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IT has transformed India: Ganesh Natarajan

March 05, 2013 13:24 IST

Ganesh NatarajanFinance Minister P Chidambaram presented the Budget in Parliament on February 28.

What impact will it have on the information technology sector?

Will the Budget help India's business process outsourcing flourish or will it suffer?

Ganesh Natarajan answered these and other questions during an hour-long rediff chat on Tuesday.

Natarajan is one of India's IT leaders. He has led Zensar as the CEO for over a decade.

He chairs the National Knowledge Committee of the Confederation of Indian Industry and is a member of the Chairmen's Council of industry association, NASSCOM. He was Chairman of NASSCOM in 2008-09.

Here is the transcript:

Ganesh Natarajan says, Hi everybody this is Ganesh Natarajan - look forward to this interaction and your questions so fire away

arora asked, Infosys and TCS as we know are big IT companies but when it comes to work experience. Just want to know are these companies considered as MNC and does the office locations outside India are domiciled in that respective country.
Ganesh Natarajan answers,  at 2013-03-05 12:02:09Dear Arors, all Indian IT companies are truly global today. That means that we employ globally pay taxes in all countries and dont behave like Indian multinationals !

prabu asked, how s sw market in 2015?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Prabhu the SW market is expected to be much better in the next twelve months and all of us are looking forward to double digit revenue growth

SAP asked, Hi, What is the future prospect of SAP Consultancy in India?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, SAP along with Oracle and Microsoft is a lead provider of applications and now data bases . It has a very bright future

prabu asked, How can Indian sw eng get high salary lie us & uk people?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Salaries are always commensurate with the cost of living in the market so you should get high salaries as compared to your peers in India not in comparison to Americans and Europeans

hiManoj asked,  What is the scope for IT in Nasik city (Maharashtra state)
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Hey I spent the first few years of my career in Nashik so I believe the people and the town are great so the future for IT should be bright

bestman asked, so basically you're another IT pimp that makes money of young grads by paying $10/hour while charging clients $100/hour. Are you not ashamed?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Hi what an amusing question - do you realise that we provide more employment than all the other industry sectors ? Would you prefer that all these jobs shd be created in China and Philippines ?

ANILHRIT asked, Dear Mr. Natrajan, With this budget, Indian IT industry creates more job or reduce?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, This budget is very growth development and inclusion focused and will definitely create more jobs as IT companies grow with domestic customers as well as exports

yogesh13 asked, Why is zensar growing so slowly, comparing to the other companies which started around same time?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Our CAGR for the last five years is faster than industry and I am sure we will show the same performance in FY 14 as well - we are a happy company and happiness always creates good results !

Subrahmaniyam asked, With the global economy still under reocovery mode and specially the US economy, double taxataion norms (FATCA) levied by US govenment, and declning wages/ per day billing for indian IT professionanal, where do you see the indian information technology heanding to? Are the coming years going to be even worse with less job and salary turnovers for indian IT professional? How indian IT industry is going to come true to these challenges and sustain the growth and profitability it has enjoyed in past 2 decades?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, I think Indian industry has a good model and has actually widened the gap with other competition. So no worries about the future and we will be a 250 billion dollar industry in 2020 and employment will soar !

SP asked, When will Indian IT companies NOT be treated as body shoppers
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Staff augmentation is no longer a primary model, its management services, application development and support and high end areas like Cloud Social Media Mobility and Analytics

SS asked, Why is IT industry not going to Tier 2 or Tier 3 cities in India ?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Dear SS I agree completely and Zensar'd next campus will certainly be in Gwalior or Patna or some smaller city - we need to spread the industry and its benefits to a wider population

SS asked, What is the future of game development (3D as well as mobile gaming) industry in India ?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Gaming is one of hot new sectors along with SW products and Engineering services !

Amit asked, Sir, by what time, Indian IT will be back on track as it was on in before 2008 ? Is it good time to switch the job ? And why there is less opportunity in mumbai as compared to Pune ?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Pune has definitely grown much faster than Mumabi but there are good BPM and Financial Services Global In House Centres in Mumbai as well. This industry will remain a good place to work for the foreseeable future !

