by David Chapman
Over the past several decades, India has become an information and business hub for the outsourcing and offshoring of jobs and services from around the globe.
Members of Meninak learned Monday about the pros and cons of such systems as well as other technology related facts in a humor-laden Powerpoint presentation by international information consultant Roshan Massey.
“I know how it works over there,” said Massey, referring to India’s increase in outsourced jobs and overall cultural environment.
Massey’s background includes education in India, England and Australia and key work in developing enterprise resource planning tools such as Oracle — including development of the Adage ERP — that help businesses monitor manufacturing and distribution orders. Additionally, he has had positions with clients such as General Motors (in Australia) assisting in enterprise solutions based work.
“Business process outsourcing allows external vendors an opportunity for a strategic advantage,” said Massey.
Pros for outsourcing include a fee-for-service basis, flexibility and the lack of needed investment in any particular business aspect, he said, with drawbacks being the risk for compromised data and security risks.
Companies such as Nokia, which built a multimillion dollar manufacturing plant in the city of Chennai, are going to India, said Massey, for the lower cost of doing business.
Expanding and offshoring services to India doesn’t always work as originally planned, though.
McDonald’s, an American fast food icon, initially didn’t succeed in its expansion into India due to a lack of understanding of consumption patterns and products. After reviewing menu items and revamping its Indian menu to include items such as the lamb-instead-of-beef “Maharja Mac” and “McAloo Tikki” (“Kind of like a fried potato cake,” he said), the company found more success.
Along with the additional business ventures seeking India, the Indian people are also seeking more American goods — especially in a down economy.
“Indians are begging for American goods,” he said.
Asked about Jacksonville’s business prospects with the country, Massey noted the area’s strong logistics and transportation attributes, including the booming Port industry, which is one of the key gateways on the Eastern seaboard for freight.
Other notes from Massey’s presentation and Meninak
• Massey also discussed his role in developing Educomp — an educational solutions provider in India similar to the online Blackboard systems employed by nearly all major American universities and colleges as well as an increasing number of high schools — that is used by more than 300 different Indian institutions and has more than 2 million users.
• Sam Fricano, former conductor of the St. Johns River City Band, plays the piano each week before and during each meeting for its various tunes but Monday he had a partner: former St. Johns River City Band member and longtime trumpeter Longineu Parsons. The two played a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” before the program.
• It isn’t done often, according to members, but the organization’s credo was also read aloud by all the members before the program began. Member Jane Lanier, whose father and 1948 Meninak President Stuart Richeson wrote the credo, led the group.
• The organization’s scholarship council announced it had received 19 applications for this year’s annual Meninak Leadership Grants.