IBM that is synonymous with tech inventions such as the floppy disk and the mainframe, may have offices stretching from Silicon Valley to New York, but its biggest pool of employees are from India
It is no surprise that IBM, among the world’s top ten valuable brands, is a company that has been a part of several pioneering inventions in technology, operating across the globe.
However, over the course of the last 10 years, the technology giant has greatly shifted its centre of gravity to India. IBM today employs 130,000 people here, a whopping one-third of its total workforce, which is more than the people it employs in the US, as per a report in The New York Times.
As per a statement from IBM India's operations head in the report, the company goes through a meticulous calculation process of where to pick workers and expand operations, depending on skill set and company budget.
The work in India is crucial to IBM’s revenue model of keeping down costs, and which has posted 21 consecutive quarters of revenue declines as it has struggled to refashion its main business of supplying tech services to corporations and governments.
IBM is presently among the top ten most valuable companies in the world, as per data from Interbrand (Courtesy: Statista)
It’s not just low-level jobs, but high-level jobs that are also being outsourced.
Apart from core operations, a major part of IBM’s research is also carried out in the country. One of the products developed last year was Watson AI technology that currently helps fashion designers roll out unique clothes.
IBM has also tied up with Manipal hospitals in Bangalore to treat cancer using Watson. Doctors from New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center throw in recommendations for the best treatment - including the price.
Off the mark
In 1978 IBM left India due to disputes regarding foreign ownership rules, only to re-enter in 1993 after a joint venture with Tata with the purpose of assembling and selling personal computers.
One of the first major contracts that assured IBM's coming-of-age in the country was a 10-year USD 770 million deal with Bharti Airtel- one of the top telecom players in India at that time.
The company is now on the hunt for the next crucial market in the country: the poor and lower-income segment in India who have largely been ignored by the tech revolution.
Despite shrinking revenues and intense competition from software companies in India, IBM dominated the market for a long period in the telecom sector.Currently, it has a hard battle to fight to maintain its dominance over global rivals and Indian home-grown companies as well. As it bets big on newer businesses such as cloud computing, analytics and its cognitive computing business Watson.