Monday, November 14, 2005

High End is High on Talent

Economic Times carries an article titled, "Islands in the Stream", discussing the pedigree of people working at higher end of the outsourcing spectrum. LPO, of course, is counted among a space towards the higher end.

Pangea3, a small legal process outsourcing (LPO) based in Mumbai, has 23 lawyers from top law schools in its staff of 30. The IQ level in these companies would match the best of the Wall Street firms or even the consulting firms, such is the concentration of the talent.

With such intellectual bandwidth, the companies also have to work hard to keep them busy. The uber teams do complex work, which require an understanding of cutting edge technology and business. For example, the IP team in Evalueserve does patent drafts, patent analysis and technology analysis, work which requires sound understanding of technology. Similarly, the lawyers at Pangea3 could be working on a 300 page contract draft of a JV agreement, or some cutting edge patent research for Yahoo while the Inductis team could be tackling a complex analytics problem for a Fortune 500 financial services company. “We need the high bandwidth talent because they learn things very quickly, are able to identify the business problems very fast, and then also solve them. Plus they are able to move from project to project very quickly,” says Lalit Wangikar, VP-India Consulting Staff, Inductis.

As I can tell first hand, the thing about learning things very quickly, ability to identify business problems very fast, and the ability to solve them is very important for the success of projects. The commonly used word for this - Learnability!

Take lawyers for example. Pangea3’s Kamlani estimates that an lawyer in India costs around $12,000 whereas the same person will cost anywhere between $1,50,000 to 20,000 in US. Similarly, an engineer in US would cost the company anywhere between $55,000 to 75,000, whereas in India an average salary would be around $ 18,000.

(See the previous post on the compensation in LPO.)