Monday, November 17, 2008

Global Influence

Recently, Global Telecom Business, a leading telecom journal, published a list of the Top 100 influential people in the telecoms industry. It was widely reported in India that seven Indians had made it to the list, although if one were to be pedantic, only four were directly connected to the telecom business in India. It is a matter of pride to me that two of the executives in the list belong to Tata Communications, Srinath at No. 8 and Vinod at No. 68. 

I read comments on some Indian blogs that it was surprising that the names of a few other large Indian telecom operators were missing from the list. Well, it was not so surprising to me, partly because the article begins with the caution that the list was biased towards US and European executives because of the nature of the survey. 

More importantly, the list was about people who were significantly influencing the global telecoms industry. While size of operations is indeed a factor that drives influence, it is not the most important one. Influence has to reflect in changes brought about to the market, in terms of customer behavior, business model, economics or competitive positioning. Those that influence have a clear idea of what the future of the industry will look like (not just that of their company) because they will drive that future.

Rightly so, this list is led by the Google trio, and followed closely by Steve Jobs. All of them, in their own way, have shaken up the telecom industry. It is interesting to note that that the Top 2 influencers of the telecoms industry do not belong to it, well, not by traditional definitions at least. This reflects the 'influence' that Service Providers (or platforms) will have on future customer behavior and industry dynamics (see earlier post on the topic here).

The influence of China (its scale and its policies) on the world is reflected by Li Yizhong, the Chinese telecom Minister, at No. 3.

Finally, Srinath at No.8 shows how rapidly one can change the world order... less than 7 years ago, his company was a public sector monopoly in India; today it is recognized as a global challenger with the strides it has made in the international voice and connectivity business, both wholesale and enterprise. With its focus on new technologies (Ethernet, MPLS, Wimax), managed services (Telepresence, security, hosting) and emerging markets footprint (India, China, South Africa, Asia, Middle East), it is poised to play a leading role in the global wholesale and enterprise markets.  

I look forward to greater innovation and game-changing moves by these influencers.

(I would normally avoid writing about my employer or my colleagues, but I felt that I had to make a mention of this topic since it is really about industry dynamics and influence.)


Sheetal said...

I feel so proud for India. I am sure in the next list or so, if it focusses more on Asia, the top 5 positions will be from India.

Not because you are from Tata, but Tata definitely comes across as a nice, reliable brand with good business practices, unlike other companies in the same sector. I am reading various Indian blogs from and am glad that I found yours. Bookmarked!

Laurent Bourscheidt said...

The fact that google and apple are on top is an indication that thinking outside the box approach in a technology sector will most likely help shift that sector that is perpetually changing.
In relation to a parralel post regarding that famous tagline "the computer is personal again" we can observe that he iphone, is way more than a calling device. Apple succeded in this matter in providing a killer platform that can provides unlimited applications
a download away, which is far from being the case form all the regular mobile players.
Is because the people in charge of writing interface application in most mobile companies are not thinking simplicity and efficiency and when they do , the design is the last consideration in the product offering. With so many products on the market and so much competitions between device, it appear that design and functionality combined to simplicity is what customer are looking for.
As mentioned the key is into data driven applications combined to slick interface.

the Reason TATA appear on top of all telecom indian companies is simply because of its unmatched global network. Something that no other indian companies can claim. Airtel, Barthi and Reliance are fiercely competing for the huge Indian market but seem to have forgotten the rest of the world. Or at least it doesnt translate yet in brand recognition.