The Outsourcer: The Story of India's IT Revolution (History of Computing)

December 8, 2020
The Outsourcer: The Story of India's IT Revolution (History of Computing)

A history of how India became a major player in theglobal technology industry, mapping technological, economic, andpolitical transformations.The rise of the Indian information technology industry is aremarkable economic success story. Software and services exportsfrom India amounted to less than $100 million in 1990, and todaycome close to $100 billion. But, as Dinesh Sharma explainsin The Outsourcer, Indian IT's success has a longprehistory; it did not begin with software support, or withAmerican firms' eager recruitment of cheap and plentifulprogramming labor, or with India's economic liberalization of the1990s. The foundations of India's IT revolution were laid long ago,even before the country's independence from British rule in 1947,as leading Indian scientists established research institutes thatbecame centers for the development of computer science andtechnology. The "miracle" of Indian IT is actually a story aboutthe long work of converting skills and knowledge into capital andwealth. With The Outsourcer, Sharma offers the firstcomprehensive history of the forces that drove India's ITsuccess.Sharma describes India's early development of computertechnology, part of the country's efforts to achieve nationalself-sufficiency, and shows that excessive state control stifled ITindustry growth before economic policy changed in 1991. He tracesthe rise and fall (and return) of IBM in India and the emergence ofpioneering indigenous hardware and software firms. He describes thesatellite communication links and state-sponsored, tax-freetechnology parks that made software-related outsourcing by foreignfirms viable, and the tsunami of outsourcing operations at thebeginning of the new millennium. It is the convergence of manyfactors, from the tradition of technical education to the rise ofentrepreneurship to advances in communication technology, that havemade the spectacular growth of India's IT industry possible.