Indian companies and Open Source projects

OUR finest exports are software and IT-related. Yet we in India use very little of our own products and services. There can be a number of fairly obvious reasons for it. Its fact that we cannot mass-produce IT services. So the cost of development is the same whether it is for a foreign client or an Indian. In fact, the development costs may even be lower for foreign clients if we factor in some risks. Indian clients being new to IT, may be prone to greater change of their requirements and even confusion especially at the late stages. Contract re-negotiation may be very difficult because Indian clients normally feel they are already paying far too much as it is. That is why IT services are not affordable for many Indian organisations.

If these services became affordable, we would probably be acutely short of experienced personnel to match the demand. We therefore really need to look at alternatives, and OpenSource seems to be most ideal option.

Large IT companies in India have a wealth of knowledge within their organisations. These companies could sponsor Open Source projects to which their staff could contribute; in fact, they should be encouraged to contribute. The projects could be chosen especially for the social benefit which may result from use of such systems. For example, a free POS application may include an option for adding VAT for all Inventory, etc . Lots of Small Scale Companies in India will be benifitted. Another example can be quoted here. QUICKEN is used by millions of indians to file their tax returns. Such an OpenSource version will help many save money and profit from the same.

The skill-sets required to implement solutions are different from those required for creating complex, reliable applications. These companies may even hire IT people the way they hire accountants. This will bring about a significant change and the mingling of Commerce and Engineering professionals. The Accountants usually dont get much salary when compared to IT professional. Hence this will also be a turning point for other set of people.
For the employees of the companies, this may lead to improved morale. People have the need to be needed and contribute to the welfare of the society around them. Contributing to Open Source software is a very satisfying experience for many like Me.

Open Source need not be a gift from large IT companies only. Professional bodies could sponsor Open Source projects targeted at their members. Collective development will result in a very small cost-per-member and also help develop a better Product. Another advantage of Open Source would be that members and groups could alter and enhance the application for their needs. Say you can modify certain features of a Software suited for your own Firm, Organization, or Shop.

Co-operation in IT for Open Source Projects can thus lead to a change in entire situation of our society.

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