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The Muse

August 06, 2005

Various and sundry

Here are some facts and quotes that you might find interesting:

Apple iPods' main component is the memory chip, manufactured by a company called PortalPlayer. Apple ships components to a Chinese company called Inventec and PortalPlayer ships their designs to Taiwan for fabrication. PortalPlayer probably pays around $3 to the Taiwanese company for fabrication per chip and they charge Apple $12 for the chip [$9 profit for them]. Apple pays Inventec in China around $200 per player [includes cost of chip] to assemble and ship back the players. Inventec makes an estimated profit of less than $10 per player, even though labour is cheap. iPods retail sale price in the US is $265, so Apple ends up making $65 as profit. Now , is it any wonder that Apple shares trade at above $60 today, compared to $20 last year?.

Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, responding to a question that "outsourcing is killing America": "I think it's a ruse, a complete and total ruse by people who don't want to face what the real problems are. The real problem is that 30% of the people getting a college degree in China and India are getting an engineering degree. That number in the United States is 4%. The fact is, we don't value engineering, and that is how manufacturing jobs get created."

All you iFlex dudes, welcome to Oracle! Oracle is buying iFlex at six times its closing price of Rs.829 per share. Oracle bought PeopleSoft and Retek, for only twice their existing revenue price.

In 1999, IT services accounted for 1.3% of India's GDP. Last year, IT accounted for 3% of the GDP. In the US, IT accounts for 40% of the GDP. India's literacy rate is increasing at 1.3% per year, meaning that it will take another 20 years for India to reach 95% literacy. India's automobile industry is showing a growth of 20% per year.

NIIT is among the Top 20 Companies in the world, and the only one from India, for outsourcing training capabilities, according to TrainingOutsourcing.com. This is significant, especially as eLearning, a $26 billion dollar industry today, is set to take off. Analysts predict India has a good chance of becoming the eLearning hub of the world by 2008, with business expected to be around $28 billion.

Musings of the Muse

Its been more than a year since I started this blog, so I was just thinking about some things...

When I look at some of the blogs out there, a predominant theme involves allowing people a glimpse into the personal lives of individuals. Nothing wrong with that, but as my friends will tell you, I'm very introverted,"shy-type" and hardly talk at all. Living vicariously might be cool for some, but not for me. So, while I started this blog with no clear intentions, I'm pretty clear where I want to go with this - be in touch, and encourage some minimal debate and discussion.

The worst part of being away from friends is that you don't get to talk with them about your opinions. Sometimes a phone call works, but not all the time. Perhaps seeing my blog once a while helps you sort of keep in touch with me? Instead of chain mailing all of you with the usual phrases, like "what's up" and "long time no see", I'm assuming that we are all in touch, and talking about things that I find interesting.

Ideally it would be great if we had other people involved, and if we had more participation in a common forum. But writing is something that takes some effort and dedication, and it might be easier for some to just read, think, maybe smile and close down. Whatever works...See, when I read about something or come across some forwarded email, I tend to immediately think of certain people who I know will enjoy it. If I spent time individually forwarding mails to all those people, then I would not have any time left at all.

But how much better it is to find a forum to talk with everyone at the same time?

I know that almost everyone of you does this, but in different ways. I receive emails from friends who have me on their addressbook, and there is a list of emails that I get everyday. Do I read all of them?... probably not. Do I reply to every mail?... probably not. But I do appreciate the thought behind the emails. That is the way my friends try to keep in touch with me. They see something they enjoy and want to share it, hence the mass forwards.

My way is to choose this website/blog. And by putting it on a blog, I'm leaving it to your discretion - read, when you find time and if you want to. More importantly, this is my way of storing information. My thoughts, opinions and links are all stored and ordered chronologically.

Anyways, keep me informed on your thoughts and opinions - email me: v a d i v e l u @gmail.com, or just sign the guestbook on the blog.

Be good and be safe!


August 01, 2005

Outsourcing Training - 1

Lately, I've been noticing a rapid build up in the news about training, specifically Corporate Training, and how it is has been clearly and squarely marked as the next thing to be outsourced. That interests me a lot.

See, how much money do you think we are talking about here? In the US, Corporate Training alone accounts for 65 billion dollars annually. Ho ho, $65 BILLION! The thing that piques my interest is that unlike the case of Engineering and IT services, India is not abundant in this kind of talent...and it will be intriguing to see how we cope with the demand.

Traditionally, Training is not something that is thought of as a Career option in India.Indeed, people familiar with terms like Instructional Design, Educational Technology, Learning Theory or Cognitive Load are a definite minority when compared to those who throng the Engineering and Science colleges.

To test the waters, I looked at some job requirements for Training Professionals in India. A common theme is that due to a lack of college degrees in training related fields, companies are focusing on recruiting people who have some form of certification in Instructional Design, Learning Theories etc. I think good ol' NIIT offers something in this regard.

A lot of companies who are already in the BPO arena have already outsourced their own training to their own offshore ventures. They are now ready to handle the training needs of others. A case in point is IBM Corp. After shutting down their computer business, IBM is now fully and totally into Business Consulting. Their interest in the Corporate Training area is clearly visible in their acquisition of Daksh eServices last year.

Also, Corporate Training in India is recognized in certain specific forms. Initially, when one thinks of Training, the first thing that comes to mind is the tiring month or two month stint that one has to go through as an entry level Software Engineer in any of the million companies. I know that in my first job, fresh out of college as an undergrad, I had to go through two months of software training. While those times were great [all pay and no work],and the food was ok, the learning was definitely poor. I don't think any of us took anything worthwhile from the whole experience. And it was pretty expensive for the Company too.

Another form of "Training" is training in a particular tool or standard. Engineers dealing with certain portions of a project are frequently called upon to get "trained" in some new form of software or compliance initiative etc.

A third form of Corporate Training would deal with issues in the workplace - intangibles like Leadership, Team building etc.

The outsourced training related work that India gets is not likely to fall into such distinct categories. Anytime any company policy gets updated, there is a training need and work to be done. We need to develop skills and knowledge to design and develop different kinds of learning solutions. And the great thing about this is that the industry servicing the demand is not just IT. Every company needs training, and therefore the potential is huge.

A point to note is that till date, almost all types of training solutions in India have been Instructor Led or ILT. The West is more oriented towards eLearning and Blended Learning, as it is cheaper compared to hiring instructors and having trainees all centralize at a location to learn.

India is definitely starting to adapt to this demand. I've seen numerous companies that are starting to separate themselves and advertise their expertise in Corporate Training. Companies like Aptech have started acting as vendors for Training Development. But designing Training is not an easy job. It is a science, and there are certain specific skills that one needs. In fact, Instructional Design is a multidisciplinary field that brings together a lot of diverse skill sets. So, we need to be careful in the quality of the output. Some interesting points regarding this are made here.

I'm excited at the opportunities out there eager to see how India addresses this issue. The beautiful thing is that this field fits on top of any existing skill set you might have, while allowing you to learn something new all the time. And for people who are thinking that the only way to go is Engineering and Medicine - think again!