BOOK REVIEW

A retrospective of Indian IT industry

WINDS OF CHANGE: Indian IT- An Insider's View: Ganesh Natarajan; Ameya Prakashan, 207, Business Guild, Law College Road, Pune 410004.

Rs. 225.

IT IS said an Internet year is just a couple of months - if you want to work in cyberspace, you have to be at least five times faster than the real world. By that measure, Ganesh Natarajan's canvas covers more than a decade of real time. In fact, this interesting compilation of his column in the fortnightly Dataquest covers just three years from mid- 2001.

Yet, so frenetic is the pace of change in the information technology (IT) business that many significant events tend to be ignored and important personalities forgotten. Natarajan shaped the IT trainer Aptech, as its chief executive officer for a decade, before moving to the Pune-based Zensar Technologies, a direct descendent of one of India's biggest mainframe computer companies, ICL. He remains an active member of industry bodies like the NASSCOM. This provided him a ringside seat from which to observe the great Indian IT "mela" and through judiciously edited extracts from his published columns, he shares his highly personal, yet authoritative perceptions of how the industry is moving in this book.

On republic day, one year, he suggested that the entire Indian industry deserved one of those national awards — for succeeding when the rest of the IT world was reeling under the dotcom crash. At another juncture, he muses that female executives must be facing a "last mile problem" of their own in their journey to the chief executive's seat. He recalls former IT Minister, Pramod Mahajan's quip that Indians excelled at IT and beauty because these were the only two sectors without government involvement. Hence our nice record in Miss World as well as the global recognition for IT icons like Azim Premji and Narayana Murthy. He also helps today's tech-whiz kids remember the historic contribution of early pioneers like Tata Consulting Services' F.C. Kohli.

The section on "Techno wisdom" has mostly been overtaken by developments - but there are enough nuggets of personal wisdom to make his backward glance at the IT industry, a rewarding exercise.

ANAND PARTHASARATHY

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