The ANALyst

Leverage, optimise, synergise

ANALysis of the Emerging Economy

Perhaps I should clarify that this is an analysis of my company only and not the country as a whole. Before I begin, let me ask you a question:

What if Superman never ever realized he had special powers?

The question above seems to best summarize the situation at my new company (referred to as The Company henceforth). The Company is basically an offshore office of a large global entity, as is common in the Emerging Economy. It was initially setup with the idea of reducing costs – surprise surprise!!!

However, in the years since the office was setup, two important things have happened:

  1. People in the Emerging Economy have picked up vital skills, so much so, that they could replace any of their counterparts in the west. And given that there is no shortage of people here, it means there is no shortage of skills.
  2. People in the west, seeing that a lot of their work can now be done by cheaper resources offshore, have moved away from developing skills in these areas. Which means, fewer skilled people in the west.

These factors combined with the global financial crisis have resulted in the offshore office becoming a key strategic partner of the wider organization – you would think this puts the offshore delivery center in a rather envious and powerful position, doesn’t it!

It does – only, no one here seems to realize the leverage they hold. The idea of taking control does not seem to have occurred as of now. The idea that their position allows them to do truly wonderful things and become something like a power sharing center, just hasn’t occurred. Now don’t get me wrong – I am not suggesting a mutiny or anything silly of that sort – but I am saying that knowing what you are capable of and where you stand not only allows you an advantage compared to the rest of the organization, but also against your competitors. This benefits The Company as a whole.

The other thing that seems to lack here is innovation. Innovation, not in terms of work delivery, but innovation in terms of really designing and coming up with revenue generating opportunities. Somehow, the people here tend to believe that all the thinking must be done at the mothership. Reality check – new ideas don’t necessarily come from the 60 year old veterans but from the young people coming out of college – does not matter where in the world they happen to be located.

Much as I love the Emerging Economy, and I think this place has great potential (for my wallet too), I am a bit frustrated at how little the people here work towards empowering themselves. If only they knew what they could do – the world as we know it would change significantly!

It’s as if Superman hasn’t yet been enlightened!

September 19, 2009 - Posted by | Emerging Economy


  1. Dear Banalyst… that’s an awesome thought.

    As a followup though… Do you think the rise of Africa (say Kenya, where there is an English speaking populace) can shove or even gently push the stakes higher for the “established emerging nations?” Philipines, Veitnam etc have already stolen a huge market cap n potential from India- the big bad wolf of outsourcing…

    Comment by Ink Slinger | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  2. Africa is a hidden gem. The potential there is unbelievable, but it still is a very difficult place to invest or do business in (with notable exceptions of course). Having said that the Chinese state machinery really seems to be aggressively entering into China. This will pay them rich dividends in the decades to come.

    Regarding rise of Africa and other eastern Asian nations, I don’t see them affecting India a lot. Yes India started to rise due to the outsourcing boom post the dotcom bust, but India seems to have moved up in the value chain rather quickly. It no longer relies on Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Indian companies are coming of their own and don’t forget India itself is a market of half a billion consumers. Will be interesting to see how things pan out!

    Comment by banalyst | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  3. Great commentary. The one issue is that most of the companies that employ these people are Western. Superman is owned……

    Comment by joeomahoney | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  4. Two counter-arguments 🙂

    1. Skills
    If the West is not developing in certain skills (e.g. all engineering other than mining in Aus), they are still aware of developing skills in other area that may matter. Things that produce control (ie. mostly finance)

    Even with a major super ball-busting recession, Americans still literally control/own a lot of entities/power. And control produces actual wealth, not like skills which only produces a source of income.

    Also the West is already thinking about this. Well the smarter countries anyway. I went to a conference on India in Sweden and they are already thinking about the skills migration/power issue very seriously, and have developed some initial answers. Innovation/design is one of those answers.

    2. Power
    I don’t think the stuff most of these IT powerhouses do in India is not transferable to another country. Only thing to India’s advantage is security (than you Chinese government) and population/hoard of minions (so long Poland).

    Also Indians are now starting to be bought off by dreams of becoming “White”, although I think that’s so stupid. You can’t mimic someone else’s perceived success by taking orders from them.

    Also despite having managed a lot of outsourcers, I think only TCS seems to employ actually smart people and free thinkers. For the rest I say “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”… and not the Andrew Symonds kind either.

    3. Bravery

    To a certain extent, the spoils go to the brave/innovators. The US (besides its War Inc.) is a great example.
    India, at the moment, has a serious lack of leadership/bravery. Mind you, Australia lacks it even more, but at least we’ve some coal to sell in the meantime 🙂

    Comment by Dev | September 14, 2010 | Reply

  5. aplogies…that was 3 arguments 🙂

    Comment by Dev | September 14, 2010 | Reply

  6. damn wordpress got rid of my comments

    Comment by Dev | September 14, 2010 | Reply

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