Sunday, June 24, 2007

Is India a "test" market to train staff or a real GIS market?

So, finally after a long delay, AUGTICS will be launching the Alpha version of "community web-site" for "Society (Apartment/Group Housing) living" . I am very excited that AUGTICS team has created a product that is simple yet powerful. More on this on my next post - very soon!!

I was browsing GIS Development website and read the interview of Mohan Reddy, founder and CMD of Infotech Enterprises. Mohan has done a great job of starting Infotech and making Infotech as one of the top GIS companies in India (revenues in excess of USD 120 Million). So, it's always great to hear/read his view point. In the interview there is one specific Q&A on Indian geospatial market that I am reproducing below (I have highlighted the points that are interesting/relevant to this forum):
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Q. What is the relevance of domestic geospatial market?
A. The domestic market should improve. Due to the lack of a strong domestic market, Indian companies face lot of challenges in the international space. The point is, where will we get the expertise to provide value addition to global customers? If you look at the private sector which started using IT many years ago, as a result of that, you have a strong IT base for the country providing services globally based on experience gained in the domestic market. Coming back to the GIS industry, Survey of India is the only acknowledged mapping agency. There is nothing like a geospatial industry in existence over here. The domestic industry has to take off and there is enormous advantage to derive from it. Because my trainee engineers cannot immediately work on projects overseas, we have to first act locally, with local supervision, which is a cost effective way to train people to provide value added services overseas later on.

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One point comes out clearly. Companies like Infotech look at Indian market for picking up few new skills and train staff and then provide value added service to international clients. Clearly a good strategy!!!


However, there are few completely contrasting view "school of thoughts" are emerging in Indian market! In my past posts, I have referred about a start-up http://www.routeguru.com/

Couple of weeks back RouteGuru was launched for alpha testing. RouteGuru provides simple usable driving direction by using and referring to landmarks, liberally! Something that is very easy for common man to understand. I read review about RouteGuru somewhere and reviewer mentioned that RouteGuru will compete with with local paanwalas and rikshaw-drivers in providing driving directions. What interests me in Routeguru is the "GIS technology" that is applied and also dedication and determination of founder, Avinash Agrawal (an IIT Mumbai graduate, who has worked in the US, Middle East and India for several years and applying his knowledge and skills to serve the Indian market).

So one viewpoint of the Indian market is held by companies like Infotech and the other by new start-up companies like RouteGuru. One views comes from solid experience and proven business leader and other comes from the young entrepreneur, Avinash Agarwal, who has put in his life savings in a start-up venture looking at India as a big market!

I just wish that both contrasting views are strongly up-held in future as well. For that Infotech has to do well in future (more predictable) and "RouteGuru" has to become a viable business!

Manoj Misra

2 comments:

Ravi said...

I have gone throu's the Mr. Reddy interview in GIS Development and sure that most of his views are practical. But I differ from his statement that there is a lack of strong domestic market. It was true before the unveiling of India's Map Policy but now companies are getting heavy GIS projects from state and union government. But the process of these allotment is of typical indian standard. It is not easy to bid because of current indian political and beaurocratic system.
Some time before I came across an statement about the prospects of domestic GIS demand and really it was such huge that good Indian companies like Infotech, RMSI and Rolta can survive for some 10 years.
I wish to see the governments ask companies to take this chance.

Manoj Misra said...

Ravi:

What do you say on RouteGuru?

Manoj

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