Big Six Outsourcers on a Passage to India

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Hot on the heels of a TPI report that Indian outsourcing firms like Wipro, Tata and Infosys are taking market share away from the so-called Big Six -- Accenture, IBM, HP, ACS, CSC and EDS -- comes news that Accenture plans to add 8,000 employees in India this year, bringing its total headcount there to 35,000.


As most articles about the move have hastened to point out (many in a "what is this world coming to" tone), this means Accenture will employ more workers in India than it does in the U.S. (30,000).


While 35,000 is a big number, it's significantly less than the 43,000 folks that IBM, another multinational member of the Big Six, employs in India. IBM has ramped up quickly, more than quadrupling its staff in India over the past three years.


To compete effectively with their Indian rivals, IBM and Accenture realize, they must utilize some of the same low-cost models. This means employing Indian talent in India, where employees can provide expertise in both the front and back offices.


It works both ways, of course. Infosys employs 200 consultants in Silicon Valley to augment its workforce of 1,800 consultants in India.


As the economy becomes more global, so do workforces. Companies that ignore this fact will fall behind more forward-thinking firms.


An added note: Hiring competition from big firms like IBM and Accenture will worsen the wage inflation already being keenly felt in India, and thus take away some of the labor price advantage the country enjoys.