Commitment, Obsession And Passion Drives Success
With an illustrious career spanning for over two decades, Asoke K. Laha, Founder, President and CEO InterraIT Inc. and President and Managing Director of InterraIT India, has significant experience in starting and growing offshore development centers. During his career, he won the Corporate Quality Award from Cadence and was responsible for the ISO 9000 certification earned by the Cadence India Center. He is the Executive Vice President and incoming National President of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC). Asoke is actively involved in various prestigious industry bodies like AMCHAM, ASSOCHAM to name a few. He is a working committee member of the Software Export Promotion Council (“ESC”) and also represents the Noida Special Economic Zone (“NSEZ”) as the President of NSEZ Entrepreneurs Association. Asoke K Laha shares his experiences and opinions with CXO Today.
InterraIT with over two decades of experience is the largest privately held offshore company with operations in India. How is the journey been for the company and the man who runs it?
The journey has been rewarding in terms of experience, emotional satisfaction and organizational growth. During the first four years, the revenue increased each year by 100%, which made us complacent and arrogant. Then came dot-com crush in 2001, which taught us humility. Since then we had seen ups and downs in our growth: also we learned how to compete in a highly competitive market. Overall it is an exciting and rewarding experience. Individually I have learnt a lot – mature, humble, positive outlook, aggressive and confident.
Data Analytics, Cloud computing are emerging technologies in the Indian market. If we were to pit India against the US, what are India’s strengths and drawbacks in technology innovations and adaptability?
It is difficult to compare two countries with two distinctly different growth histories. US enterprises are more advanced in the adoption of both Data Analytics and Cloud Computing. India can be seen as a formidable hub of research, development and innovation in technology and a great source of talents. However, Indian enterprises are slow in adopting the technologies. Indian enterprises will use Cloud Computing extensively in the coming years. It will take some time before Indian Enterprises will universally adapt Data Analytics.
Apart from many services like product engineering and data analysis, InterraIT offers InterraIT Innovation that has two caters to two verticals, e-store and government. Kindly enlighten us about these special services.
We are simply speaking in digital revolution i.e. e-space – the spectrum that includes e-market to e-governance. Also, we help government and public agencies in India with most cost effective and world-class software development and maintenance.
India is a force to reckon with globally. How would you analyze the current market trends in the country and what are the potential trends to look out for in the future?
India is becoming a coveted market eyed by the whole world. There are lots of excitements among the US Business and US Media to consider India as a preferred partner. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi set a goal to increase Indo-US trade to $500 Billion. With Mr. Modi’s digital revolution and “make in India” campaign, the country is going to venture into new roads of technology and growth in the current decade. Mobility, Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, cloud, retail, supply chain are some of the more important verticals for us to address. The challemges for US investors are Ease of Doing Business in India, and retroactive tax laws to name a few.
In the light of your association with IACC, how would you describe the business and economic collaboration between the US and India? Has the government policies and initiatives influenced the collaboration positively?
Yes, Modi-Obama meetings were great catalysts in joint business growth. Issues are still there to be resolved but cooperation and collaboration are under way in lots of verticals in Information Technology as well as other traditional sectors. Future is too bright because there is a shared commitment at highest level.
During the 11th Indo-US Economic Summit held last year in Delhi, Make in India, Digital India and Renewable Energy was among the strategic topics of discussions. How far has Make in India and Digital India impacted the economy and how was the association with US helped the initiatives? Has the bilateral trade to half a trillion USD been achieved in its true essence?
Yes the outcome is positive though we have a long way to go. India and US have a lot to offer each other and both can complement each other significantly. So you can say the three areas are witnessing an exciting, innovative experimental progress for India.
From the perspective of a individual who is actively involved with the activities of AMCHAM and ASSOCHAM, how would you analyze the growth of Indian economy and how is foreign trade helping the economy especially with respect to SMEs and MSMEs?
The growth of Indian economy is at a decent rate, particularly when one compares with the growth of US and European economies. However, the prosperity and growth of Indian economy are felt in major cities and urban centers, but not in Rural India. No country can grow its economy in isolation hence the synergy with foreign trade has been a great fuel to our national economic growth. The increase in foreign trade will lead to investments by foreign companies in terms of setting up Indian operations. SMEs and MSMEs will have opportunities to sell their products and services to the Indian subsidiaries of foreign companies as well as to the new foreign markets.
The Indian economy and the market has been warming up to new technologies and start-up industries along with e-commerce and m-commerce. Where would we rank India on a global scale and what factors would determine the growth of the economy in years to come?
India is going to play an increasingly vital role in e and m commerce. Consumers have started accepting E-commerce: there will be significant growth of e-commerce as compared to brick and mortar traditional retail outlets. Angel funding and Venture capitalists are active in India leading to significant growth of start up companies. The startup companies will be prime drivers in development of new technologies and R&D activities. There are numerous successful Indian entrepreneurs based in US, particularly in Silicon Valley. I fully expect that there will be numerous highly successful entrepreneurs based in India in coming years.
What are the future expansion plans for InterraIT with regards to operations in India?
We have very aggressive plan for growth in India. InterraIT is moving from a pure technology company (.net, java, mainframe), to domain expertise (mobility, artificial intelligence, cloud, supply chain, virtualization to name few), to business consulting services. Indian operation will be critical component of InterraIT’s overall growth.
Finally what goes into establishing a firm like InterraIT, headquartered in California and the vision that company upholds?
Commitment to clients, obsession with quality, agility, and passion for developing zero-defect software and services at competitive prices.
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