Things have changed so much from the early 2000s in the global IT industry. This article brings an interesting plane of view from my experience.
Customer is the backbone of any business. Someone who has being doing business remotely with us, the IT companies, wants to visit us is a big deal – it means customer satisfaction, more business, better relationship. So without doubt, the preparation that goes into welcoming the “clients” home (India) is enormous. Yes, I am going to about client visits.
Last year, I managed two such client visits – who are direct clients for my project. So, it rested on my shoulders to achieve the above said goals. As a fresher in 2002, I had participated in client visits, where the client would exchange a few pleasantries and ask some plastic questions – how do you like the project, etc. What would dread us is the unfathomable accent of white skinned “American/English”. We would have the answers ready even before they could ask us :D
However, in 2011 I was up for a Chinese-American client visit. They are different from American clients that we saw in early 2000s. I'll tell you how. When I asked him ‘where shall I book the stay for you?’, he came up with something like this ‘I am fine with anything, I promise I won’t complain. All I need is a place where I could rest and get ready for the next day’. Too simple, isn't it? Is that all? At another point of our non-business conversation, he queried, ‘So, you follow Hinduism. Do you know which came first, Hinduism or Buddism’ (!!) I composed myself a little bit and said with a sincere smile on my face, ‘Gautama who founded Buddism was a Hindu by birth. So…’ and he ended the statement. No conclusions here please. Just that it was strange!
For an American company, a Chinese is managing the work done by Indians! Perfect testimony for the book 'The World is Flat' by Thomas Friedman!
My first client visit was a huge success, Generally, we call it so, if the client eats, drinks, pees and leaves the place with no complaints :P
Moving on to the second… “Client Director is coming over to visit the Indian team.” Now, who is he? He is an Indian hailing from a Southern district of Tamilnadu! Now this would be difficult as we couldn't awe him with any of Indian stuff like food, culture, dress, politics, or anything at all. They are up to date with the latest happenings including the movie release of Dr. Vijay.
But I am kind of a person, who could engage in a non-stop talk even with a deaf and dumb person. I had no problem in tuning myself to engage him. Different kind of conversations, main one being land value and apartment cost was analyzed.
A brown skinned person of 5 foot 8 inches tall (approx.), clad in light blue shirt, red tie and black trousers speaking impeccable professional American English. Neat! But that’s not what was striking about him. It was the black thread tied on his right wrist! This thread or Sutra is unique in our culture and the faith it protects people doesn’t change wherever one goes, whatever one does.
Way back, onsite team means full of Indians working day and night, delivering every project through 'n' number of challenges... Now, we have Indians, Chinese, Americans as part of onsite team dealing with Indian & Chinese customers. I am sure the equation is changing and wondering, is it jus Silicon Valley or the entire nation made of ICs (Indians and Chinese)! BTW, both my clients are from North East part of US!