About a year-and-a-half ago, I wrote about Tata Consultancy Services' introduction of something it called IT-as-a-service that would leverage software-as-a-service to deliver standardized solutions to clients without a lot of need for customization. I lauded it as a less labor-intensive and thus more cost-effective model for companies like TCS.
The growing acceptance of cloud computing and its potential to make it easier and cheaper to develop custom software applicationsseem to signal an even larger opportunity for Indian outsourcing companies to move from being seen as "body shops" to partners in business transformation, a perception that still dogs them despite the great strides they've made in competing with traditional services providers like IBM and Accenture.
Wipro earlier this week announced it's partnering with Oracle on a solution designed to appeal to independent software vendors (ISVs) and Wipro customers using Oracle products. Wipro will utilize Oracle's databases, middleware and virtualization software. Wipro is seemingly the only Indian services provider currently positioned to offer this kind of a solution, thanks to its 2007 purchase of data center specialist Infocrossing, which is based in New Jersey.
As Forrester Research analyst Tim Harmon points out in a Computerworld article, because "cloud computing is still very data central location dependent," companies that want to serve North American customers will need to have data facilities in North America. The folks interviewed in the article say latency and security issues make it difficult to deliver these kinds of services offshore. I'd add that more fundamental concerns like ready supplies of electricity and water make it unlikely huge server farms will be located in India. Companies like Google and Microsoft have opted for locations like Austria, Siberia and the rural U.S. for their data centers.