Business Today

Cover story | May 17, 2009

The top tier voices its different fears

Top honchos respond to the darkest hour of the Indian information technology industry.

Indian IT's darkest hour

For the first time since the dotcom bust, infotech majors face the prospect of decline in revenues and profits. What does this mean for the future of IT services, tech jobs and tech stocks?

Hope on the distant horizon

If Indian IT services gets its act together, it could grow by six times by 2020. That’s a big if.

Darkest before dawn?

The bearish sentiment in the information technology sector—which a section of analysts feels is overdone— may actually be a good opportunity to pick select stocks on the cheap, for the long term. Virendra Verma goes into the details.

Surviving the apocalypse

Declining growth is forcing IT services majors to stop hiring freshers. Where do the wannabe techies go?

Going out on a limb

Tech Mahindra grabs a cost-effective opportunity to diversify its business model, but it now has to integrate an unknown animal in what’s going to be Indian IT services’ toughest year ever. E. Kumar Sharma reports.

Why did the top tier stay away?

Satyam’s apparent low valuation wasn’t exciting enough to attract the top tier of IT services—Indian and global—towards a risk-riddled acquisition.


Golden opportunity

Gold has become an attractive option for investors over the short to medium term. Several new and innovative schemes for investing in the yellow metal have been launched recently.

In This Issue

Beats of success

Four young musicians from Bangalore are helping companies improve the team spirit of their employees and heighten productivity by organising ‘drum circles’. And they are making a cool profit as well, finds out K.R. Balasubramanyam.

'We are taking our India lessons outside'

Simon Beresford-Wylie, Chief Executive Officer of the world’s second-largest mobile equipment vendor, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), is a veteran of the Indian telecom market. Over 14 years ago, he played a crucial role in establishing India’s first mobile network, Modi-Telstra, in Kolkata. Years later, he has returned to India, making the country the service delivery hub for NSN worldwide with over 20,000 employees. He spoke to BT’s Kushan Mitra.


Yesterday's CEO today's entrepreneur

The slowdown was just the kick-start that most of these dyed-in-the-wool corporate honchos needed to fulfill their dream of starting up on their own.

Feeling at home

Come upturn or downturn, Arpit Agarwal will keep rolling, looking for new opportunities and challenges.

A break with the future?

Partho Dasgupta flags off his own vehicle to ride on media opportunities in the consumption sector.

Healing touch

Deepak Ghaisas sees a future—and a business model—in personalised medicine.

Relationship manager

Mitra sees a business opportunity in improving interpersonal relationships at organisations.

Follow the leader

Ravi Sharma to MNCs: Hold my hand and I will show you the way to do business.

India cheerleader

Renault’s first employee in the country is going it alone after learning most of the tricks of the trade.

Greenhorn entrepreneurs

Stifled by a lack of growth and frozen hikes, many youngsters have turned entrepreneurs. While talent and real estate are going cheap, funding is scarce and gun-shy investors are taking longer to firm up their plans. Will these greenhorn entrepreneurs survive?

Campus interview? No Thanks!

A downturn augurs well for start-ups, and a number of engineering and B-school graduates are grabbing this opportunity.

Editor's Note

From the editor: May 17, 2009

Information technology, or simply it. On college campuses, these two words have been a source of ambition and aspiration. On stock markets, they have symbolised wealth creation. In Indian industry, they have represented the very best in new entrepreneurship.

Top Mind

Widgets on your TV?

Adobe has devised a system by which you can check out your favourite online content while watching TV.



Appointed: Naina Lal Kidwai, who was until now the CEO of HSBC in India, as the country head and chairperson of all HSBC Group companies in India.

Deal Watch

AAA United BV acquires 21% stake in Bombay Rayon Fashions

In a deal valued at Rs 333 crore, AAA United BV, promoted by European fashion retailer Bestseller, has acquired a 20.67 per cent stake in Bombay Rayon Fashions, a fast-growing fashion garments exporting company.

Reporters Diary

Politically correct

P. Chidambaram—who during his various stints as finance minister has come to be seen as the champion of economic reforms in the country—communicates reforms to his people and, in fact, implements them. He is one politician who can sell good economics as good politics. N. Madhavan visits his constituency, Sivaganga, to test the hypothesis.


Understanding railway‚??s miracle

This book explores how a chronically loss-making, state-run enterprise was transformed into a money machine—offering key lessons to even the best-run private companies.


How fit are you? Find out!

In order to help you find out where you stand accurately, Men’s Health experts have put together the following test which will assess your baseline fitness based on five fundamentals.

