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Outsourcers apparently don't miss a beat in face of massive India power outage

600 million customers without power at height of outage but most BPO ops not impacted

By , Network World
July 31, 2012 02:46 PM ET

Network World - India power outage

The massive power outages across most of northern India have not affected the software development, back office operations and services work that emanates from the country.

The huge outage, said to have hit more than 600 million customers, shut down much of the northern part of the country's public transportation systems and forced hospitals, airports and other critical infrastructure firms to switch to backup generators for electricity. But it seems the IT services companies were largely spared a major hit.

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Part of the reason the companies were not impacted is that most of their services and development operations are in western and southern India, which were not affected by the power cuts.

Microsoft, for example, has its sales and marketing office in northern India but its software development and services facilities are mainly in Hyderabad and Bangalore in the south.

"We were not affected except for some inconvenience for the employees," said a spokeswoman for Microsoft in India.

Companies that have operations in northern India were able to tide themselves over as they have captive power generation in readiness for India's frequent power cuts. Some of them also transfer work to other locations in India when crisis hits some of their locations.

India power outage

Cognizant Technology Solutions, a Teaneck, N.J., outsourcer, has about 12,000 of its more than 100,000 staff in India spread across Gurgaon in northern India and Kolkata in northeastern India. But even these software and back office operations were unaffected because the company has extensive captive power generation at these locations, and can also move work quickly to other locations as part of its disaster recovery and business continuity, a company spokesman said.

Dell, which runs mainly customer contact centers in Gurgaon near Delhi and Mohali near Chandigarh in northern India, was also unaffected by the power cut, and there was no dislocation of work as a result, a company spokesman said. The company has software development and contact centers also in southern India.

Some other top Indian outsourcers with operations in northern India also reported that they were not affected by the power outage.

Hariprasad Hegde, global head of operations for the massive outsourcing company Wipro Technologies, told the firm was unaffected by the outage. "Operations at Wipro's facilities across India continued as normal. Wipro facilities have a strong backup infrastructure and contingency plans to deal with such eventualities."

Software development offshored to affected areas of India might not be hurt for a week or so because most facilities have backup power that lasts at least that long, says Sumant Ahuja, CEO of Silicus Technology Services, a consulting firm in Sugar Land, Texas.

The company has backup diesel generators that can keep its infrastructure up and running, and they have enough fuel on hand for a week, so business is unaffected so far. If it the power outage goes longer than that, things could change, Ahuja says.

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