Stop making products: Gartner’s gyaan to Indian IT

Gartner has some gyaan for Indian IT companies. Indian IT should jettison all the products which are either under development or still being ideated. The industry should also not entertain any product ideas. Reason: Indian IT is not good at making products. The industry should stick to what it does best: services.

For the past 15 years, the Indian IT has been synonymous with services. Many million dollar IT enterprises were built on services and what the media bluntly calls as body shopping. The services sector was blamed by many for not fostering innovation in India and grooming followers rather than leaders. Everybody is missing a point.

The Indian IT industry has served a very important need at the most important time. They have generated employment to millions of young graduates who otherwise would have fled to foreign countries, waited for government sector jobs or would have become unemployed. The IT industry has brought many families from poor to middle class and from middle class to the upper middle class levels.

The IT industry has served its purpose so well that IT employees are the cynosure of all eyes and are also the most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes.

The top three publicly traded technology companies of the US – Amazon, Apple, and Google – together employ 125,000 employees. That’s nearly half of what TCS employs. The combined market capitalization of the three companies is $612 bn and TCS’s market cap is just $40 bn.

Sure, I would like an Apple to come out from India. But India has large unmet needs and it needs companies like Infosys and TCS right now and probably in the foreseeable future. Products, innovation, Apples and Facebooks can wait.

Before you infer that I’m using hunger and poverty as a crutch for the lack of innovation and the so-called ingenuous products, let me just clarify. I am not saying that at all. Innovation can’t happen when someone goes to bed with an empty stomach. It happens when someone sleeps to the hum of an air conditioner. India, at least some part of it, is slowly but surely moving in that direction.

Indian IT knows that the services which got the industry so far will not take them beyond. It needs products and it needs to innovate. It already is happening albeit in pockets. The IT industry worldwide is very young and the Indian IT is an infant. It is a natural progression following the Maslow’s hierarchy theory and innovation couldn’t have come any sooner.

So here’s my advice to Gartner: Stop advising Indian IT companies based on perceptions. Stick to what you do best: predictions based on data.

PS : Gartner’s premise for advising Indian IT to not make any products is a bunch of failed products.

PPS : This post is based on the ET article. I didn’t find a Gartner link. If ET has wrongly quoted Gartner or something of that sort happens, this post will still be valid. Just that Gartner will be replaced by your favorite critic in 3-5 places.