Printed Circuit

Beyond Full HD

There is more to intelligent TV buying than knowing the difference between a plasma and an LCD or telling Full HD from HD Ready. Step into an electronics store and you will be confronted with terms such as response rate, hertz rate and WiseLink—all totalling up to a price difference of more than Rs 20,000 even between two Full HD LCDs of the same size. KUSHAN MITRA explains some of these terms to help you make a better purchase.


ICICI's first among equals

It’s a demonstration of an institution’s bench strength that within days of two of their top honchos putting in their papers, their replacements were announced: Especially when the outgoers have nursed the businesses since inception. This is exactly what ICICI Group did recently.

Leadership Spotlight

The change agent

In her 28 years at ICICI Group, Shikha Sharma has earned the reputation of the woman with the Midas touch, making a success of every division she has started.


Instant tip

The fortnight’s burning question. Will we see a further slashing of interest rates by the RBI in the short term?

FDI's steady march

While global giants such as China have seen a drop in FDI, foreign firms continue to plough money into India.

'800 GW Power Capacity by 2032'

Philippe Guillemot, Chairman and CEO of Areva, T&D, a global power transmission and distribution giant, spoke to BT’s Rahul Sachitanand.

The end of rate cuts?

The RBI has announced another round of rate cuts but banks are not following suit in bringing down lending rates.

India Inc. gears up for new accounting standards

Most Indian firms are confident of meeting the 2011 IFRS deadline, though some problems remain, finds an Ernst & Young survey.

70 per cent below target

The power ministry has missed its capacity addition targets for the second year in a row.

Numbers of note

$744,000(Rs 3.72 cr): Money donated by producers of Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire for providing education, health, water and sanitation needs, besides protection of the kids living in a central Mumbai slum

Tracking youth behaviour

They’re smitten by the Internet and mobile phones. But young Indians also read newspapers and play cricket, finds a study.

Fan loyalty measured

A study by Dentsu Sports, a division of Dentsu, says there are four factors that help people decide team loyalties: Human factor (HF), Perceived Energy (PE), Performance and Engagement.

The Indian media future tense

There is very little good news for the media in 2009 as companies drastically reduce their advertising budgets.

To be precise

In any competitive environment, there will be some who excel and some who do not. There will always be winners and losers. It is not a reflection of how they (employees who have been asked to leave on the basis of their performance) will do in another company or in future.

Goodwill risk for Indian companies

As various company boards meet to finish their audited accounts, three items are definitely going to be on their agenda apart from the financial results: foreign exchange losses, derivatives losses and impairment of assets (or goodwill).

Gems not desired

The annual performance report by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council shows that the second half of the year saw a decline of 18.88 per cent in export earnings.


'It is a good time to invest'

Some 16 months ago, Anthony Bolton, the 55-year-old MD (Investments) of Fidelity International, passed on the baton to a younger breed of fund managers at Fidelity Special Situations Fund, a value-focussed, often contrarian equity portfolio, in the UK.

Male surge in female bastion

Hit by pay cuts and job losses, more and more men are queuing up to join the direct selling industry. What’s the big draw?

Family first

Aggressive posturing by Bharat Hotels and its top honcho is seeing it go places– both in India and overseas.

The monsoon stimulus

Forecast of a near-normal monsoon has raised hopes that India’s agricultural growth might stay on track and prevent the GDP from slipping under six per cent.

Pantaloon's Gambit

The restructuring of Pantaloon Retail is being seen as a well-planned move to get FDI to fund expansion of its retail business.


Searching for growth

Volkswagen is one of many foreign automakers—with the exception of well-entrenched, market leaders Maruti and Hyundai— who are busy expanding their plants and launching new product lines in India, despite the global economic slowdown and flat auto sales. Foreign automakers’ still plan of investing in new plants and products in India. Clifford Alvares reports.

Cut, cut, cut!

Actors and producers unite to press for a 50 per cent share of ticket sales at  multiplexes. Multiplexes say they are ready to strike a deal only on the ‘performance’ of a movie, and would rather shut shop than do a losing deal on revenues. Shamni Pande & Anusha Subramanian report.

Back to basics

Slowdown is a time to refrain from the adventurous and return to the safe, tried and tested. Here’s a walk through what’s once again in flavour and what’s gone out the window.


Developing leaders in a downturn

Turning current business challenges into leadership development opportunities will ensure faster bottom-line impact, and accelerate the development of future leaders, say Faridun Dotiwala and Gautam Kumra of McKinsey.

How to sell your product without a single ad

The success of Swave-boards in many countries represents one of the most successful examples of “Diffusion of Innovation” and many companies can learn from it.


Wanted: Legal Eagles

The Legal Process Outsourcing industry offers a new career opportunity, with substantial pay packets.