India Inc needs a globalised outlook

Updated: Dec 2 2006, 07:25am hrs
INSEADs Roland Berger chaired professor Soumitra Dutta brings a wealth of knowledge to management of technology, its strategic use and business innovation. Prior to joining INSEAD in 1989, Dutta worked with companies like General Electric in the US and Schlumberger in Japan. He has also been at the forefront of the e-lab@ INSEAD initiative as its faculty director. A prolific writer, Prof Dutta also has several books to his credit with the latest being the acclaimed Global Information Technology Report 2005-2006 Leveraging ICT for development. An IIT alumni, Dutta also has a soft corner for India which he visits almost every two months. He talks with Taneesha Kulshrestha on how he is optimistic about Indias growth but sees the need fora more global outlook on the part of Indian companies to retain the competitive edge and gain global leadership.

You have been stressing on the need for Indian companies to become more global in their outlook Why

Globalisation of trade is already an established phenomenon. Leading companies, the world over, realize that to deliver shareholder value and customer needs they need to treat each market differently and cater to its need in a manner specific to them. If Indian companies also want to become world leaders and expand to different geographic markets, they will need to develop international management expertise and the capability of being multi-dimensional in their approach. This can only be done by actively courting international professionals to a companys fold.

As of now, there are very few Indian companies that can boast of such depth in management. They need to work on this work on this front or they will not be able to expand beyond national boundaries.

You work with the World Economic forum for ranking national economy competitiveness. Where do you rate India

India ranks quite high on the competitive index. Infact, it ranks higher than China and other BRIC countries when it comes to national competitiveness. It gained two paces to be ranked 43rd, with advances in technological services. But at the same time, poverty, weak health infrastructure and a large fiscal deficit reduce its positions. Indian needs to constantly innovate to maintain its competitive edge and work towards reducing inequalities of income and living standards while ensuring that all have access to basic amenities . And then there are the usual grouses that need to be taken care of like infrastructure and the quality of talent availability.

What do you see as the core issues and challenges facing the India today

Education would be key. India does enjoy the cost and quality advantage vis-a-vis other countries but to maintain its edge it needs to ensure that it keep on supplying the talent base to fuel this growth.

You are an expert in innovation and management of technology. How important do you think will technology be going forward for companies and countries to retain their competitive edge

Technology and its management will be the defining factor of how companies and countries perform in a world that is getting increasingly connected. One will need to constantly figure new ways of doing business as old business formats and models loose their relevance and have to cater to new market realities. For countries, the leveraging of ICT will empower citizens and go towards achieving national goals. It will also go towards increasing national productivity and growth.

Are Indian companies doing well in the area of technology management. What companies form your pick as the best What sectors do you see doing well going ahead

Leading Indian companies are doing very well and can be compared to the best in the world anywhere. I would also like to point out that they are setting examples for the rest who need to do better.

Auto components, IT, pharma are some sectdrs that I see doing well going ahead. As for the best companies they include the usual names like Infosys, Satyam, Reliance among others.

You have the experience of teaching at INSEAD, a world renowned management institute. Do you see Indian IIMs joining the league of internationally acclaimed management colleges

Indian IIMs need to do what Indian companies need, that is, become more global in their outlook. For doing the same, they need a more international faculty on their teaching staff and a mixed pool of global students who then bring in their own experiences to broaden the learning process. They too have the potential to become the best like India but need to work on it.