Software giant Computer Associates plans to set up its first Asian technology centre in India, but claims this will not be at the expense of European or US investment.
Marc Sokol, senior vice president of the company?s advanced technology group, stressed that CA?s $100 million investment in India over the next five years was not a relocation of resources. ?The development is all supplemental. We?re hiring in Europe, the UK and the US. It is part of our expansion.?
He added: ?This is our first strategic entry into Asia. We have the distributors there, the technical savvy and the information technology is growing.? The centre will focus on development, particularly of the Unicenter system management flagship, and on sales and distribution to the Asian continent.
Ravi Sangal, president of research company IDC in India, was not surprised by CA?s move, which follows the establishment of development centres in the subcontinent by many software houses including Microsoft and Siemens. Like these, CA is determined to become a big player in a booming market.
?A corporation can take advantage of local resources available at lower prices. It is a very logical step for a software company to take,? Sangal said.
But Sokol claimed cheap labour is not a factor. ?The labour cost is the minimum part in developing good software. Software development is not a science. It takes creative people who work hard and are efficient.?
He believes that customers care less about cost savings being passed on in the shape of cheaper products, and are more concerned about a product?s ?new functionality and whether it is easier to implement?.
Sangal agreed that the quality of engineers is the key attraction to India. ?India produces the second largest scientific pool in the world, with software engineers and programmers of a very high quality,? he explained. ?A lot of money has been invested in terms of setting up the infrastructure and training so that the global market can be tapped into.?
Sokol promises that the centre will be uniquely tailored to Indian business culture. ?We will be opening training centres, research centres, holding seminars, setting up sales offices and helping form small businesses. We will also be developing solutions to our company?s products.?
Particular emphasis will be placed on creating products and modules that extend Unicenter, he added.
Sangal warns there are also disadvantages to setting up in India. ?The government machinery is too slow, with lots of wasted time, which is inefficient. The unstable political system means that decisions can be delayed.?
However, Sokol is confident of the project?s success and predicts that CA will be opening 15-20 small research centres. ?We have moved fairly well through the bureaucracy of establishing research centres. The small companies will have the benefit of speed compared to the slowness of big companies,? he said. ?We have a lot of interest from companies and individuals starting up and having their headquarters there. In six months we will have a clearer overall picture.?
He concluded: ?CA is seeking many different ways to deliver effective products and get a competitive advantage for its customers and will go as far as the Indian sub-continent to achieve this.?
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