Anand asked, Sir. There has been slowdown in IT as lot of companies are laying off employees and laterals recruitment has been very low during the beginning of this year. Can we say 2013 would provide less opportunities to people looking for better job
Ganesh Natarajan answers, 2013 should see at least one lakh new jobs being created - if you are bright and eager the sky is the limit my friend !

kaveri asked, what should you keep in mind if you don't want to lose your job in times of crisis?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Keep your head in the clouds and stay deeply rooted in your job. Good people never lose their jobs !

nilesh asked, Hello GN Sir, Could you please put your thoughts on Bussiness Intelligence in IT
Ganesh Natarajan answers, BI is one of the most important new areas and there is huge scope

SureshUS asked, Hi, what role can returning NRI with 15 years experiane in US play in Indian IT industry and what is demand for him who worked as architect/ consultant role in variety of industries
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Bring in the overseas experience and set up a great new company !

Avinash asked, Dear Ganesh, do you think that the culture of Indian IT industry is changing from productive hours to time spent in office? This is certainly impacting life style of an individual and results in early life medication.. what's your view?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Our customers now expect better outcomes and dont want to pay on Tome & Materials so why should employers be any different. We at Zensar certainly respect results rather than time spent !

Jasmeet asked, Hi Ganesh Why don't the Indian IT Companies move out and expand into the unexplored manufacturing sector and diversify. The Services Sector is not expanding at a good pace. Thank You!
Ganesh Natarajan answers, We should stay focused on the trillion dollar plus opportunity and not stary beyond opur core competence

Madhusudan asked, What types of product companies do you see succeeding from India?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Cloud SaaS companies, Internet Mobile Internet and e-Commerce start-ups like Flipkart and many domain products opportuniteis also exist

RPRASAD asked, For individuals\Companies in Software move away from making me too copy Cat solutions. Create revolutionary products. Why not India Make a path breaking ERP Solution instead of SAP in in Local Language. Why not Indian Companies spend money on IT Hard ware R & D & Invent a new Server/new OS or New printing technology? What is that we lack?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, The product sector is certainly the next big growth opportunity but choosing a generic segment like ERP may not be the answer with big incumbents like Oracle and SAP already there. Find niche areas

pp asked, hi, what is Zensars offering to Indian Market. Zensar planned to enter Healthcare IT in India ? what happened ?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Zensar is doing large deals globally in Insurance and Helthcare - in fact we just signed a very large deal for five years with Assurant Health

sunny asked, It's not much of a question, rather an observation about Zensar. I have been working here for quite sometime here and have seen managers just chasing dollars. And that too by increasing head count somehow and not by creating an environment of innovation. Our badly designed solutions cause the client to ask for more resources for maintenance and that's how the managers increase revenues. I haven't seen a good solution by zensar which is generic and robust enough to be sold to multiple clients. Even the client that I am working for is outsourcing a very important IT function currently managed by Zensar to another company. Every employee I meet says that they could never really connect with the company. With such less employee satisfaction and low innovation, I doubt we'll ever be able to join the league to big IT companies.
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Do come and meet me sometime Sunny - our client satisfaction is the best in the industry and employee engagement among the top three. People with specific issues can always walk through our open dooers and explain !!!

Kabeer asked, Apple seriously contemplated refunding $130 Bln cash to shareholders the other day; your company and many other Indian software companies are sitting on piles of cash. When real estate prices are going up, why not invest and give good returns to investors? It may not be your core area, yet you invest in MFs and G-Secs which are not your core area.
Ganesh Natarajan answers, As you said we should focus on higher return to shareholders and that means invetsing in real estate or manufacturing is not the best use of cash

Erol asked, Being an IT hub center India, why we are not promoting INDIA as an image to the rest of the world... its there but quite not sufficient..this could result to robotic IT development for our young pioneers back home..can u answer plz
Ganesh Natarajan answers, The Finance Minister has announced focus on Microprocessor and FAB facilities which should unleash a new wave of entrepreneurship

r_va69sudevan asked, What would you regard as an exciting phase of your career - Aptech days ? or @Xensar?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, My current job is always my best because I am excited everyday at work !

