Indian outsourcers seek revenues from ‘smart work’

Sri Lankan Police forming a human chain in parliament to protect the Speaker and enable a vote.

NEW DELHI, September 7, 2011 (AFP) – For advertising executive Govind Nair, working in India’s outsourcing industry for a California telecoms firm means burning the candle at both ends for his customers. “They try to be considerate. They know there’s a 12-and-a-half-hour time difference between India and San Francisco but we still end up getting up early and going to bed late,” Nair, 30, says.

Such hours are becoming increasingly routine for many young Indian professionals as they liaise with counterparts in the United States and other Western countries on high-end “smart work” projects.

India, known as the world’s largest back office with its cheaper, educated English-speaking workforce, is expanding its “knowledge processing outsourcing”, offering market research, statistical analysis, legal, health and a host of other services.

The sector — familiarly known as KPO — “is the next wave of global sourcing for India”, Som Mittal, head of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) told an industry conference last week.

Performing “value-added tasks” such as writing equity reports and legal work can mean 40 to 50 percent higher billing rates than for low