R. Savitha"Pune is fast emerging asan infotech hub, withthe big giants in thesoftware industry settingup their development centreshere. The IT industry in India contributesto exports of over $40 billionand employs nearly two millionpeople. Pune has been a significantcontributor to the Indian IT industry,accounting for nearly 10 percent of the exports with more than2,00,000 employees in the sector.The IT industry is expected tocontinue to grow at a rate of about30 per cent for the next five yearsand Nasscom estimates this to be$80 billion by 2012.Pune today is a base for top ITcompanies in the area of businessprocess outsourcing, engineeringtechnology and IT products companiesand this combination of productsand services is going tocontinue in the near future.The companies that are comingto Pune include those wanting toset up back-office operations, callcentres, companies managing insurance,infrastructure management,research and developmentoperations etc. In short, Pune hasbecome the IT hub for developinginnovative applications and products,says Dr Anand Deshpande,Chairman and Managing Director,Persistent Systems.The city has a burgeoning softwareindustry, thanks to the presenceof IT parks like Rajiv GandhiIT Park at Hinjewadi, MagarpattaCybercity, MIDC Software TechnologyPark at Talawade, MarisoftIT Park at Kalyaninagar, InternationalConvention Centre (ICC),Weikfield IT Park etc.

HOME TO MAJOR PLAYERS

Many of India's major softwareplayers such as Fiserv, Amdocs, Infosys,TCS, Tech Mahindra, Wipro,Sasken, CalSoft, Cybage, Cognizant,Tata Elxsi, Fluent, Xansa, JohnDeere Technology Center, Patni,Satyam, KPIT Cummins, Aztecsoft(Disha), Persistent Systems, PyxisSystems Pvt Ltd, Geometric SoftwareSolutions Ltd, Neilsoft , NihilentTechnologies, EncodexTechnologies and Kanbay Softwarehave a major presence in Pune.Global majors like Accenture,BMC Software, NVIDIA, HSBCGlobal Technology, TIBCO, IBM,Dell, Red Hat, Siemens, EDS, Amdocs,UGS, i-Flex, Symantec, Sun-Gard Data Systems, GlobalGraphics Software, Versant Inc,Zensar Technologies, eGain Corp,Syntel Ltd, T-Systems and SAS Researchand Development India PvtLtd have a major presence in Pune.Pune is also emerging as a destinationfor BPOs due to the availabilityof skilled English speakingmanpower.BPO companies such as WNS,Convergys, Infosys BPO, EXL, WiproBPO, vCustomer and MphasiShave started operations in Pune.Several hardware and VLSI companieslike Ingot Systems are also locatedin the city. Several HRconsultants have their operationshere to meet the growing demandfor a highly specialised workforce.

SOFTWARE PARKS

According to Mr P. Venugopal, Director,Software Technology Parkof India (Maharashtra), Pune registeredsoftware exports of Rs 15,150crore for the year ended March2007. The IT exports for 2005-06were Rs 9,423 crore.The State Government has alsogiven Letter of Intent to many privateplayers for developing IT parksin the city and fiscal and non-fiscalbenefits have been promised tothose players.More than 100 companies hadregistered for space in the SoftwareTechnology Park and a majority ofthem are involved in research anddevelopment, engineering servicesand embedded technology.Besides the highest number of ITparks in the State, about a 100, Puneboasts hosting 11 IT service companiesout of the top 20 in the country.The ITeS (IT-enabled services)sector is also set to expand in theknowledge process outsourcingand legal process outsourcing areas. But industry experts are worriedabout the talent crunch that isexpected with the boom in the sector.

CONSTRAINTS

Pune, which is known as the `Oxfordof the East', churns out 80,000engineering graduates each year.There are specialised education instituteshere and a large base of scientistsworking on research anddevelopment. While Chennai, Bangaloreand Hyderabad suffer fromthe accent factor, the BPO industryhas Pune to look to, for a large Englishspeaking public. Another worryis that the phenomenal growth ofthe infotech industry in Pune overthe last 10 years could suffer seriousconstraints due to inadequate infrastructurein the city.Rising traffic congestion, poortransportation and the absence of afull-fledged international air connectivitycould arrest this growth,say industry leaders.High expectations are beingplaced on future areas of growth inengineering, animation and gamingsectors.In addition to the presence of reputedsoftware companies like Infosys,Wipro, Satyam, TCS,Cognizant and IBM Global, moreare planning to set up shop, themost conspicuous among them beingglobal giant Microsoft, whichintends to establish a Rs 700 crorefacility at Hinjewadi.According to Nasscom, Pune isnumero uno in terms of growth percentage.It has witnessed a near 40per cent growth this year, when theindustry average is just about 30 percent to 35 per cent.Pune's story of technologicalachievements is a beacon for severalother small tier II and tier IIIcities in the country.It's an inspiration for them to expandand grow. Now, after IT, ITESand the BPO revolution, knowledgeprocess outsourcing (KPO) is beingtouted as the next big thing to hitIndia.With its immense talent pool,Pune is also poised to be the nextKPO hub of India.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 9, 2007)
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