I like this cliché! It defines who I am and the world in which we live. Change encompasses every aspect of our life and we experience it, sometimes painfully, every second of our day. This is going to be the first amongst a series of posts I am doing on change.
One of the key factors for success in any business, today, is the ability of its stakeholders to initiate and manage change. “Solid as a rock” may not be a positive trait any more, especially in a business environment. “Flexible like Putty”, though it sounds namby-pamby, is the mantra of this generation. I have been working with Fortune 500 clients and helping them manage their outsourcing strategies over the last 5 years. I now head sales at Gameshastra, one of the leading outsourced services providers to the video games industry. In the outsourcing businesschange can be your best friend or your worst enemy!! The Video Games industry, where there are new products released every week and companies are constantly changing themselves in order to come up with the next BIG product idea, is even more sensitive to this environment.Game developers who have had difficulties in working with external developers across the street now have to interact and work with globally distributed teams. They have to realign their internal teams, figure out new accents and re-invent their processes in order to fully utilize the benefits of outsourcing.
Service providers in this business are facing the pangs of change as well – With the opening up of India and China, vendors in the Western hemisphere are feeling the pressure from their clients to provide enhanced value at lower prices. Indian and Chinese vendors are trying hard to create an organizational culture which marries strong business and operations processes with a western games culture. They face challenges with communication, quality and overall efficiency. At Gameshastra, the management team was very cognizant of these issues when they started the company. The company’s entire strategy revolved around hiring veterans from the games business in North America and transporting them to head delivery teams in Hyderabad, India. This strategy has obviously paid off but not without its own pains.
Life for an American “born and raised” executive is not easy; especially when they have to adjust to a new environment and culture thousands of miles away (Coach-Class travel does not help either – Especially when it involves being in a airplane for 20 hours, three to four times in a year!!). So, change impacts their lives in a way which can be sometimes hard to imagine!! From a sales perspective, I have to change my pitch with every client in this business. I work with clients who come from a diverse mix; each publishing company has its own processes and “quirks”. Our clients range from multi billion dollar Game publishing giants to small independent studios. There is one message though which does not change in the pitch – Outsourcing is not about short term benefits; “It only gets worse before it gets better.” There is no panacea for the resulting turmoil which accompanies this change; Clients who can internalize this message and plan their journey as partners with their vendor end up benefitting the most.