Whilst the NASSCOM Leadership Forum 2009 agenda is packed with valuable content and sessions, perhaps the small & medium businesses could have been targeted better. There is plenty for the large enterprises, as well as the emerging companies or niche companies. It’s the small to medium size ones that are feeling orphaned. Mind you, every session has value, and it is only the application of the experience or principle that matters, no matter what the size of the business. But that isn’t the point.
At a time like this with the financial crisis and economic down turn in markets, it’s the small and medium size companies that feel most vulnerable and threatened. They are the ones most susceptible to volatility, regulatory changes or cash or credit flow squeezes. So they need support and attention beyond the business as usual kind of climate. And it is this lack of attention or sensitivity that has many of them clamoring for attention.
If one were to analyze NASSCOM’s membership by numbers and size, one would come up with a diamond model with the large companies at the narrow top, and the emerging companies at the narrower bottom. The wide middle would be the small and medium companies which are 74% of the membership. Perhaps it is time NASSCOM looked at how best to serve this constituency in a more focused manner based on their needs. While the association indeed has a lot of focus by industry vertical, it would be of enormous value to also look at this demographic segment by size and business needs.
Not just in terms of having separate tracks or sessions for them at the Leadership Forum, but in how the association approaches this segment as a whole throughout the year. How it helps them flourish and grow; how it shepherds them through the current down turn; the kind of training and support it affords them to have; the representation they need with policy makers; in short on how it can serve them better. This is vital if the Indian IT industry is to grow and meet its true potential as a force worldwide.
It even extends to how NASSCOM evaluates its awards. Too often, it’s the big boys with the big budgets who get the recognition. The weightage should be for the quality of an idea or concept, and the quality of its execution, rather than the amount of money spent on it. Then you’d see many more small and medium companies represented in the awards.
It is always a challenge when the resources are limited, the contribution heavier from the bigger and the priorities many. But this is the essence of true industry representation with equitable attention to all. That is why people are expected to contribute according to ability. To support all members equally, whether they are big, medium or small, leave alone the emerging.
Its time NASSCOM acknowledged that small and medium matters. And did something about it.