The debate over the competitive battle between India and China continues unabated in IT circles. The grounds for the debate though, are increasingly weakening.
The original premise (as also discussed in our book IT and the East) was that China was hardware/manufacturing centric and India was software / services centric. However, the upcoming evolution around cloud computing and cloud services, that is increasingly crunching these two paradigms together may make this ‘old’ debate a moot point. India needs China’s capabilities and vice-versa. An either / or approach means that both countries (and their clients) lose.
Cloud computing will increasingly drive an infrastructure / hardware centric view of the world, especially as the evolving paradigm of ‘Elastic Infrastructure – EI’ (a topic of upcoming research) takes hold. However, for enterprises to actually derive differentiated business value in this new world, a strong services play is essential. This is where the ‘AND’ between India and China comes into play. It is no use holding ones breath waiting for India’s infrastructure quality to improve in the near to medium term, and by the same token for China to address the significant ‘soft’ challenges of language, process, quality, resource quality etc. The energies of the IT industry in both countries is better spent in figuring out how to leverage the complimentary capabilities that they possess and figuring out to pool those capabilities together for the benefit of their global client base.
For example, an increasing value proposition for Indian service providers will be a new role as cloud brokers, which may (will) also require a stronger infrastructure play. Why don’t the Indian companies focus their energies on creating this cloud based infrastructure in China while the services component remains in India, rather than try to reproduce the services delivery capability in China? Similarly, China should leverage its infrastructure and its ISV / technology centric resource mindset to groom and develop those skills further (which actually reduces the language / process / quality burden to some extent) rather than try and beat India at its own game.
If this were to happen, maybe we would have to amend our recent Strategic Planning Assumption (SPA) which stated that 20-25% of the future cloud brokerage vendors will come from amongst the Indian service providers to stating that it would come from amongst successful (a loaded word) alliances between Indian and Chinese service providers!
Worth a thought?
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