Local Foray

With the rupee gradually strengthening against the dollar, it makes imminent

sense to enter the local markets with a purpose. Indian IT market is growing a

compounded annual rate of 21%. Indian companies have been traditionally slow

in embracing IT but are now implementing IT internally with a vengeance. Some

large multi-million dollar contracts like the Bharti-IBM, Dabur-Accenture and SBI-

TCS deals should make the rest of industry sit up and recognize the potential of



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the Indian market. Some of these deals have been jaw-dropping huge – TCS’

                                              n
$140 million deal with BSNL, Wipro’s $80 millio and $60 million deal

respectively with HDFC and Dena Bank equal, if not exceed, deals of similar

nature with international clients. The opportunity is not worth ignoring.



South East Asia is another region where IT big-wigs can focus their energies.

China, Korea, Japan, Australia are big markets and Indian firms should attack

them, all guns blazing. The region can not only be tapped for local markets, but

also be used as satellite facilities to support their Indian counterparts.



Tighten Recruitment and Retention Processes

Since the last few years, the composition of IT resource pool has undergone a

                                                           u
substantial shift. Earlier, many reputed companies only recr ited engineers

through campus placements. These placements were also carried out in Tier 1

                              s
colleges. The selection proces was tough - base criteria was first class

academic qualification, followed by test of GMAT style logical questions, and a

rigorous interview process. Only the top few got through.

However, the demand for Indian IT services kept getting bigger. Post dot com

bust and 9/11, business conditions in the US became tougher and companies

                             o
wanted to focus on key operati nal and strategic functions and outsource

technical application development and support to the experts. India as an IT

destination offered notable cost advantage, better flexibility, 24/7 support and

improved accountability.



                 Recession and India: Impact of Recession on Indian IT Industry Page 17 of 24
               The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, India - November 2009
To cater to the rising demand, there has been a mad rush to recruit more people.

Earlier, a 4 year engineering degree, the premier choice of top ranking students,

was a de-facto selection criterion. Now, companies have started recruiting from

non-engineering colleges. Recruitment cells are covering lower ranked colleges

during campus placements. Consequently, the quality of new recruits has gone

down noticeably. Figures suggest that only 25% of the total graduates in India

                                                         h
have employable ‘production-worthy’ skills. Not only are t e much celebrated

analytical skills poor amongst such fresh hires, but even basic communication

skills are a cause for great worry.



Fewer contracts in a sluggish economic scenario would automatically drive down

the break-neck speed of recruitment. However instead of a complete stop to all

                                                            le
recruitment, the IT industry should use this period for peop overhaul. The

employees who have demonstrated continuous below par performance need to

be put on notice. They must be mandated to undergo training programs to hone

and upgrade their skills – technical as well as inter-personal. In the absence of

any significant improvements, they should be let go. At the same time, campus

and lateral hiring of high performing individuals needs to continue. It will help

restore the quality of talent that has deteriorated over the years.



Address the Skills Shortage

At the same time, this quiet period needs to be used to get the existing resource

pool ready for the next big wave. Most programmers are caught up in the daily



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                                   st
nitty-gritty to catch up on the late technical advances and recognize the

breakthroughs that will sweep the IT world. To address this gap, workshops and

technical trainings to educate the workforce should be held at regular intervals.

                       -                               n
Similar sessions on soft skills and cultural orientatio programs should be

conducted to make the people more customer-centric.



Service Oriented Architecture, Software as a Service, Cloud Paradigm (or

desktop virtualization) are emerging as some of the biggest IT trends.

Additionally, platform consolidation is the biggest IT change that many CIOs have

on their radar. Much of the work coming along will be governed by these trends.

The software designers should be brought up to speed on these new trends and

the programmers trained on technologies that underline these trends.



Improve Productivity

Addressing the skills shortage amongst the existing employees will partly lead to

better productivity. But a concerted effort is needed for flexible and savvy use of

the existing talent pool. The recent growth of IT has left many organizations with

massive shortage of middle level managers. Hence, techies have progressed to

managerial roles far too quickly. At the same time, the inter-operability found in

foreign tech heavyweights– where senior staff continues to be technically hands-

                                                       rganizations such
on even after 5-10 years – is not to be seen. In India o

resources tend to be entirely locked up doing administrative tasks and

managerial reporting.



