Global CIO: IBM Exec Says India Will 'Lead Second Wave Of IT Adoption' - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
9/23/2009
07:30 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: IBM Exec Says India Will 'Lead Second Wave Of IT Adoption'

Indian companies were much less likely to slash IT budgets during the recession than other firms, and an IBM exec says that makes those Indian firms "more forward-looking." Is that the case?

An IBM VP said many Indian companies continued to invest in IT during the recession "because they seem to be more forward-looking than their counterparts in the West and around the world." By virtue of that commitment to IT-driven business innovation, he said, "India is poised to lead the second wave of IT adoption."

I think his ideas contain a great deal of merit, regardless of how they might make us in the U.S. feel.

I also think he and IBM could be in for a lot of blowback—some of it ugly—for daring to give voice to opinions that are strongly supported by facts. And I certainly hope I'm wrong because such an outcome would be not only terribly unfair and misguided but also highly counterproductive for any company that wants to be able to compete in a marketplace of ideas and innovation that runs around the globe and around the clock.

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Some quick background and context: as reported earlier this week by an Indian news organization, IBM conducted in July a survey that included 40 Indian companies. Among its findings were these very positive reflections on the attitudes of Indian companies regarding IT investments and IT adoption:

*In countries other than India, 37% of all companies surveyed said they had slashed their IT budgets during the global economic downturn. But within India, the corresponding number was only 15%.

*Asked if they'd like to be the first adopters of new technologies, 40% of Indian companies said yes, while only 11% said no.

Enter Surjit Chana, who is based in Armonk and whose global role is VP of marketing for IBM's General Business division, which encompasses IBM's business partners within the company's Sales & Distribution organization. In a Monday interview with the Press Trust of India in Mumbai, Chana stressed the important role in the global economy played by small and medium-sized businesses, which are served by Chana's organization through its global network of business partners.

Because India's huge population (about 1.2 billion people) and its current stage of economic development make it a vast incubator for SMBs, Chana noted that the IBM division serving those customers via business partners is one of the fastest-growing parts of IBM India.

Warming to his subject, Chana said SMBs account for more than 90% of the world's jobs, produce in total more patents than large corporations, and "serve as the engines" behind much of the growth in industries and countries around the world.

In that context, and with reference to the survey results noted above, Chana said the following:

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