IT companies buying product companies in a desperate bid to innovate .. let us 
just say that I’ve seen a lot of that happen at a previous workplace.

The usual end result is that the founders and key employees quit in disgust 
after a while and those that are left are gradually absorbed into the company 
doing something totally different than what they set out to do.  

And meanwhile the product itself is killed off immediately, or maybe dies a 
slow and lingering death with a few legacy customers left behind and 
practically zero further development.

Big companies that don’t have DNA beyond being pushers of software that most if 
not all users have a visceral hatred for, and/or bloated services contracts, 
are absolutely not going to infuse any magical fresh DNA into them by acquiring 
successful product companies

The prospect of such foreign DNA taking root in the company is far less than in 
the case of an organ transplant – the sort you get in mad scientist movies 
where a scientist transplants human dna / tissue / whatever into an ape and 
suddenly ends up with a super intelligent planet of the apes or Gorilla Grodd 
variety animal.

Mohandas Pai is a smug and opinionated twit but he got one thing right though. 
The software industry didn’t die – it will survive and it will probably hang 
on, but the traditional indian (or even foreign) services model is long dead in 
favour of automation.  The only things that won’t be automated to a large 
extent are higher up the value chain than such companies generally play around 
at.   And the hanging on will be the way a really old and sick man keeps 
hanging on – perpetually in the chasm between Allopathy and Tirupathi.

In other words, the days of 15% raises are dead and gone, companies outsourcing 
basic bargain basement sysadmin and datacentre work will outsource far less 
after automating the hell out of everything they can, testing will be automated.

Of all the cash cows out there, telemarketing and support still needs humans to 
a larger extent and will hang on but higher up the value chain – because a lot 
of it has moved to social media, marketing rules in this space have tightened 

And even that is going way down after all the tech support scams in India that 
flourish tarring even the legit players with the same brush, with at least some 
of the legit players looking wistfully at the “upsell” angle that, if pushed a 
few hairs farther down the line, becomes those scams where someone claims to be 
“tech support” for your OS or device manufacturer and cons you into paying for 
a $50 a month perpetual contract.


On 19/10/16, 10:15 AM, "silklist on behalf of Deepak Shenoy" 
< on behalf of> wrote:

    Apologies for the plug but I wrote a piece a year back:
    So my point is that the problem isn't with IT companies - they will survive
    as IBM and HP etc have, and perhaps grow in single digit percentages and
    generally get a lot lower price to earnings multiples. They do stuff no one
    currently wants to do and overhauling a system to use stuff that other
    smart people want to use is too expensive. (Like COBOL - it may be outdated
    and all that but it still forms the basis for an irrationally large part of
    banking) This work will continue until you have removed the very need for
    the basis that the older software has been required, so there will always
    be business for the Infy/TCS/Cognizant types from this kind of maintenance
    But things can change very fast. 10 years ago I couldn't imagine that BigCo
    would be able to manage something like 5000 servers using less than 5
    people including bringing more up when required, at run time, with complete
    reporting/control available even on a mobile phone app. It's possible now.
    It's routine now. And as more companies are discovering it is, the on-site
    and off-site infrastructure work that was handled by the IT cos has seen
    dwindling business. SAP now offers a cloud based pre-setup solution, where
    you need none of the server infrastructure - only the initialization pieces
    which the IT cos still do; but at some point SAP will create modules that
    are one-click installs for the kind of industry you are in.
    Automation isn't robotics - you don't need machine learning or AI for most
    of the work required. For instance much of the testing work that is done
    tends to be checklist driven, and some of that has already been automated
    at multiple levels using tools. What these IT cos should have been doing is
    buying the product companies that build these tools, but they simply don't
    have the DNA. (I would even say buy minority stakes in them with a board
    seat) Their own products are absolutely crap; see the quality of the stuff
    TCS and Infy have built for say the MCA, versus teh quality of design that
    seems to be in teh new Modi camp ( for instance or such).
    I heard of a bigco - a friend works there - where an insurance company was
    being pitched by various vendors for a certain solution. The big Indian
    names went in with the powerpoint smoke and mirrors thing and offered
    things like 6 months to a year to finish with X headcount etc. A russian
    company with the founders as programmers pitched a working prototype that
    they said would take a couple more weeks to finalize and they'd get it live
    in amonth at a cost that was not even in the same area code forget the
    ballpark. They actually won the project and BigCo guys had multiple
    meetings to "create risk mitigation techniques" and such things. It's kinda
    I think if IT cos react, they will get lean. If they get lean, many many
    people - and I'm speaking thousands in bangalore alone - will find out that
    their skills are drastically short of the real world requirement of jobs.
    This is the problem - not that the IT cos won't survive. IMHO.
    Deepak Shenoy
    Capital Mind: Financial Macro and Market Analytics
    Twitter: @deepakshenoy
    On 16 October 2016 at 15:34, Bhaskar Dasgupta <> wrote:
    > i was interviewing for one of the IT corporates some time back for their
    > COO position and once i managed to dig a bit into their financials, i
    > backed out. the majority of their revenue streams are from processing in
    > advanced stuff, processing code, processing transactions, processing
    > quality control. They do this very well. Very very well. standardise the
    > process, six sigma the shit out of it, hire the great unwashed herd of
    > graduates pouring out of the universities - retrain them to be great
    > processors and great business model. But this kind of model is very
    > susceptible to dis-intermediation from further advances in technology. 
    > I asked if can have some serious seed funding to develop products rather
    > than just provide services, there was a bit of a hoo ha. I think a product
    > plus service model is the best option, create great products and then have
    > a long tail in services and maintenance contracts. we have some of these
    > products but not enough. not easy to develop products - the eco-system
    > isn’t there yet.
    > so whilst i don’t think its the end of the road, but for example, every 2
    > months I am in a conference where vendors pitch up talking about robotic
    > process improvement or AI and how they are showing 20–50% reduction in 
    > bodies in agency/outsourced/offshored units. Where will these 20-50% of
    > highly trained processors go when the infosys or TCS lets them go?
    > Thankfully the economy is ginormous and we are well accustomed to poverty
    > and pain and still have the joint / extended family to fall back upon. But
    > for the IT industry? pain...
    > i agree with Srini, changing careers is not easy for us desi’s….(says the
    > man who has made a career of changing careers, heh).

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