Harvard Business Online

The Leading Edge Has Shifted


Posted on Harvard Business Review: March 1, 2010 5:00 PM

The nascent economic recovery is leading to the creation of a new reality for global businesses in the mature market. Pankaj's article is spot on in many respects and I can identify with the new directions from what I have witnessed during the last few years.

At Tata Consulting Services, we built our business model working with the global 2000 companies by servicing them out of their local market and India until a few years ago. We realized the need for expanding into emerging markets for couple of reasons: (1) our global clients will need strong IT capability in these markets to support their expansion and (2) we saw strong companies from these markets emerge as global leaders. So, we invested in building a global capability through a strong delivery presence in big emerging markets like China, Mexico, Brazil and Eastern Europe.

Has this changed? I have spent significant time listening to customers across the globe during the last eighteen months. Clearly, customers everywhere are looking for innovation both in operationally becoming more efficient and in the way they deliver their products and services. But I see a particularly strong appetite going forward for new technologies and business models in the emerging markets that we specialize in, which is very much in line with Pankaj's observations.

For instance, I've seen the new cloud-based computing models for applications and processes gaining currency in emerging markets. Rural cooperative banks and small and medium businesses in India are actually far ahead of their western counterparts in adopting these models. In fact, companies from emerging markets, buoyed by strong domestic revenues and revival in growth, have been making adjustments to their global strategies and fine-tuning their investments in order to be part of the recovery process in the west and build on their global expansion plans.

Internally, the crisis and the resulting slowdown forced us to take a deep look at all our processes internally and bring in efficiencies. It has helped to create a firm-wide awareness on the need for continually optimizing our internal processes. Fortunately for us, our business model stays very relevant. While we are building new capabilities and constructing new business models based on what we hear from customers, we are continuing to expand our presence both in mature as well as emerging markets.


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