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Chapter 3: GlobTel s GSA Programme in India

3.1 Introduction

In this chapter, we provide a broad overview of the initiation, expansion and stabilization of GlobTel s GSA programme in India that includes the four relationships with Witech, MCI, ComSoft and SKA (all pseudonyms). Two of these firms (MCI and Witech) were large and established Indian software houses , while ComSoft was a start-up company established by Indian technocrats with Silicon Valley roots, and SKA was a software firm established by a medium- sized business house with limited experience in software development. MCI was based in Mumbai, SKA in Delhi and the other two in Bangalore. The relation with SKA was short-lived owing to perceived business incompatibilities with GlobTel, and after two years Softsys replaced SKA as the fourth partner.

The overview of GlobTel s programme is based broadly on the interviews taken with senior managers of GlobTel in North America, their expatriate managers in India and with senior members of the staff in one of their labs in the UK. Background information has also been obtained from the company Website and newsletters. The overview is at a macro level, encompassing the four relationships, and not restricted to any particular GSA. The overview is at a rather ˜factual level of details of key events in the relationship, including a historical reconstruction of events prior to 1996 when our research started, and then an account of key events as the research progressed from 1996 to 2000. This overview provides the backdrop for chapters 4 “6, where three of the individual cases are theoretically analysed. We do not present the Softsys relationship separately, as there were elements in that analysis which we felt overlapped with the Witech case that is described in chapter 4.

We start by providing a brief background about GlobTel, with a focus on the company s R&D activities. This background is not meant to be a comprehensive account of their complex history, that goes back more than 125 years, but to provide some key information which helps to contextualize the Indian relationships. A description of the phases of initiation, expansion, and stabilization of the GSA programme in India is then presented.