Friday, January 30, 2009

Mumbai – India’s Vibrant City

Bhelpuri is a type of chaat, or in other words, a small plate of savory snacks that is particularly identified with the beaches of Mumbai (Bombay)

Although Bhelpuri is available all across India, it is something which is very popular in Mumbai. Surprisingly, Bhelpuri, which was originally a Gujarati fast food, got merged with the Mumbai culture and became synonymous with Mumbai or Bombay. Much of the fun of eating Bhelpuri is in the crunchiness. Besides, ask anyone from Bombay about it, and they would surely have tried it out !

Now that, we know what Bhelpuri is, when are you dropping by Bombay to try it out ?

Mumbai, formerly called Bombay, is known for its chaotic street scenes.

Mumbai is basically the financial capital of India, in addition to being the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. With a population of approximately 13.75 million, it is the second most populous city in the world

Marathi is the official language of Maharashtra state, which is widely spoken through out Mumbai. The other languages that are spoken include Hindi, Gujarati, and English. A colloquial form of Hindi, known as Bambaiya – a blend of Marathi, Hindi, Indian English and some invented words – is also spoken on the streets.

It is also to be note that English is not only the language of the executive, or the white collar job-force, but is also widely understood throughout Mumbai.

Bombay (now properly called Mumbai) is a city of great contrast. One minute you can be surrounded by poverty and the next minute you can be in a cozy restaurant enjoying great food and wine.

It is not surprising that Mumbai suffers from the common urbanization problems that is seen in many fast growing cities in third world developing countries – which is widespread poverty and unemployment, poor public health and poor civic and Ofcourse educational standards for a large section of the population.

With available space, going at a premium, Mumbai residents often live in cramped and rather expensive housing which is usually located far from their workplaces, and therefore requiring long commutes on crowded mass transit, or jammed roadways.

Presently, more than 60% of the city's population lives in slums

Remember the “slumdog millionaire”

Mumbai has a large polyglot population like any other metropolitan city of India.

Most other people live comfortably in large apartments, and they typically have drivers and servants (such as a cook). Meals are usually really cheap or fairly expensive. And most visitors of the city are said to either love or hate it.

Mumbai is also the glamour of Bollywood cinema so if possible it would be nice to try and experience Bollywood (and hopefully be an extra in a Bollywood movie)…it would be fun.

Mumbai is also the commercial and entertainment centre of India, generating 5% of India's GDP and accounting for 25% of industrial output, 40% of maritime trade, and 70% of capital transactions to India's economy and it is also one of the world's top ten centers of commerce by global financial flow

There are shopping malls full of designer labels, cricket on the Oval Maidan, promenading families eating bhelpuri or having the famous Bombay Burger or the traditional masala chai teas and the masala dosais on the beach at Chowpatty, red double-decker buses queuing in grinding traffic jams and the infamous cages of the red-light district…..

It's a city with vibrant streetlife, India's best nightlife, and a wealth of bazaars. Outdoor bazaars top the list of attractions for the bargains for example shopping in Fort/ Colaba neighborhoods… you'll find very inexpensive scarves, necklaces, t-shirts, leather sandals and anything touristy. You can do some bargaining [which is fun], but at a certain point it doesn't feel worth it to make a fuss over what's only worth $1 to a traveler, even though if they are technically trying to rip you off by their standards….so have fun and just give in gradually…..

More sightseeing options are the Gandhi Museum, in the leader's former home, and the cave temples of Elephanta Island.

For tranquility, Mumbai has many religious sites, lakes and parks. Popular waterfront destinations are Marine Drive, where visitors go to watch the sun set over the Arabian Sea, and the carnival-like Juhu Beach.

And for those inclined towards the media. Mumbai also enjoys an array of media in print and on the radio. English speakers are spoiled for choice as the major national papers have Mumbai bureaux and there are various English-language local papers and magazines.

Mumbai is geographically located in a tropical zone and is positioned near the Arabian Sea, thereby giving the city, two main climatic seasons - the humid and the dry season.

The humid season falls between March and October, is characterized by high humidity and temperature and between June and September, the monsoon rains lash the city. The dry season is between November and February and is characterized by moderate levels of humidity and warm to cool weather.

So pack your travel bags, November through March is a very good time to visit Mumbai. It is peak season, so make sure all your bookings are done in advance. Prices are higher at this time, of course.

Welcome to Mumbai and don’t forget your bhelpuri !

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Outsource for More Profits

Recently Sony announced at Tokyo that it will be cutting 8,000 jobs which constitute five percent of its total permanent workforce and the rest from the part-time employees as a result of the global slowdown.

According to Sony, the new business plan is expected to deliver more than 1.1 billion in cost savings a year by March 2010.

What is offshoring? Offshoring is a type of outsourcing. Offshoring simply means having the outsourced business functions done in another country. Frequently, work is offshored in order to reduce labor expenses. Other times, the reasons for offshoring are strategic -- to enter new markets, to tap talent currently unavailable domestically or to overcome regulations that prevent specific activities domestically.

The phrase that I think describes the old, outdated approach well is, 'your mess for less', with the outsourced company taking on your operation and simply running it at a lower cost.

Today's corporation succeeds based on its ability to establish and sustain a network of strategic business partners. More and more companies are realizing the benefits in turning around core competencies and outside relationships. "Do what you do best and outsource the rest" is the credo, and for good reason.

Outsource for More Profits

Resourcing allows to free internal resources and allow HR practitioners to be more strategic. Instead of entering data, crunching numbers and pushing paper, HR can focus on core/non-administrative functions. Offloading the administrative work maximizes the organization's resources.