swathik asked, Hi Sir, I analysed that IT is fraud. Just to make realestate boom company will setup for few years time period. after getting boom the land will be sold at greater price. after saturation comes IT firms will taken off by saying it has occured losses
Ganesh Natarajan answers, This industry has some of the finest companies in corporate India - a few bad eggs does not spoil the whole basket

Pawan asked, Hi Mr. Natrajan, Very good Afternoon My question is on the legacy system, where will you see legacy system like Mainframe/AS400 in future? Most of the IT companies work on this aspect but still very few jobs you see on legacy systems. Is it worth of moving to another technology?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, There will always be a place for Mainframe professionals but no harm in getting abreast of new technologies

dabba asked, Sir,how comfortable do u think India is as compared to global peers like china, malaysia or indonesia as a preferred IT outsourcing destination. How long you think India can keep this tag before losing to emerging countries for IT sourcing..
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Our competitiveness is actually increasing vis a vis competitors. With three million smart people like you, how can we go wrong ?

SACHIN1977 asked, Hi Sir, What is your thought on Cloud Computing, can Indian Market accept it easilty and will able to create a job for fresher
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Cloud is definitely a significant development and many of our clients see us as providers for new areas like Cloud Social Media Mobility & Analytics

Nitin asked, Hello Sir, I have worked with Zensar for 2 years and received salary of 2.4 and 3 pa. I wish I could explain how mgmt behaved with me Nywaz now I live in SF and earn 120K pa, over here I have realized that Indian IT companies is exploiting young ppl. Zensar is no different, how do you see good future for talented bunch of individuals in India
Ganesh Natarajan answers, There are two Harvard Business School cases about Zensar and its people management practices. We have a totally open culture and most people enjoy working here !

sanchi asked, Sir, are you happy or unhappy with this budget
Ganesh Natarajan answers, As an Indian I am very happy with the budget - it is very growth oriented and has a strong long term focus !

anonymous123 asked, does economic zones help attracting business or it help attracts investments towards infrastructure
Ganesh Natarajan answers, SEZs are great opportunities for larger companies. We do hope the Government will come up with specual incentives for SMEs as well

SwamiD asked, What kind of innovations do you see the IT industry focusing on in the near future?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Innovations will continue Swami D - in products new services and new frameworks and processes !

Billy asked, Ganesh. A systemic problem that IT faces is underutilization of people in the 10-20 year experience bracket. They are not willing for travel, not relevant on new technologies and not willing for change. Your views please.
Ganesh Natarajan answers, People in this industry should be open to new ideas and willing to travel. That is when you get the most out of your job !

kkrishnadeepak asked, Hi Ganesh, Why is PC more interested to develop chennai and in the process destroy the development of Hyderabad (possibly going to be declared as 2nd capital of india for its unique geographical location) is it because of internal dispute over the region? reference: Fab-City in India-Hyderabad was anounced almost 10 years back, but now the Electronic manufacturing investments are directed towards Sri-City in India-Chennai!!
Ganesh Natarajan answers, I think its an open environment where the most progressive locations are able to attract most investment. Hyderabad and Pune are my favourite IT cities personally !

Sam Dzuza asked, If we have an idea/product need a startup support to push to start a company or platform, how can govt or organization help us ? or to whom we can approach to get speedy results ??
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Tech Incubators, Angel Investors and many other opportunities abound to help you startups. Check out Indian Angel Network

Rajagopal asked, Hi Sir, Good afternoon. It great to interact with you . I was in zensar 10 year back. I have a query. we are more dependent on US and other market. do you think is there a scope where , india can be like US and create more job opportunity here inteself in Manf,R&D , and software section. as i see many of our folks travle to US to support the other country. why can't we do the same here. what government can do in the current level to keep the balance right based on current economic sitution in india.
Ganesh Natarajan answers, We will go to any market that offers a fair price for our services and opportunities to scale. We are currently executing a multi-million dollar SAP deal right here in Western India

a8881212 asked, Hello Sir, My question is how do you see Indian IT sector growing in the coming 5 to 10 years. There is growing unemployement in the U.S and people from the country are strongly opposing outsourcing. Apart from that our IT companies are fighting for their market share which is not growing. Do you think IT can still sustain in the coming 5 to 10 years. Thanks.
Ganesh Natarajan answers, I think the industry will grow for the next few years at 10 -15 % per year and will create more direct and indirect jobs that any other sector in India. We will also create jobs overseas which is good !

