[Reader-list] The Age (Melbourne): Clouds hang over Indian links
geert at desk.nl
Fri Jun 7 03:30:49 IST 2002
Cloud hangs over Indian links
By Garry Barker
The Age Technology Editor
June 6 2002
The rattle of nuclear sabres over Kashmir has worried hundreds of
Australian businesses that, seeking cheaper prices, have been using
software developers to build their applications and process their data.
The list includes some of the country's biggest corporations and many
But the winds of war are also blowing others some good, in Australia and
Bali, where Sigma Corporation, owned by Toto Siguri, now finds
customers queuing to discuss switching away from the conflict zone.
Kurt Reiter, technical director of Red Source Technology, a Port
Melbourne-based IT company that is Sigma's Australian partner, says
inquiries to his office have trebled since the start of the latest
Some corporations have had substantial operations in India since the Y2K
furore, when the big banks, Telstra and others contracted local software
companies to check their databases.
Most of those relationships have now changed and developed. Some,
banks among them, still have daily satellite and cable transfers of
financial data. Others get new applications developed there.
ANZ, for instance, does not process its data in India but does own a
software facility in Bangalore, where 200 engineers are building the
generation of the bank's financial and online applications.
If companies begin pulling back from India, Australia could pick up
Mr Reiter said the flow of inquiries had picked up markedly since last
week: "We normally get about three solid inquiries a week; at the
we're getting three a day."
In aggregate, Australian companies spend billions of dollars a year with
big Indian software houses such as Infosys, Mastek and HCL (Hindustan
"Now they are bringing their expatriate people back home and wondering
whether they should be either moving or backing up their IT support
of the risk of war. It's going to be tricky for many of them who have
projects half-completed," Mr Reiter said.
He concedes that having a link with a company in Indonesia, the largest
Muslim country in the world, wasn't exactly a plus for business after
bin Ladin's Islamic terrorists hit the World Trade Center on September
"People were no more anxious then to put the fate of their business in
Muslim hands than they are now to stay in India. But Sigma set up
a big purpose-built IT campus in Bali where the population is Hindu and
risk of a Muslim-inspired strike much less."
According to Mr Reiter, Indonesia is mounting a serious challenge to
India's dominance in low-cost IT outsourcing. Sigma has ISO 9001
accreditation and alliances with Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Allaire, Oracle
"Some people might worry if their outsourcing interests were in Jakarta,
but Bali is different, in the local religion and in the working
he said. "A lot of Australians don't even realise it's part of
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