Sundar Pichai, India-born chief executive of Google, will partner with large Indian outsourcers to reskill their workforce in building smartphone applications after the country lost out in mobile apps to smaller rivals such as Vietnam and Turkey. In the past three decades, Indian firms built a $117-billion outsourcing industry by making applications for desktops and maintaining them. They were helped by firms such as Oracle and SAP, who partnered with Indian outsourcers to train their workforce in these technologies. But a global shift in the demand from consumers and enterprises for these applications has forced companies to look at developers who can deliver them at lower costs and on faster timelines, in which Indian firms have lagged. “Large outsourcing companies have been focused on a different part of the stack and that has been extremely lucrative.
But, I think it is true that we don’t see mobile development happening as an offshore outsourcing industry in India,” said William Florance, head of university programmes, developer training at Google. “We don’t think it’s too late for India to capture that value and become a world leader in the space.”Pichai, who has renewed Google’s efforts on India as a market as well as a talent pool, in the next few weeks will announce the company’s efforts to help retrain the country’s technology workforce. Targeted primarily at the IT outsourcing industry, the move will be an extension of Google’s promise of training two million Indian developers by the end of 2018. Based on who you ask, estimates of the size of India’s developer community range from two million to four million. However, just nine per cent of them works on mobile applications and technologies, a sector that in the past decade has turned into a multi-billion dollar global opportunity, with the rise of smartphones. Part of India’s backwardness has to do with the IT outsourcing industry’s — by far the largest employer of developers — aversion from working on mobile technologies. The industry has largely remained focused only on winning large enterprise deals rather than serving the needs of smaller global start-ups who are the biggest outsourcers of mobile technology.