Thursday, January 30, 2014

Global Technology Assignment 2: Post-Trip Perceptions

This post will discuss how my pre-trip perceptions have changed after my two week trip to India. 

1) Bollywood. I am glad I watched a few Bollywood films before my trip because it helped manage my expectations about what I would be dealing with while in India. Movies can be vastly different from reality but Slumdog Millionaire prepared me for driving through the slums and Outsourced gave me some perspective while visiting companies in India. The companies we visited were far more advanced than the startup in Outsourced.  Several of the companies I saw had better campuses than any company I have visited in the US. They had made significant investments in their landscape and architecture. One campus has birdhouses in every tree with signs posted for birdwatching. Another campus had a beautiful infinity pool with a swim up bar for tasty refreshments. I was surprised by how much these companies invested in their people and how many of them were making huge strides in efficiency and sustainability. It is sad to think that most companies in the US will probably never get to the level of investment in their campus and community that we saw in India due to shareholders who are more concerned with profit margins than their people. 

2) Indian Parties. I touched on different festivals in my previous blog and stated that I thought Indians knew how to throw a good party. I was right! The hotel we were staying in in Jaipur had a wedding on our first night there. The decorations were incredibly beautiful and very intricate. The bride and groom arrived on decorated elephants with camels along side of them. The party had live music with several traditional Indian dancers. There was an open bar and the food spread was endless. The father of the groom allowed us to come inside and be apart of the celebration. His son was Indian and his new daughter in law was Italian so there was a mix of people there. It was very much an Indian wedding though with the dancing and style of clothes. It was a great experience and I'm honored that I was able to be apart of it.  

3) Indian Women's Rights. I had written about several events that had happened to young girls in India over the last few years. Safety for women is not guaranteed at night and they are typically blamed for being raped. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the safety measures that several of the companies had in place to keep their female employees safe. Most of the companies had a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. Women could report incidents discretely and people were let go without reservation when found guilty.  I also had the opportunity to meet with a few female students at an Indian business school.  Some had discussed safety concerns about leaving the school at night and the safety structure of their dorms. I also learned that people are becoming more aware of the gender inequalities in India and women are working hard to be seen as equals. 

4) Technology in India. All of the companies we visited while abroad were technology based and built from the ground up. There are several reasons why India is doing so well in IT. They have a competitive advantage with the amount of skilled workers. With such a large labor force, businesses are getting thousands of applications from well qualified candidates. The IT world is very competitive in India with each company trying to be the biggest and the best at what they do. India's IT world will continue to grow as data mining and IT solutions become more needed. India has another advantage with the 11.5 hour time difference. Part of their business model is finishing up work that is left after the normal US work day. Its an inexpensive way for US companies to get caught up on paper work and data entry. 

5) India's economy. I had read several Economist articles about the destruction of the Indian economy before going on this trip. While poverty is rampant in India, it would have been difficult to know that any kind of financial crisis was happening when visiting the IT companies. One of the main founders of a company we visited said that rupee dropping in value was actually helping his business. They may have been getting less money for their services but the amount of new business at the lower rate made up for the difference threefold. Almost all of the companies we visited were doing some kind of new construction to improve their campus and as well as plans for expansion. There did not seem to be any worry about the continued growth in the IT world. One professor that I had talked to at the business school touched on the change of the government and the possible ramifications on new businesses. He also warned about the impact of the lack of infrastructure investments. Otherwise, I would have never known anything negative was happening in the economy

A few pictures from the Indian wedding: 

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