The extent of technological innovation coming out of an emerging tier of urban areas in India can provide lessons for IT abroad.
The Information technology industry in India has gained a brand identity as a knowledge economy in the IT World. It has transformed India’s image on the global platform and has also fuelled economic growth by energising higher education sector. The industry has employed almost 10 million Indians and hence, has contributed a lot to social transformation in the country. From engineers and IT professionals in Silicon Valley to the notion of outsourcing IT services and development to teams based in India, it’s clear the country plays a strong role in the global IT value chain. Sure, there has been some controversy about jobs moving overseas, but there has been more than enough evidence to show that a strong value chain is good for all IT professionals.
There’s now a relatively unknown, but rapidly emerging, link in this value chain: India’s “third cities.” First, a quick primer on Indian political geography is in order. India has four large cities, which are referred to as “metros.” These are Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Chennai.
Following closely on the heels of the metros is a second tier of cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. Bangalore has long been synonymous with IT and has been dubbed India’s Silicon Valley. These cities house the bulk of India’s technology companies. They also currently occupy the majority of mindshare when it comes to India’s role in the global IT value chain.
Innovation abounds in these cities as large companies and small companies create the dialectic relationships and human-capital flow that in turn generate milieus of innovation, progress and wealth. Of course, a country of 1.2 billion people (of which 500 million or so live in urban areas) can’t be fully defined by the contributions of seven cities.
Enter the next emerging tier—India’s third cities. Many of these have had the advantage of legacy of education, entrepreneurship and industry. These are channeling grounds for incredible energy, inspiration and innovation as they apply to IT. The stories of progress emanating from these cities are noteworthy. This underscores the notion that innovation comes from all quarters, and reaffirms the importance and cohesion of the worldwide IT fraternity.
Udaipur—a picturesque city in the state of Rajasthan possesses the impressive potential and kinetic energy evident in the IT community. There’s some innovative and unique technological development being done there. By Indian standards, Udaipur is a small city. It boasts a population of 600,000 but possibly many more techies per capita than similar locations. Within India’s boundaries, the city is known more for its lakes, palaces and tourist hot spots than for its IT community. It has an IT community which provides not just IT enabled services, but innovative products and high value consulting to users and corporations all over the world.
“Udaipur,” said one, “is a city few think about regarding technology, but it’s one in which we take tech very seriously.” The city, even though it’s thought of in India as a technology backwater, is in actuality very progressive and dynamic. Soon, cities such as Udaipur will be a haven for IT professionals, developers and the entire technology community.
This is an example of a so-called third city which are emerging “IT Parks”, having the IT potential with a group of successful businesspeople. The traditional industries in these cities, like engineering, mining, and transportation, were all hiring IT professionals to streamline operations and create value, transparency, and operational efficiency.
The power of digital communication and digital delivery has created a world that’s more accessible to all, regardless of where they live and work. It’s a world in which two IT professionals, who live in circumstances defined by difference, can share the common threads of professional opportunities and stresses and who can work problems out together as they play their roles in the worldwide IT value chain.
Companies in a small city in India can empower, energize and animate IT and IT professionals in Seattle, Silicon Valley, New York, London and Berlin. That’s a bold testament to the power of the value chain that thousands of people have built as they create companies—and opportunities—on a worldwide basis.
The innovation and energy of India’s third cities is something that all IT professionals should experience. These cities exemplify the importance of the trinity of themes that define IT professionals everywhere: innovation, excellence, and the desire to empower businesses to create new products and services.