Maharshi asked, I have a very high regards for Zensar and being a shareholder I can't less admire it for the value it has bring to me. I will rate is as better than investing in infosysy. Only concrn I have is the small volumes as compared to the biggies of IT induestires. What I can expect to happen to my shares in Zensar in next 5-10 years? CAn I ever expect it will become a Bilion dollar revenue company before 2020? If yes how and where that business will be coming from?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, We have a clear goal and roadmap to be a billion dollar company in this decade. Cant predict any share price but we will continue our focus on employee customer and shareholder value. Thanks for having faith in us !

Jasmeet asked, Hi Ganesh.. When can we expect the Major IT Companies in India to set up their office in New Delhi. Despite it being a metro with huge population and amenities no many high quality jobs are there
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Arent we seeing a big boom in NOIDA and Gurgaon ?

SN asked, Can the Indian IT industry adopt a franchise model to develop into the smaller cities. With software process capability extended to the franchisee, who can then complement the bigger centers of development.
Ganesh Natarajan answers, A business partner model is certainly possible and Zensar itself plans to embrace this model in India and Asia/Africa

sameerkarkhanis asked, Dear Sir, On one hand we hear of IT Comapnies cribbing about lack of leadership. On the other hand I have experienced that they are unwilling to take a risk with candidates not matching the leadership profile word for word. They would rather repost the opening for months on end than take a chance with other candidate. What is your take on the same ...?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, At Zensar we first look at ingternal candidates and then ask for referrals from existing successful associates. Then and only then do we do an external search !

skbhaduri asked, Sir where do you think IT education companies are heading to ? Will distance education in IT survive ? I am working with Aptech Patna for past 2 decades....have had the pleasure of meeting you once in Kolkata long time ago.
Ganesh Natarajan answers, And would love to meet you again. I think Patna has great potential !

Pallavi asked, Hi Ganesh, Whats your view on IT Infra products and services? How do you see the growth in IT Infra products sales?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, IT Infra has great potential Pallavi and both products and services can scale

rakesh_sss asked, Hi... I heard some one say that there is a big chunk of middle management in IT sector who were promoted during the boom time. Company sees very difficult to redeploy them these days as they are not ready for technical stuffs and they are more in to people management or low level project management. Billing them is really tough these days. My question is 1) Do you see this as a problem in near future? 2) How should a software professional craft his career in future
Ganesh Natarajan answers, I think all professionals need to refresh their skills and avoid becoming dinosaurs !

Aditya11 asked, What kind of talent do you look for while hiring in Sales & Marketing?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Consultative selling skills and strong customer orientation Aditya

radhika asked, Hi! Mr.Ganesh, Hoping to see IT recruitment on a high at least in this quarter-was really from july 2012 till now-or is still gloomy-please inform
Ganesh Natarajan answers, It will be higher than 2012 and there will be over 1,00,000 lakh jobs so you need to compete for them

raju asked, oportunites in india in Application security
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Security & Compliance have great opportunities in this sector !

sand_krish asked, Hi Ganesh, We hear a lot of things happening in mobility, cloud , and you think there is future in them ? Also should Indian IT set up shops in Silicon Valley be ahead in terms of innovation ?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, I think Indian companies are already active in these areas and most us have big operations in Silicon Vallley

Raj_Bangalore asked, Dear Sir .. I am an IT professional holding a senior management position. My question is "The bigwigs of our Indian IT organization .. understanding the concern of resource & infrastructure cost" .. mostly in area of swap hiring .. where most of the organization are always in hiring mode because of attrition but not because of growth. Is Nasscom doing something to have a control over this !!
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Attrition is very low nowadays Raj _ Zensar itslef has retention over 90% these days. We all need to realise this is a mature industry now !

Pallavi asked, Ganesh, How focussed is Zensar in India and particularly in North? Do you have a focussed Sales team in New Delhi?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, We have sales all over the country including Delhi !

