Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Indian LPO industry is worth billions, already: ASSOCHAM!

ASSOCHAM - The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India made a press release yesterday, titled "India's Lpo Business To Grow @ 6-7%: ASSOCHAM". The very meticulous authors of the paper talked about in the press release have the following to say about the current and expected size of Indian LPO industry:

India is inching towards registering a significant growth from its current share of 3-4% to 6-7% in the US$ 250 billion of world?s market in the Legal Process Outsourcing by 2010.

Excuse me? You mean India already has a share of 3-4% of US$250 billion? That is about $10 billion! As a judge in an Indian court will say to such ridiculous claims, dismissed with cost!

The paper, however, seems to have some new numbers:

Estimates report that by early 2006, there were over 400 professionals engaged in providing patent services such as literature searches, prior-art searches, technology and patentability assessment, patent claim mapping, etc., from India.

There are over 600 patent agents registered with the Indian Patent Office in India as well as approximately 300 IP professionals who are not. About one-third of these 900 professionals currently provide patent services to European and American end clients, and this number is likely to double to 1,800-2,000 by 2010.

These numbers look sane. That said, I have never understood the significance of someone being an Indian Patent Agent. Anyone who has ever visited those offices will know what those places or their accreditation is worth, so we should just let the numbers about IPO registered agents pass.

Another interesting number is about the outsource-able chunk of US Legal Services market.

Mr. Anil K. Agarwal, ASSOCHAM President while releasing the Paper said the conservative estimates of the current addressable market potential for legal services outsource-able from the US alone are pegged at US$ 3-4 billion. This comprises paralegal and research support, contract drafting and revising and contract management, library services, patent and trademark prosecution and litigation support.

The paper also advises some factors that those concerned about LPO in India should worry about.

The ASSOCHAM BPO Council Paper, however, says despite the encouraging prediction regarding outsourcing, legal practices are subject to a number of external forces affecting all law firms which includes changing economics, marketplace maturation, earning brand, marketing expenditures etc.

I'd just say relax, and keep thriving in the LPO industry. It is too nascent to get affected by the above factors. We'd rather brainstorm about new services that can be outsourced, new products and tools (e.g. contract management suites) that can be developed, and new partnerships that can be formed (e.g. tool developer and service vendor). Who wants to worry about marketing expenditures just yet?

Of course, ASSOCHAM will advise otherwise, they believe the LPO in India is already worth billions of dollars. They're excused!