Friday, 26 November 2010


Continuing with my list of reasons as to why costs in Pune are coming on par with that of Bangalore and Chennai..

3. You sow and I will reap:

Most of the BPOs always want to staff in a hurry. In Tamil there is a saying that goes something like..If I see the dog I do not have the stone to throw at it..and when I have the stone..the dog is not to be seen. Lest my US readers who love their dogs more than we do here, take umbrage, the saying refers to a street mongrel with rabid tendencies and not that darling you dote upon at home. But I digress.

Coming back…when a BPO is set up, it is a chicken and egg story. Which comes first? Customers or employees. You should have one to have the other. In case my US readers are still bristling, this is where the dog and stone analogy kicks in. If you have customers…and you know their needs…you know whom to hire. But if you hire ahead of the sales then you add to the monthly burn. And you can never be sure of the length of the sales cycle and the customer commitment. So Sales, being the magicians that they are, indulge in some poetic license when it comes to stating delivery capabilities.

But once the sale is closed and the initial pilot has gone through successfully, customers get greedy. The clients’ manager who has P & L responsibility wants to cut costs by sending more work to India. He has tasted success and wants to reap it all in. A quarter coming to an end adds a tremendous sense of urgency to stone that dog. The term ’scaling up’ gets bandied about a lot in the late night / early morning conference calls.

Sales has till then, knowing how to do its job well, given an impression that in Pune / Bangalore / Chennai you can get the required skill-sets freely roaming on the streets in numbers greater than the snakes and tigers combined. In case some of my Indian readers take umbrage at using ‘tigers’ and ‘poaching’ in the same mail please excuse me. But I tigress.

The clients’ manager, taking huge gulps of his Kool-aid, wants to see head count go up starting yesterday. Sales starts telling Head of Delivery to now start delivering. They have got the customer and their job is now over. The Delivery Head sees prospects of egg ( or chicken, or whatever ) all over his face. He yanks the HR guy who in turn spoils the sleep of the head hunters. The word is out on the streets…300 new hires in one week. Bonuses if targets are met.
The head hunters have until then also done a good job of their own Sales to the HR Manager. Led him to believe that required skill-sets in abundant numbers are all practically jostling for space in his rolodex and databases. Why..just last week he had to remove all the snakes, tigers, chicken, egg and dogs combined to create more space.

The Head Hunters have to now do what they have to do. Get the head count. But where to get ready made skilled trained staff from. Go up to the competition down the street and offer something more. Something may be…double the salary.

But what about delivery costs, the CA ( CPA ) in me might ask. But the Head of Delivery and the HR Manager will themselves be offered double salary at some point of time before the bean counters roll in.

More in next…

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