India - The ideal Research Services Destination
With its firepower of engineers, chartered accountants, doctors, MBAs, lawyers, research analysts, scientific researchers and PhDs, India is well positioned to address the global Research Services need with a focused array of Research and Analysis services. India provides ready access to a large intellectual pool with domain expertise in specialized areas, coupled with computer skills and proficiency in the English language, the ideal combination for successful offshore Research Services.
The Mainstay - India’s Higher Education System
The Indian way of education which lays great emphasis on higher education and specialization, creates a readily available talent pool with specialized knowledge in any field. There is also tremendous emphasis on mathematics and science, resulting in a large number of science and engineering graduates.
The Science and Technology Edge
The Government of India set up IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) and IIMs (Indian Institute of Management) across the country in the 50s & 60s. These ivy-league institutes of formal education are centers of excellence competing with the best institutes worldwide.
Another milestone was the establishment of IIIT (Indian Institute of Information Technology) as a joint initiative by the government and industry. Apart from producing B.Tech/M.Tech/ PhD graduates, it also trains professionals and industry-sponsored candidates.
India has more than 250 universities (over 900 colleges) and engineering colleges providing computer education at the degree/diploma level. The output of trained human power at the degree/diploma level has been consistently increasing since 1985 and touched 130,000 during the year 2000. The formal education system is augmented by thousands of private training institutes providing computer education. By mid-2002, India had 840 business schools, which turned out 65,000 MBAs.
With India’s infotech sector firmly in a leadership position on the global map, its scientific and research talent has also been acknowledged by the world. India is an emerging hub for contract research and clinical trials. India’s biotech sector spans the spectrum of BioPharma, BioAgri, BioIndustrial, Bioinformatics, and Bioservices industries. New initiatives to spur the growth of the biotech sector include a biotechnology finishing school with PES College in Bangalore. The Karnataka Govt. will partner with Australia’s Deakin University to start Post Graduate and Ph. D. programs to build high-end skills in India.
Renowned Indian scientific institutions provide high-quality R&D services to organizations worldwide. Among them are the Indian Institute of Science (Isis), the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Jawaharlal All Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Plant Genomics Center, New Delhi, Center for Human Genetics, Bangalore, National Institute of Biological, New Delhi, Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, National Facility for Macromolecular Crystallography, BARC, Mumbai, National Facility for High Field NMR, TIFR, Mumbai Central Drug Research Institute, Luck now, National Brain Research Center, New Delhi.
The English Advantage
In all good educational institutions, from kindergarten to graduation and beyond, the preferred medium of education is English, resulting in a significantly large population of educated and qualified professionals with English language skills. Many of them think in English, write in English and speak English as if it were their mother tongue.
Government Policies that aid outsourcing of Research Services
The Indian government has recognized that knowledge processes will influence economic development extensively in the future and has taken remarkable measures towards liberalization and deregulation. Recent reforms have reduced licensing requirements, made foreign technology accessible, removed restrictions on investment and made the process of investment much easier.
The government has been continuously improving infrastructure with better roads, setting up technology parks, opening up the telecom sector for enhanced connectivity, providing uninterrupted power to augment growth.
Knowledge Parks: global facilities in R&D, infotech and biotech
The last five years have seen vast development in Knowledge Parks with infrastructure of global standards, in cities like Chennai, Bangalore and Gurgaon. Multi-tenanted ’intelligent’ buildings, built-to-suit facilities, sprawling campuses are tailor-made to suit customer requirements. International Long Distance, National Long Distance and Basic Telephone services have been opened up for free competition. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have been granted licenses freely to establish their own international gateways and submarine cable landing stations. Internet telephony too has been encouraged. Tax holidays and concessions for companies involved in scientific R&D are just some of the steps to create a pro-growth environment.
Ernst and Young ranks India No.3 after Japan and Korea in the Asia Pacific Region in Biotechnology. There are five biotech parks in India. Phase 1 of a 106-acre biotech cluster in Karnataka called Bangalore Helix with Special Economic Zone status has been completed at Electronic City, Bangalore. It will house the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology, and the Centre for Human Genetics which will move there. The cream of the biotech companies in the growing pharma and agri-biotech sector will be invited to set up shop there.
India - The Trust Factor
Proactive measures are being taken to ensure that India is viewed as a destination for trustworthy outsourcing. Initiatives from individual companies to associations like NASSCOM (The National Association of Software Services Companies) and the Indian government,are working together to build trust in Brand India as the world’s leading outsourcing center and a growing Research Services hub.
Data Privacy and Information Security Initiatives
NASSCOM collaborates with the government to ensure that India’s data privacy legislation is aligned with those of the U.S. It also intends to have the security practices of all its 860 member companies audited by international accounting firms. The government has also taken initiatives to focus on the issues of data privacy, information security and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
Indian companies are taking serious measures to protect the information of their customers. Common security procedures in companies ensure that employees swipe identity cards through readers, have their bags and pockets searched, deposit cell phones, PDAs, pens and laptops in lockers, and shred notes of client conversations after the shift ends.
Companies have set up advanced systems to monitor phone conversations, guard data, and watch every move of their employees. Measures may also include biometric security checks such as retina scans and palm reading, to identify employees against their records. Employee background checks are a regular feature of the recruitment process. These measures work well towards alleviating concerns of privacy and information security of customers wishing to source services of Indian Research Services vendors.
Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai have been found to be low-risk outsourcing locations, in a recent study by Hill & Associates, an enterprise security and risk management consultancy firm.
Sustaining the Momentum
The Indian government has been taking the right steps to ensure an ever-increasing talent pool of highly qualified professionals. IITs / IIITs have been planned in every state. The industry would help formulate some of the courses offered to ensure that emerging professionals are in sync with industry requirements. There are plans to include computer courses in every engineering discipline in the country. So regardless of the discipline, every course in engineering, science and commerce should see the inclusion of computer science programs. Existing premier institutions like the IITs, IISc, RECs (Regional Engineering Colleges) would be doubling or tripling their output by suitable restructuring.
HRD divisions in most companies have well-defined processes to hire the right professionals. They allocate substantial energies towards regular training and constantly develop ways to address attrition. They have realized that the key to high-quality work output lies in the selection, hiring, training and retention of a skilled workforce.
Companies in India have achieved high levels of quality standards. More than 200 companies are quality-accredited and serve over 255 Fortune 500 companies. India now has far more SEI CMM Level 5 companies than any other country. Many companies have aligned their Quality Management Systems with ISO 9000 standards.
Reverse Brain Drain
With business opportunities in India as attractive as those available overseas, many highly qualified Indians are opting to return to India. An Indian who has returned after international exposure demonstrates the best blend of western work system experience and familiarity with Indian work ethics. Returning Indian scientists have expertise in international methodology and regulations. Returning Indian tech-workers have skills in working with global clients. These professionals are contributing to the knowledge pool and technical know-how in India.
Apart from Indians, knowledge workers from America, Europe and China are increasingly considering India for job opportunities. With all these forces working together, you will be able to outsource any knowledge-intensive task to India. What will be left for the Western companies is the "ideation" - and with the growing accent on innovation, companies in India are proving their mettle in this all-important area too.
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