Security and privacy key issues in US-India BPO relations

Hyderabad | Updated: Oct 15 2004, 05:30am hrs
Security and privacy are the two major issues needed to be addressed by the Indian software industry to have an increased and long-term outsourcing contracts from the US, said the president of Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), Harris N Miller, which has over 375 direct members, including Fortune 500 companies.

Though job loss is considered to be a major issue and will continue to be raised by the Congress for years to come, however, given the opposition and concern over sharing important data with Indian companies, security and privacy will remain the bone of contention, said Mr Miller.

Addressing the CEOs Forum on Getting to Wow - Is IT realising its Promise here on Thursday, Mr Miller said that the US companies are still sceptical over the security and privacy issues, while outsourcing jobs to Indian companies. Given the few incidents in the recent past, it is of utmost importance for the software companies in India to address these two crucial issues, he added.

According to Mr Miller, another important issue is about sharing employess information to ensure that data and vital information of an outsourcing company is secured and protected. This issue also calls for an immediate action, he added. It is to be noted that given the increasing manpower cost in India coupled with the demand for multi-locational operations from the US companies, countries like the Philippines, Ireland and Mexico may pose a threat to India in due course of time. Even countries such as China, Russia and Hungary are also gearing up on the IT front in a big way, he added.

There are a number of global issues, obstacles and challenges such as internet governance, taxation, privacy, commercial practices, security, trade, telecom infrastructure, etc, that are calling for immediate attention, Mr Miller pointed out.

It is believed that the US President George Bush, if elected again, will continue to focus on national security, and concerns about dependence on foreign software. There is a greater likelihood of potential regulatory and legislative restrictions on offshore outsourcing by financial services, energy, transportation, public utilities and other sectors, he said.

Talking about the opposition candidate, Mr Miller said that if John Kerry gets elected as President, he is expected to increase focus on privacy concerns as well as tax policies.

On Getting to Wow, Mr Miller said that while internetworking provides the key, electronic commerce opens the door. Business strategies must be redefined to take companies across this threshold and to ensure that public policy must not erect barriers to attain the goal.

All the pieces are in place and only one thing stands in the way, which is our willingness to make it happen, Mr Miller concluded.