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              The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, India - November 2009
                             traight forward. Technical tasks should form a
Resolving this can be fairly s

sizable portion of a project lead’s tasks. Technical advancement through training

and project work should be an integral part of a manager’s appraisal criteria. For

smaller projects, senior resources need to be encouraged to code themselves,

thereby reducing the overheads.



Simple tools like word and excel, if used effectively provide fantastic productivity

gains. Trainings on such desktop tools need serious thought. Some Indian IT

organizations have world-class in-house systems. But there is still tremendous

scope in making these functions quicker and simpler. What better time to get

those things sorted than this slack period? Programming is one of the most

intense and focused activities, and any hindrance to it – availability of software,

training material, access issues – should be resolved speedily through a system

that exists to support the programmer more than anyone else. There is a sense

                             doption of security management controls like
that the rapid and reflexive a

ISO27001/BS7799 has done more harm than good by cramping creativity and

adventurous spirit of the computer programmer. An elaborate review might be in

order.



Upside down in a Flat World

Cut-throat competition from global players and the falling dollar have squeezed

the margins for typical run-of-the-mill work. Yes, consulting is a niche that

eventually all Indian IT companies would want to get into. But basic factors like



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              The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, India - November 2009
maturity (dearth of experienced consultants), perception (image of application

developers and implementers) and location (Failing of global delivery model in

primarily client based work) will hinder any real attempt into consulting space.

The trick is to innovate – do things differently, and not necessarily do different

                             cus on innovation of some of he top Indian
things. In that regard, the fo                            t

companies is a step in the right direction. Wipro’s Applied Innovation framework

                              ic                          le
lays down a roadmap for system change to deliver sustainab business

benefits. An illustrious case in point is Wipro’s transformational engagement, with

Credit Suisse. In this trailblazing flex-sourcing model, three primary ownership

models (captive, outsourced, co-managed) have been employed together in

effect to cater to different business requirements. It was a risky maneuver which

has paid off handsomely.

[5]




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               The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, India - November 2009
5. Findings and Conclusions
The size of the Indian IT industry, according to NASSCOM, is US$ 64 billion as

of year 2008. It has been growing with an annual rate of 28% since 2001. It

contributed over 5.5 % of the overall GDP of India. IT Exports will account for

35% of the total exports from India. As far as job creation out of this growth is

concerned the sector generated 2 million direct jobs and around 7-8 million

indirect jobs.



As per the Nasscom forecast in June-July 2008, software exports are projected

to grow by $9 billion to $50 billion in fiscal 2008-09 from $41 billion in fiscal 2007-

08 and $32 billion in fiscal 2006-07. As per the McKinsey report, exports are set

to touch $60 billion by fiscal 2009-10 even if the growth rate remains lower at 23-

25 percent.



The recession hit every country and industry including India and its IT industry.

The Indian IT industry largely constitutes Software exports like off-shore support,

near-shore support. Major Indian IT companies like Infosys, TCS and Wipro, etc.

                                                           cts. Indian IT
survived this tough business itme by getting local IT contra

industries are adopting innovative ways to beat the heat of recession.




                   Recession and India: Impact of Recession on Indian IT Industry Page 22 of 24
                 The Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai, India - November 2009
Some of the measures Indian IT industries adopt in this crisis are:



       Diversify Globally

       Local Foray

       Tighten Recruitment and Retention Processes

       Address the Skills Shortage

       Improve Productivity



This is indeed a tricky time for the Indian IT industry, but there’s no real reason to

panic. Top Indian IT bosses showed great character and resilience during the

years following the dot com burst. They are wise enough to read the signs and

realize that change is in order. With a slight course correction and an unswerving

view on the long-term, the India IT industry can emerge stronger and bigger.




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References
[1] Global Recession and its impact on Indian Financial Markets by Nidhi Choudhari Manager,

Reserve Bank of India, Kolkata Article No: 177 ISSN 0974 – 9497 Year: August 2009 Volume 3,

Issue ¾


[2] NASSCOM.org



[3] D&B Industry Research Service (http://www.dnb.co.in/TopIT/overview.asp)



[4] Wipro Council for Industry Research http://www.wipro.com/resource-center/wipro-council-for-

industry-research/pdf/recession_and_its_impact_on_it_industry.pdf



[5] Abhishek Toraskar, Consultant, Wipro Consulting Europe




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