Monday, August 25, 2008

'Mature BPO players are providing platform-based solutions to many of their customers'

The transforming BPO landscape

The last few years have seen the Indian BPO (business process outsourcing) industry ride the offshore wave to its advantage, both in terms of business as well as employment opportunities.
However, with the current slowdown in the US (a geography the Indian BPO industry has been overly dependent on), and the issues relating to sub-prime that one has seen over the last 18 months or so, it was natural to believe that the industry may be in for a rough time, in the days ahead, with a negative impact on growth and hiring. S. Vaitheeswaran, Vice-President & SBU Head, Infosys BPO, views the situation slightly differently and actually sees enough opportunities for growth, as the industry looks to go further up the value chain with new business and delivery models.


Friday, August 22, 2008

'One should also look at using the waste to generate power'

‘Changing lifestyles leading to more garbage in Chennai’

Chennai, Aug. 20 The Chennai-based Neel Metal Fanalca Environment Management Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between Neel Metal Products Ltd, India and Fanalca, S.A Colombia, has said that it is targeting to break even this financial year.
The company, which has invested over Rs 30 crore in its operations here, operates in four zones in Chennai and is involved in sweeping of roads, door to door collection and transfer of garbage to transfer station and transporting it to landfills. The company gets a tipping fee from the corporation for the garbage sent to the landfill and is free to sell the material segregated.
During a recent interaction with Business Line, Mr Vinay Maheshwari, Director, Neel Metal Fanalca, stressed the need to go beyond waste management.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

'Our plan is to firm up the automobile vertical as it is yet to become mainstream'

‘Your scrap is my asset’

With continual improvements in supply chain practices, coupled with the adoption of JIT (just in time) inventory methodologies, it may be logical to expect the elimination of inventory build-up and the problem of surplus inventory. But no, sale of scrap material is an integral part of the manufacturing process, says S. JaganniVasan, founder and managing director of Matex Net Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. “And I believe this will continue to grow,” he adds.


'Healthcare cannot be compromised'

Understanding urology

Urology, also known as genito-urinary surgery, has come a long way, says Dr C. L. Ashok Kumar, Consultant Urologist, Chennai. “The patient must utilise the technology usefully in the correct perspective instead of dissection, discussion and hair-splitting,” he advises, during a recent lunch-hour interaction at Business Line.


'CFOs were beginning to hear the "broking" word for the first time'

`Insurers have begun to collaborate more often than to confront'

Has insurance broking really taken off in India? The answer to this really depends on one's expectations, says Mr C. Radhakrishna, co-promoter, India Insure. "It is a brand new industry segment, born (unlike as in other countries) in a regulated and restricted market, where it has been difficult for the broker to demonstrate value addition to the demanding corporate customer," he adds.


Monday, August 11, 2008

'Books have been the key driver of our growth'

Making e-com a compelling buy

The founder and COO of online shopping mall (formerly, K. Vaitheeswaran, says his is ‘a small but ambitious’ company. Over the next three years, he is looking at making the company amongst the top three book retailers (including physical retailers) across the country. In July 2007, when the seventh Harry Potter book was launched worldwide, IndiaPlaza was the largest retailer in India for this book, surpassing all physical chains and has since repeated this feat in a few more titles, he says. The company recently announced the IndiaPlaza Golden Quill Book Awards, offering two cash awards worth Rs 1 lakh each, as a likely annual feature.


'To destroy formula film-making and invent new narrative techniques are the needs of the hour'

`The idea is to set up a global market for ethnic Tamil films'

According to estimates, there are over eight crore Tamils around the world. From the oldest Tamil communities in southern India and in the North-Eastern fringes of Sri Lanka, Tamils also form a major emigrant community in countries such as Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, Mauritius, Australia, Canada, the US, and even Europe. With such a captive audience at its disposal, no wonder that some film-makers are looking at ways to crack that market.
Meet Mr Perumal Samy Srinivasan. After `divorcing' journalism early, the `rebel' from Coimbatore could not resist the pull of the visual canvas. "Well, it all started as just an adventure into a creative domain. Maybe the adventurous thought was the spark. No clue where I would end up," says Mr Srinivasan who is making a Tamil movie that starts and ends in just 90 minutes with live recording of sound on the spot.


