27 August 2005

It's happening

“The sheer numbers of India’s talent force make a compelling case for outsourcing R&D to India.”

I got this from a recent article from Wharton titled ‘Can India Bridge the Knowledge Gaps Needed for Research?’ But this is just the beginning of the story. Obviously, there’s more. The Wharton article goes on to say:

“The rapid growth in the market for outsourced research services from India destined for the U.S. and Europe is beginning to expose weak links in the chain. Depending on the nature of the research being outsourced, Indian companies are preparing for the next level of growth by bridging gaps in skills across the organization with investments in training and development.

At one end of the spectrum are easily transferable, cookie-cutter skill sets in data collection and reporting formats. At the other are high-end research programs that involve extremely sensitive and closely guarded insights into corporate business strategies. Softer skills that involve communication, business culture and general professional standards also form part of the equation, separate from concerns about general business hygiene that keeps such work on the right side of business ethics.”

Lest you think it’s India’s cheap skilled-labour force – sorry, I meant 'talent' – which is making all the difference, the article corrects itself:

“The picture that emerges is one of a growing desire among companies in the U.S. to conduct sophisticated research projects in India. To be sure, this thinking is guided not just by issues of wage arbitrage, but also by Indian research and engineering education, the availability of large talent pools, and perhaps most significantly for the pharmaceutical industry, the relatively easy access to participants in clinical trials. American and European firms also feel more emboldened by the recent reforms in India's patent regime that bring protection of intellectual property closer to their standards.”

And you thought nothing ever changed in India! Shame on you.

[I’m a little concerned about the “participants in clinical trials” bit, though.]

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