India Becoming a Crucial Cog in the Machine at I.B.M.
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By Saritha Rai, New York Times, June 5, 2006
BANGALORE, India, June 4 — The world’s biggest computer services company could not have chosen a more appropriate setting to lay out its strategy for staying on top.
On Tuesday, on the expansive grounds of the Bangalore Palace, a colonial-era mansion once inhabited by a maharajah, the chairman and chief executive of I.B.M., Samuel J. Palmisano, will address 10,000 Indian employees. He will share the stage with A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, India’s president, and Sunil Mittal, chairman of the country’s largest cellular services provider, Bharti Tele-Ventures. An additional 6,500 employees will look in on the town hall-style meeting by satellite from other Indian cities.
On the same day, Mr. Palmisano and other top executives will meet here with investment analysts and local customers to showcase I.B.M.’s global integration capabilities in a briefing customarily held in New York. During the week, the company will lead the 50 analysts on a tour of its Indian operations.
The meetings are more than an exercise in public and investor relations. They are an acknowledgment of India’s critical role in I.B.M.’s strategy, providing it with its fastest-growing market and a crucial base for delivering services to much of the world.
“A significant part of any large project that we do worldwide is today being delivered out of here,” said Shanker Annaswamy, I.B.M.’s managing director for India, who presides over what is now the company’s second-largest worldwide operation. In the last few years, even as the company has laid off thousands of workers in the United States and Europe, the growth in I.B.M.’s work force in India has been remarkable. From 9,000 employees in early 2004, the number has grown to 43,000 (out of 329,000 worldwide), making I.B.M. the country’s largest multinational employer.