Oracle to more than double software development staff in India

Ellison: 'It is not just us. A lot of other companies ... are doing this as well'

Oracle Corp. plans to increase the number of staff it has engaged in India in software development and other areas, such as customer service, from 3,000 to more than 6,000, Larry Ellison, the company's chairman and CEO, said today.

"We are continuing to invest in India not only in software development, but also in professional services," he said during a videoconference with Indian media and users in Delhi. "It is not just us. A lot of other companies, like General Electric and Microsoft, are doing this as well."

While China is specializing in the area of outsourced manufacturing, India is ahead in services, he said.

"In general, it seems like the world economy is going in the direction of outsourcing a tremendous amount of manufacturing activity to China and a lot of service activity to India," he said. "There is software outsourcing to China, but it is not really to the same extent as manufacturing, which seems to be increasingly becoming China's specialization. Correspondingly we see professional services -- not just software services but a variety of services, including accounting services and telesales -- moving to India."

English language skills in the country, and educational institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, have been important in developing the service sector in India, Ellison said.

Having set up software development operations in India in 1994 at its centers in Hyderabad and Bangalore, Oracle last year began moving other services, such as support, to India. The company's global support center, divided between Bangalore and Hyderabad, is one of four centers in the world that offer technical support on Oracle products. A shared-services center in Bangalore provides back-office services to Oracle subsidiaries worldwide.

The move by many multinational companies to outsource services to India has come under criticism in both the U.S. and Europe. Microsoft Corp. received flak recently from the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech) in Seattle, which claimed that Microsoft is moving support jobs to Bangalore. WashTech is organizing technology workers to oppose outsourcing outside the U.S.

"This is not about moving jobs to India. We are creating new jobs in India," said Keith Budge, Oracle's regional managing director for Southeast Asia. "As a global organization, we have to be able to service our customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that means we have to be in multiple locations and operate across different time zones. Also, the availability of skilled manpower in India is compelling enough for us to outsource to India."

Oracle has been adding 100 staffers each month, on average, over the past year and a half, according to Budge. He would not put a time frame on how quickly Oracle will ramp up to 6,000 software development and services employees in India.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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