GeorgeThomas asked, Dear Ganesh - You are a successful "thought leader". What is your advice to those who have aspirations in creating new business - should they bet on "original ideas" which are normally risky or "established ideas" like services business which proven successful by many organisations including Zensar. Are you a believer of "original thoughts" and are you doing something completely original in Zensar ?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Identify discontinuities in the market and build solutions that fill those gaps. Dont be a "me-too"

Pawan asked, Hi Nartrajan, My question is on la-off, we have seen many lay-offs in recent path and most of the IT companies are doing it. We all know people who have been laid off are not under performer and many brilliant or even average in them. Don’t you feel Government should come up with policies and control for such situation. Many companies hire people when they see something is coming and fired them if they don’t get and get half of what they expected. Government only think about farmers and their suicide and situation, aren’t they thinking about us? Aren’t we human or have big responsibilities?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Responsible employers will minimise lay-offs unless there is a strong performance reason. The Government is not the right place to look for a solution.

sameerkarkhanis asked, Sir, If we observe the trends over the last 15 years, the first 5 years were all about Low cost / Low value work like Y2K. The next 5 years were about offshoring and the previous 5 were about IT companies moving on to Cost Arbitrage and Systems Integration. How do you see the next 5 yeats ... i.e. what is the most noticeable trend you think we will see...??
Ganesh Natarajan answers, The next five years will be about specific solutions and outcome based services which will truly transform our clients. This will create new value and scale and opportunities for new generation entrepreneurs !

Ganesh Natarajan answers, There is hardly any saturation. Opportunities are there in all technologies and all markets !

Pratikj asked, What kind of talent do you look for while hiring in Business analyst IT? Do they really need a management degree?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Business skills and technology orientation

chandan12 asked, Hi sir, What are the chances of open source technologies like php or open CMS in 2013..? Why money is less in open source tech..?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Open Source is the way to go so keep the faith ! asked, Sir, Good afternnon to you. Nowdays we find very less companies making more that 20%+ profit and the industry is slowly maturing, after 15-20 years the profit will come to 8-10%, Looking at the stats and inflation, dont you think we will end up at huge umemployed force in 15 years? What will happen if the growth (IT industry) and inflation reaches the same percentage?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, The need to create skills and employment is of paramount importance for our country. The industry will grow but cannot create enough jobs for all with over five million graduates every year !

prakash asked, hi sir, what is the future looking for company like subex allied digital and 3i infotech
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Cant answer company specific companies but I can tell you that any company that creates a "differentiated" value proposition will succeed. Thats how we build Zensar from 500 to 700- associates and 20 million to 400 million in just over a decade !

MukeshIT asked, As we have NASSCOM for the IT Companies, how do you see as a similar organization for Employees across the nation so that the skill, remuneration and career path can be normalize.
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Why should salaries be "normalized " - High performers should get higher returns surely !

sand_krish asked, Hi Ganesh, You are bigger than Zensar as a company. It is so with many IT companies in Bangalore. After the big guy leaves ..nothing much is there. What is your sustainability and succession plan for Zensar ? Thanks
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Zensar has layers of leadership who have all been with us for many years and do outstanding work. We are building an institution for all Zensarians to be proud of !

saipavan asked, Ganesh, dont you think IT is the real reason for day to day costs going up in our country. Real estate, schools etc.. Dont you think it is a very wrong direction that our country is right now heading into. A normal person should be able to afford everything within his limits regardless of whatever job he does
Ganesh Natarajan answers, IT has transformed our country and the new book I am writing focuses on technologies for an inclusive India. I am sure we have added value to every life and every country we have touched !

ajaygavandi asked, What will be in-house IT department future in next cloud computing age?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, In house IT departments have as important a role to paly as external consultants

BV asked, Hello Ganesh, How is Zensar building non-linear revenue growth? Indian IT Companies have a lot to catch up and move away from resource based revenue models - would u agree?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, Yes of course but the transformation is happening - our focus is today on IP creationa nd platforms and that will drive much greater revenue streams in future !

sand_krish asked, What do you think are the top 3 short term challenges for Indian IT industry ?
Ganesh Natarajan answers, The top three challenges are growth growth and growth - thats true for the country for all companies and for all of us !

Ganesh Natarajan says, Okay folks all good things come to an end and so does this chat - its been great chatting with you and thank you to Rediff for providing this opportunity. All of you have a great day and make the best out of your career opportunities - in IT and beyond !