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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why The US Needs to "Friend" India.....


InFoSys Mysore Training Facility www.infosys.com

I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to visit the infamous InFoSys Training Center in Mysore, Karnataka, India.  As I have mentioned before InFoSys is not only one of India’s largest companies but a global company that provides IT Support and Software Development Services to companies, governments, institutions, etc…all over the world.  To put it a bit plainly, when most Americans think of “india taking all of our American jobs”, many of those jobs are being replaced by Infosys labor, development, and business service offerings.  Visiting the InFoSys Mysore heightened this perception to an entire different level after I was done my 2 day tour of the training center.

I know, a visit to a training sounds pedantic or “uneventful”.  Many of us industry professionals have seen training centers before, and they are not particularly special or noteworthy. Most training centers that I have seen were very plain rooms filled with customer service representatives, computers, and the better ones encompassed high end training classrooms. The InFoSys Mysore training center, is at the least, a wonder! It is actually amazing. 

The InFoSys Center, which really can be called a full out University,  spreads over 200 acres, trains more than 14000 new trainees at one time, houses trainees, entertains new trainees with world class facilities..ie..beautiful and newly constructed tennis courts, cricket fields, track courses, resort like swimming facilities, squash courts, badminton, basketball courts, movie theater(s), a bowling ally, etc…. , educates them with expert instructors, and provides the highest state-of-the-art smart classrooms for 6 months at a time. After the trainees have completed their studies, InFoSys then sends them back to various InFoSys centers all across the world to work and provide InFosys services throughout the global tech eco system, mostly to US businesses.

I have never seen anything like this before in the US.  They take training, education, integration, and service standards to levels that are clearly placing India as a rapidly growing super power.  I have had many conversations with Indian leaders, policy thinkers, etc... One of the most poignant statements I heard in discussion was "A country is a good as it s labor force. The Nation to provide the cheapest and best educated labor, monies will always follow and they will end up winning the race".  That statement was clearly made after visiting this center. 

I couldn't help but to feel like an underachiever after my tour....not myself personally, but as a representative of the US. I began to say to myself..."Wow....we have got to better or engage in more meaningful partnerships with India, China, etc....if we are going to stay at the top of the global “food chain”.  With facilities such as these taking training of a very young Indian labor force to these new levels, it may be that the US will continue to play “catch up” in providing US labor for technology and engineering professions.

To give you more context of this facility, the first TED talk www.ted.com  in India took place here in the early 2000s.  Organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, Google, Microsoft, IBM, etc….all have utilized this facility for business and training purposes.  Presidents of State, Prime Ministers, high cabinet leaders, CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, come to visit not only this InFoSys Mysore facility but several of their world class facilities located strategically all around India and other various parts of South East Asia, Africa, and Latin America. 

All in all, the InFoSys Mysore visit was a unique and honored invitation…but more importantly a “wake up” call.  Until you see what other Countries are doing to position their power, resources, and assets, you really never can perceive what truly how and what action steps the US should take as we climb our way out of our own systematic pitfalls that have placed the US economy in a spiraling downward direction. Why I believe President Obama visited India almost exactly one year ago was to do exactly that, make steps to “friend” India and make them our partner versus our adversary and our threat.  
In the end, with a 1.2 Billion young workforce and self sustainable economy, India is on the way up up up. Again, I am honored to have had the opportunity to create relationships in this Country, in particular relationships in the technology private and public sectors. The ability to tap into a network that we will need as a Nation in order to fully engage the US and India in true trade and commerce partnerships, will, I think come in handy years to come.  I always say that I never would have figured receiving this Fellowship, at this time in our history, but I did.  Hopefully I can use this opportunity to help spur these connections in a positive way for our Nation.  We will need them. Believe me. B





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