Knowledge Workers, The new IT Czars

This article appeared in the Economic Times and traces the evolution of the Indian outsourcing industry worker, from writing code to performing high end knowledge services. It just goes to show that the Indian outsourcing industry is yet to reach its zenith!

Knowledge Workers, The new IT Czars

Asok, the brilliant, naive intern who debuted in Scott Adams’ Dilbert in 1996, put a face to the back-office Indian engineer who slaved away writing code for Silicon Valley. Then came a new animal, the call centre worker’  an issue that charged up the American presidential elections drawing the ire of the anti-outsourcing lobby.
The new face of the Indian outsourcing industry worker is neither an engineer, nor an accent neutral English speaking graduate. It’s the knowledge worker with the ability to understand, analyze and then articulate his thoughts on paper and over the phone.
This need is pushing back into the fore skills that are in danger of being lost in an era of instant messaging and the informality of e mail – writing and presentation skills. There are some obvious areas where fluent communication is important, like writing and content, but it also has a significant role to play in firms that take on equity and market research, analytics, accounting, taxation, medical services and legal work. All these areas are growing at a rapid rate as international work is increasingly outsourced to companies with operations in India.
“In BPO services, fluent communication- primarily spoken, is both a necessary and near sufficient prerequisite for employment, says Joydeep Datta Gupta, executive director, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). PO services, by their very definition, require employees to use judgment and creativity for delivering services. Here, fluency in communication, especially written communication becomes imperative as employees are essentially using judgment to interpret data in areas like research; or case law in the field of legal outsourcing. With no clear definition of a right or wrong, the manner in which a sentence is constructed, the nature of language used may play a critical role in overall perceptions of quality of service delivered. he adds.
Written communication skills have thus become an integral part of daily work as well as a necessary ingredient to working in geographically-dispersed teams.
In the legal arena, for instance, almost half the work in US litigation is written advocacy, says Abhay “Rocky” Dhir, president of Atlas Legal Research, a US based legal process outsourcing (LPO) firm with offices in Chennai and Bangalore.

Taken from ‘The Economic Times’ Bangalore, October 21st, 2005

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