Alternately they can offer access to expertise. Organizations that outsource gain access to know-how they probably do not possess. They tap into a broad network of experienced people and best practices.

There are, however, some common misconceptions about outsourcing, including the belief that it can and will in every situation:

One of the core reasons is that outsourcing cuts costs thereby increasing profits. Although outsourcing will provide cost savings for some organizations (mostly those that are very large and extremely inefficient), in most cases, it is dollar-for-dollar cost neutral.

Take an organization with hundreds of people in HR: If it can save just 5 percent of the $100 million dollars it spends on HR, it will save $5 million. But a company with only 10 people in HR is not going to pay for the service by shifting the work off one or two employees. What will happen is that the department will gain an increase in benefits or services -- more bang for the buck.

Besides, "The capital crunch and cost pressures due to the financial crisis will force enterprises to outsource more of their back office operations to vendors like Sitel for cost arbitrage and access to talent pool. In spite of lower IT budgets, we are upbeat on surviving the crisis and sustaining growth," Adeni asserted.

Multishoring is a trend that mirrors the evolution of IT outsourcing. Gone are the days of 10-year deals being awarded to the traditional global outsourcing providers. The reality of IT outsourcing now is shorter contracts, with a number of specialist suppliers.

Similarly, multishoring enables companies to secure best-of-breed outsourcing solutions, thus tapping into specialist skills sets and maximizing the merits of each offshoring location.

You can have different suppliers, in different locations for different functions. As multishoring takes off, what we're seeing is a trend towards suppliers opening operations in different locations to give companies the option of a multi-shore strategy but with the security of a single supplier contract.

Simply outsource processes elsewhere in an attempt to break from the traditional mould
Use India as one supply location as part of a global strategy whereby elements in which India excels, such as knowledge process outsourcing, will be outsourced to India, but other processes will be nearshored, onshored or offshored to other locations. In terms of costs, India and China remain amongst the cheapest options, yet the tax-free incentives schemes offered by Dubai, for example, are leading to a far greater competition regarding cost in the global market place.

Conclusion - Outsource for More Profits

In conclusion, the new global environment is offering opportunities aplenty to end users. With the emergence of global service provision, end users have the world at their feet and the multishoring 'pick and mix' approach can maximize this.

By capitalizing upon several offshoring locations, possibly in tandem, end users can accrue a low cost offering with the particular skills that are required. India is still a vital cog in the outsourcing wheel, but taking the risk and going elsewhere can sometimes reap massive benefits.

Through innovative outside relationships, organizations are aggressively reshaping themselves and fundamentally changing the way they do business. Unprecedented levels of performance and profitability have resulted from these efforts. The bottom line is that outsourcing has become one of today's most powerful, organization-shaping management strategies. Smart corporations of the future will serve their customers by functioning more as a focuser of resources than as an owner of resources.

Outsourcing a non-core function like the data center to a high quality provider that gives enhanced levels of service at a lower cost helps businesses to compete in today's highly competitive marketplace.

In conclusion, it can be safely said that outsourcing allows freeing of internal resources and allowing executives to be more strategic. Instead of entering data, crunching numbers and pushing paper, company executives can focus on profitability and core/ non-administrative functions. In other words, offloading the administrative work maximizes the organization's resources.

Bottom line - Outsourcing is a necessary component of a profitable company’s business plan. By choosing wisely, a company can be more profitable and efficient by letting other companies take some of the load.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Does Everything Have A Reason ?

Most of us believe in the Lord, but there are a growing number that are fast becoming atheists.

Thank the Lord for that!!

Let’s not confuse being agnostic and being an atheist.

People who are agnostic don’t believe in religion as a mean to reach the Lord, they prefer a more direct path. Most people believe in the big guy above [with due apologies], but in a different way. The problem is in the concept of belief and worship - idol worship, temple, mosque, church, monasteries - this is where the argument is..

People who believe in a higher power, in a controlling force, in destiny usually tribute everyone of their actions to the Lord. That is sometimes fear and excuse….Mainly because, most of the wrong actions that lead to pain are ONLY because of their own wrong doing and there is NO punishment from above… The wrong doing can also be done as a good deed only to realize later…that was bad…

The flaw is that when you completely give up everything to the Lord that basically means that you have no control over your own actions, over your own sense of morality. This way any action would be justified as an act of the ‘Big Chief’. Pretty much meaning that anyone can get away with murder by believing that was the decision of the man above. This is not to condemn those good people - but it is just a personal viewpoint. Just that service is above everything else.

Obviously, all roads lead to the asylum after that.

In the middle of all this, there is a lot of confusion and most of the time it is here where people are completely lost, and thus people like those guys who teach you the Art of Living, and those evangelical priests who make very forceful speeches, make money.

Come on guys - they also need a living!

They provide you answers to go from the gray to the black and white again.

Belief is something that can’t be taught. A new born doesn't trust in his own body, until he is cognizant or as you say until his brain is completely in control of it and that’s all there’s to it. The logic is pure, and the rationality of thought also, but what atheists fail to explain, is that voice inside.

What is that single force that unites us all in so many different ways makes every human similar?

There is something within us which blossoms only when we are cognizant and we have a fuller understanding of yourself. In other words, by believing the Lord is within you, inside you, is the most powerful force on earth, only you might not call it a Lord. That kind of belief is true power, a power to achieve any goal.

He ain’t gonna be upset, that’s for sure.

Phew - It gives him an opportunity to take a break!!