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Posts Tagged ‘MCA’

In simple words, Information Technology (IT) can refer to ‘anything that we use in modern daily-life to communicate with each other using technology globally’. Technical experts who work in various aspects of developing and supporting the IT products/services can be broadly called as IT Professionals; while business firms who work to serve people’s need using IT products/services can be collectively named as IT companies. Yet, have we really understood ‘what IT growth may mean for us in Manipur?’

Setting up of proper infrastructure in the entire country (i.e. back-bone network connectivity such as laying fiber-optic cables, installing core routers and switches) is the duty of the government for socio-economic development (by tendering projects to private firms). Interested private companies (such as Internet Service Providers) may then bid for govt licenses to do business of providing IT network services (e.g. 2G/3G spectrum allocation). In Manipur, Department of IT and Department of Science and Technology (Govt of Manipur) are entrusted with infrastructure building responsibilities. Creation of a Software Technology Park of India (STPI) at Imphal and ongoing development of an IT park at Imphal are some activities that govt of Manipur has been taking up to provide localized IT infrastructure for having offices of IT companies. In the past, BSNL has undertaken such laying fiber optic cable activities in various parts of Manipur. Also, IT infrastructure development activities are often carried out within large corporate firms whose business may or may not be within IT domains.  Network engineers and server administrators work in such IT sectors with skills of telecom/networking (e.g. Cisco certified courses, Sun certified courses). Since Manipur and other North East Indian states are yet to have proper IT infrastructures in place, IT graduates can focus to be Network engineers and server administrators while Tech-Entrepreneurs can focus on such IT industry sectors for supply/sales of network/server devices to govt offices and startup companies in Manipur. Cabling of wires/fibers and installation of network/desktop devices for setup of new offices also require support of experience IT network engineers.

On non-infrastructure oriented IT sectors, there are many IT software/hardware companies which develop products/services meant for end-user customers at home or office. Nature of products/services in a region does depend on the available IT infrastructure and social usage habit of tech-gadgets in that locality/state. There are already many distributers/Tech-Entrepreneurs in Manipur doing business for selling IT products (such as laptops, desktops, mobile phones, tablets, printers, scanners, high-end smart phones) for general consumers (end-users). In bigger business scale, Tech-Entrepreneurs can even think of sourcing components from global manufacturers (in Taiwan, Thailand, China, Malaysia, etc) and assemble in Manipur for sales distribution across NE India and neighboring countries. This is the similar business model adopted by Dell (and Indian companies such as HCL, Wipro, etc) for their company branded PC/printers/office-accessories products. IT graduates can also aim to be technicians who can fix issues on such IT products (software/hardware). Yet, it may be hard for local IT graduates from Manipur to get recruited into product development companies located in big Indian cities (such as Nokia, Samsung, Cisco) to design such tech-gadgets, since such companies used to have the recruitment norm of having only high quality Bachelor degrees in Electronics/Communications/IT from top-reputed engineering colleges in India. Interestingly, there are very few Indian companies focusing on hardware design and manufacturing of IT products due to not wishing and inability to compete (in terms of marketing and sales) with IT products of global multinational product companies; though some Indian IT companies may have the skills and experts to develop hardware products.

The IT knowledge areas wherein startup IT companies in Manipur may focus are development of end-consumer-based applications software such as mobile apps (for iPhone, iPad and other smart phones), enterprise management software (for resource utilization and check), video games/animations (for fun) and serious games (for simulation and modeling), website/intranet/ecommerce portal, etc. It’s worth to remember that ‘Responsibility for programmers/engineers is to deliver the technical aspects of the client’s requirement, whereas the owners of a startup IT company is to deliver the overall IT solution catering to business need of the client’.

On business aspects, the key hurdle in setting up startup IT companies around consumer application-based software domains will be finding clients who will offer the IT projects. Also, most Indian companies (including big ones) procure such IT projects from western countries and other developed nations (wherein society has more usage of modern gadgets and technologies/infrastructures are in place). Also, more the organizational maturity of the IT company more is the confidence to advise clients on IT solutions that serves the business problems of clients. On technical aspects, skills required for undertaking such IT projects may be experience on some programming languages, database management, web-development scripts, graphic designing, etc. Learning materials (and demo programs) are extensively available on internet for free in various websites and books can be bought by want to-be techies to develop apps and software programs by self. Most of the software programmer/developer or IT geeks in the world are often self-created masters through self experiencing rather than out of university teachings. Though having studied courses such as Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) or Master of Computer Application (MCA) are always useful during handling IT projects, any IT graduates and techies can still be able to master the programming skills though self hands-on learning enabling them to take up such end-consumer-based applications development.

IT companies are in fact just firms providing technology solutions (products/services) enabling efficient operations for businesses in other industry companies. So, only having engineers and project managers with technical skills within the company isn’t sufficient. Running a successful IT company requires having experienced business managers to identify which industry sector and which business issues of targeted client segments – their company is going to provide solutions through their IT products/services. Ability to source IT projects and manage effective potential client engagement is also critical to survival of an IT company (just similar to other companies in other industries). Building list of project portfolio undertaken in the past and embedding organizational maturity/processes so that potential clients can rely on are also essential for sustainability of an IT company’s existence.

In addition to software development businesses, IT-Enabled Services (ITES) such as BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) are feasible for setup in Manipur, if provided there is uninterrupted broadband service and power supply. Such ITES projects are often sourced from western countries and other developed nations (though those projects can be from within India as well), and their business model is based on providing low-cost and 24hrs IT enabled support to clients need/business. Such ITES businesses may provide jobs/money to local employees, but they don’t create much meaningful values on local knowledge market since their project activities doesn’t involve any software or hardware development.

Thus, Graduates and Tech-Entrepreneurs in Manipur should first evaluate which industry to serve and what skill-sets are necessary to work in IT industry. Rapid IT growth in Manipur can be achieved by focusing on supporting local application-based software development IT companies that serve businesses in other industries (including e-governance projects of Manipur govt).

About the Author:

Shanjoy Mairembam (BEng, MBA) is a Business Strategy Consultant based at London (UK). He supports mentoring of young entrepreneurs in ‘conceptualization of ideas into business case’, and offers role of a ‘Business Doctor’ to local NGOs/SMEs in Manipur.

For further info, visit http://www.shanmaiconsulting.com

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