Is India really a cut above the UK?

Having recently lost out on a major pitch to a competitor, with operations based in Manila and Delhi, I wonder if the client has fully researched their ability to manage their data expectations, particularly in view of last month’s power failures which hit 20 of the 28 states of India.
It’s simply not possible for me to compete with analyst day rates of £80.00. My chaps wouldn’t get out of bed on a hot day for that.
What I worry about is the fact that in India (Delhi included), while the population endured 30 degree heat, there wasn’t a working air conditioner to be seen for two whole days.
More than 700 million people were without power and that included the analysts that stole my thunder, who couldn’t fire up their laptops for a staggering 48 hours.
Manila doesn’t fare much better. Due to the dramatic weather extremes including droughts, heat-waves and earthquakes, many of the hydro-electric plants simply seize up without warning.
India still suffers from ‘power-theft and inefficiencies’ that account for a mind blowing 30-40% loss. Add to this the data laws that we have to follow, if I were a client placing my business in foreign parts, I would be more than a little concerned.
We have worked our socks off to achieve Data Seal, which many data companies in the UK fail to get and we employ the very best in terms of analysts, developers and data specialists. When a clients’ data enters my building, it does so with the comfort of knowing that it’s safer than being locked in a cell in Alcatraz. I will not even try to compete with companies offering their services for next to nothing, but I will compete on security and efficiency.
As a consumer, I am concerned about my personal details being shipped half way around the planet, so that some geek can analyse my spending patterns and then pass my details to an outbound call centre operative, somewhere else in the world, who then calls me, in the evening, and asks me if I’m having a nice day. Well, I probably was until I got the bloody call, but that’s another column.
Both India and the Philippines have rushed through strict amendments to their data privacy laws. I sincerely hope the employees in all the outsourcing centres are well and truly tested for their understanding of those laws. That is a pre-requisite of all our employees.
I am all for seeing the Philippines and India increase its wealth and power through commerce. I have to say that as my life partner is from the Philippines. What I don’t like is unfair competition in terms of price. It’s simply not playing fair and those ‘responsible’ buyers who think it is, will get their fingers burnt at some point.
So this is a message to all those seeking the cheapest options available, please spare a thought for the chap in India who pressed the wrong key a few weeks back and almost brought down one of the largest banking institutions in the world. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you…

Lloyd James is a chairman of Lloyd James Group

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