It has been 20 years since I left India as a young graduate. Indian software industry was unheard of at that time or was in its infancy. But since then, India has become the global powerhouse in software services. Initially, the industry grew mainly through outsourced projects for clients in the United States. Big powerhouses such as Infosys and Wipro grew to what are now worldwide brands. Then, over the years, as companies worldwide realized the talent available in India, multi-national companies started arriving in droves. Microsoft, Intel, IBM, GE, Google, you name it, started opening development offices in India.
But, will India be a one trick pony in software – delivering just services? This has been a common topic during dinner discussions with my friends as to whether Indian software industry will ever see product companies emerge that will become as well known as Infosys or Wipro. There have been some successes such as Zoho whose entire development group is based in Chennai. Then there is Tally that owns the ERP market in India. I have always wondered as to the state of product management in India. It was refreshing to see an Indian product management forum emerge on LinkedIn where very engaging discussions are now taking place.
Then, a few weeks back Pinkesh Shah, CEO of a Bangalore based company called Adaptive Marketing reached out to me. Pinkesh was former VP of Product Management for McAFee here is the US and had now moved back to India. Pinkesh has now set up a product management training and consultancy company in India. Adaptive has also published the first product management and marketing survey – you can download the report for free. The survey has very useful information that is worth reading both for product companies in India (local or MNCs) or for those here in the US that are thinking of establishing offices in India.
The big question is what will product managers in India do – would they be working on products for the Indian market? Or for the Far East or Middle East that are all experiencing explosive growths? This would make logical sense given the proximity of Indian software product managers to these markets and also given their knowledge of the cultures in that part of the world compared to those of us in the Western World. One of the interesting tidbits I found in the report was how even professionals in the IT services companies were performing some of the product management tasks such as requirements management and competitive analysis under the titles of Business Analysts, Client Engagement Managers and Business Development Managers.
What do you think? I would love to hear from my blog readers based in India on their take on the state of product management in India.