“India Is the Perfect R & D Location”

Natarajan Chandrasekaran Photo: TCS

Where do you see India on its way from being a service provider to an R&D location? What needs to happen to ensure this change?

Natarajan Chandrasekaran: The primary driver helping boost India’s reputation as an R&D location is the availability of talent. India has a vast pool of high-quality, high-caliber, technically qualified and English-speaking talent. Every year 200,000 engineering graduates and 5,000 doctorates qualify from more than 250 universities and engineering colleges, including world-class institutions like the Indian Institute of Technologies and premier institutes such as the Indian Institute of Science.

The second big driver helping the emergence of India as an R&D location is the strong domestic engineering and manufacturing industry. The Indian market has forced companies to innovate continuously to address local demands, with the latest example being the 3000 U.S. Dollar, Nano car, which is being hailed as a global breakthrough in automotive engineering.

This rich local ecosystem of talent pool, network of world-class institutes of higher education, and a vibrant local industry position India as a preferred destination for R&D activities.

Global corporations currently doing R&D include telecom service providers and equipment manufacturers, chip designers, IT hardware companies, medical equipment makers, engineering design companies, and producers of consumer durables, automotive products, chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals.

Where do you see India in 10 years?

Chandrasekaran: The Indian economy continues to grow at a brisk pace of about nine percent every year. While the services sector continues to grow and has increased its contribution to India’s gross domestic product [GDP] from 37 percent to 54 percent in the last 25 years, this contribution continues to grow every year, led by the Indian software industry, which contributed seven percent to the country’s GDP last year. There has also been a recent resurgence in manufacturing and agriculture in recent years. With Indian engineering prowess being felt in multiple industries – from automobiles, where Tata Group has come up with the world’s least expensive car, to telecommunications, where India boasts the fastest growing subscriber base in the world and the cheapest call rates – there is tremendous scope for India to become one of the largest economies in the world by 2020.

How would you describe your relationship with SAP today? Where do you see it headed?

Chandrasekaran: A strong relationship based on mutual trust and a shared vision of the future is going to be critical between “product vendors” and “service providers” as boundaries blur and new roles evolve. In this context, TCS’s relationship with SAP will be one of the leading technology alliances worldwide.

Like TCS, SAP has been innovating and investing ahead of the curve to leverage its unique industry positioning and better prepare itself for the evolving industry landscape. Over the next decade we are going to see tremendous changes in the way business technology services are produced and delivered and the nature of the customers who will consume these.

Currently TCS and SAP are working together to address emerging needs of businesses by leveraging each other’s assets and expertise in specific industries such as public sector, retail, utilities, pharmaceutical, and banking and financial services. This is being achieved by leveraging SAP’s business solutions and TCS’s consulting and delivery capability across industry sectors.