'M&A deals are always high profile transactions attracting a lot of attention'

Why MBOs win over simple M&As

Management buy-out (MBO) deals help in reducing the scope for disputes. Mind you, some disputes can derail the entire transaction. All that we get to hear after such a `failed deal' is one scorned party voicing its opinion, if at all. "As the buyer is fully aware of the business, there are fewer chances for dispute about the quality of the business. MBOs do really add value to the M&A deals through greater synergy value flowing from independence and autonomy to the management and strategy, backed with sufficient commitment on investment. Such higher synergy value provides for sufficient cushion for the buyer and seller to compromise on many areas of dispute," notes Mr M. R. Rajaram, a chartered accountant by profession, who has been associated with ICI India for more than 35 years.


'The world has become addicted to artificially cheap Chinese goods'

`China has run out of road with its low-cost labour strategy'

Teenage labourers, torn between corruption and administration, and a communist nation with capitalist ambitions and home to the cheapest goods one can ever desire: that pretty much sums up China these days. Their price does the trick, and that too every time. What drives the Chinese? "I believe we are all fundamentally the same: we all want a better life for ourselves and our children. The Chinese are no exception. But unlike some other countries, they are still emerging from an era of great isolation and deprivation. Take, for example, Li Luyuan, one of the women whose story I tell in the book. She comes from a poor family of watermelon farmers in eastern China, but dreams of a job as a saleswoman, far from the life her parents live," remarks Ms Alexandra Harney, author of The China Price.


'3G is the next big step in mobile communications'

3G policy: What’s in it for customer, investor?

The third generation is finally here! Yes, 3G, the most anxiously awaited by telecom operators and subscribers has arrived. The higher speed that 3G provides will enable subscribers to download data much more quickly such as gaming, video calling and downloading video clips etc. But that’s from the side of the consumers. What does 3G hold for you, if you are an investor in telecom companies? “While all this sounds hunky-dory, there are big questions that operators will have to face once they launch services. Since India has one of the lowest average revenues per user (ARPU) globally, the demand for such services may be quite limited,” cautions Mr Prashant Singhal, Telecom Industry Leader, Ernst & Young. However, he provides a silver lining.


'Preventing foreign inflows, an act of ‘insanity’'

Investors should consider fixed income assets: Rogers

Hapless investors who have had enough of disappointments from stocks this year, could look at other opportunities. Short-term fixed income could be ‘one option’, says American investor and financial commentator Mr Jim Rogers.
“I am selling short longer-term fixed income assets in various parts of the world. Long rates will be going higher in most of the world,” he adds. “Commodities remain the ‘other alternative’.”
With Asian governments such as like India and China already beginning initiatives to douse the inflation fire, short-term bond yields may not drop further, making them relatively safe investments.
“The Chinese are rightfully trying to stop it as are several other governments. Once inflation takes hold, it is very difficult and expensive to break it,” Mr Rogers told Business Line from Singapore over the email.


Monday, August 4, 2008

'Today the university syllabus lacks on the content needed by the IT industry'

‘Regulate software training’

If you thought computer training is too dull a subject to talk about, think again. Here is S. Gopal, CEO of Nace Solutions P Ltd, Chennai, who is aggressively growing a training company. Starting with one centre at T. Nagar in the city a year ago, and having today more than 17 centres in South India and one in Kingdom of Bahrain, he has plans to touch the 200-centre mark in India by 2009. Though originally thought of as ‘National Academy for Computer Engineering’ Nace — which is a part of the two-decade-old Swamy Abedhanandha Educational Trust that runs a polytechnic in Thellar, Vandavasi Taluk, Tiruvannamalai — offers both proprietary and open source technology training.


'For drug discovery and development, students need to be educated to an appropriate level'

Young people underestimate the prospects and opportunities in India

Every time when we swallow a tablet, we ignore the technique behind its making. A tablet is not made on a tablet press as commonly believed; instead it is made in the `granulation' process: a technique mastered by a native of Thirukkovilur.
Meet Dr Bindhumadhavan Gururajan, Senior Scientist, working to develop products at Anglo-Swedish drug company AstraZeneca's Research and Development centre at Leicestershire, UK. While today he is recognised as a renowned expert on granulation, for Dr Bindhu (as he is affectionately called), it was not easy to know that powdered sugar would be difficult to compress into a tablet and granulated sugar would be easy to compress!