AUGUST 4, 2002
 Cover Story
 Personal Finance
 Case Game
 Back of the Book

Nasscom Does Some Brain Racking
Slowdown or not, NASSCOM is still eyeing Indian software revenues of $77 billion by 2008. Just what will make it happen? To get a strategy together, it got some top minds to meet in Hyderabad at the India it and ITEs Strategy Summit 2002. A report on what came of it.

Q&A With Ashraf Dimitri
The CEO of Oasis Technology, a key provider of e-payments software, tries to win over converts to a new system.

More Net Specials
Business Today,  July 21, 2002
Desk-Top Yoga
A company finds an innovative way to get its employees to stretch.

It's called desktop yoga, but there's nothing virtual about it. Health-freak Harsh Singh Lohit, the CEO of Techspan-the company serves only fresh fruit juice in its office-got exec-plus-qualified-yoga-instructor Rabia Priyadarshini to put everyone on a Yoga regimen. No mats, no dress code, and freedom from typical keyboard cruncher ailments like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), that's the promise of Priyadarshini's Desktop Yoga. A sampling.

Glut For The Guillotine?
Tech Troubadour

Sit on your chair and pull back away from the desk, resting your palms on the desktop. Lift the ribs up, let the shoulder blades slide towards the desk, make sure the head is extended from the spine with the chin towards the chest.

Stand by your desk and place your palms on the desk top with the fingers pointing toward your body. Stretch the lower arm and wrist. Useful for CTS sufferers. Releases tension in the wrist by stretching it in the opposite direction to what it is placed in when at the computer.

Reach the right arm into the air, exhale, bend the elbow and reach your fingers down the back. Bring the left hand up behind your back and try to hold your right hand. Relaxes frozen shoulders. Opens your lungs as you are sitting straight and stretching your spine.

Hug your arms around your chest and then put one elbow under the other, the hands facing each other and fingers to the ceiling. Exhale and raise the arms so that elbows come up to the height of the shoulder, keep the shoulders down. Repeat on the other side. Flexes stiff shoulder blades.

Sit upright, relax shoulders and extend the side torso up. Relax your facial muscles, the jaw and tongue. Circle the eyes clockwise and then counter-clockwise eight times. Close your eyes and breathe deeply a few times. Let those facial muscles go.

Sit on your chair, feet planted on the floor, sitting bones pressing into the chair. Extend the side torso, and twist to the right, one hand on back to chair, one hand on its side. Now repeat the other side. This pumps blood to all parts of your nervous system, rejuvenating you.

A total of 3,141 brands have been launched (or relaunched) thus far in 2002.

Call it the triumph of marketing will over prevailing market sentiment. Or call it plain old fashioned stupidity. Companies continue to see their bottomlines bleed, customers still play coy when it comes to that critical purchase-moment, the recovery promises to be slow and painful, but there's no shortage of hope. As many as 3,141 brands were launched (or relaunched, or extended) in the first-half of this year spanning categories as diverse as food products, consumer durables, and telecommunication services. There may be some contrarian logic to making the most noise during the recession (when others are quieter), but 3,141 is surely around 3,000 too many. Either that, or the marketing fraternity knows something that the rest of us don't.

Tech Troubadour
If Consulting Magazine named TCS' Subramanian Ramadorai, one of the 25 most influential consultants in the world, it had good reason to.

TCS' Subramanian Ramadorai: The world is now this consultant's oyster

His day typically begins at 4:30 am. After the mandatory cup of coffee-he makes his own-he's off for a walk. He's an Indian classical music aficionado, his favourites being Kishori Amonkar and Prabha Atre. He's currently reading the biography of John Lennon. And, yes, in between Amonkar and Lennon, he manages India's largest software and services company, the Rs 4,187-crore Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

For 24 years, S. Ramadorai, now 57, rose through the ranks in TCS. Since taking over as CEO from the legendary F.C. Kohli in September 1996, he has been responsible for the growth of one of the world's largest software and services majors-TCS boasts 19,000 consultants working in 50 countries and out of 106 offices.

The current year has proved a culmination of sorts of Ramadorai's career at TCS, since the days he started out as a junior engineer. TCS began 2002 by bagging the country's largest software project ever, from GE Medical Systems, worth $100 million. The Ramadorai-headed team followed that up by bagging the largest domestic project from the State Bank of India, worth Rs 150 crore.

But the biggest bang doubtless came last month when Consulting Magazine, belonging to renowned management consulting firm Kennedy Information, named Ramadorai amongst the top 25 most influential consultants in the world. Suddenly, the TCS supremo finds himself rubbing shoulders with head honchos from Boston Consulting, Bain Company, Accenture and IBM.

True to type, Ramadorai plays down the individual achievement, preferring instead to recognise it as a team effort. ''The recognition is not about Ramadorai, the CEO. It is about the company TCS. It has to be seen as an acknowledgement of TCS, and the credibility it has earned in its relentless efforts to deliver quality service and ensure consistent value addition.''

For Ramadorai, the laurel is also a sure-fire sign that Indian it consulting has come of age in the global market. And he sees it as just the shot in the arm TCS needed to fulfil its vision for 2010, of being amongst the top 10 consulting companies in the world.

Ramadorai's and TCS's pedigree have also been noticed closer home, across the border, by the Chinese government, which has picked the TCS CEO as the it consultant for Shandong, a port city province that's a tourist hotspot and also the largest white good manufacturing base in China. ''Shandong has a very clear vision of where it wants to be in terms of contribution to the country's GDP and to exports. To effectively grow in their areas of expertise, the province recognises the need for large systems and it management,'' points out Ramadorai, who hopes to share his rich experience with the Chinese province. Perhaps our local districts too could do with some of Ramadorai's inputs. Are any state governments listening?