| BANGALORE, India This year's collaborative product engineering customer meet organized by Wipro Technologies in Santa Clara, Calif., showed that product development and sustenance followed by testing was the key area of interest for companies looking to outsource jobs. |
Over 50 senior executives from companies into computing platforms, consumer electronics, networking and storage attended the meet, and surprisingly, there was a good attendance from startups too, said Sangita Singh, chief marketing officer, Wipro Technologies.
Based in Bangalore, Wipro is believed to be the largest outsourcing partner in pure-play research and development services. It employs over 7,000 engineers in the telecoms, networking and embedded and VLSI technologies.
More than 70 technology firms are its customers for such services, out of the overall 300 or so customers in all, including those using Wipro for application software development. The overall number of engineers Wipro employs now numbers over 30,000.
Most attendee companies said they outsource engineering service to multiple partners and they would like to see these partners investing more, have a risk-reward model from the partner and better relationship management. The top reasons for outsourcing is to reduce product development costs and time-to-market, and cut research and development costs.
In Wipro's case, its investments in solution blocks and IPs such as WLAN, IEEE 1394, hands- free telephony system, digital TV and set-top box solutions, Linux-based mobile phone framework, video-over-wireless are seen as key advantages, Singh said. This was followed by Wipro's full product engineering capability and ability to re-engineer products for new markets. A poll among the invitees conducted indicated that 13 percent of respondents found they were getting better-than-expected value by globally sourcing research and development, with a similar number saying they were disappointed. Another 39 percent found global sourcing worthwhile while 35 percent are exploring whether it can be done.
About 29 percent of respondents said their R&D budgets had fallen by up to 10 percent this year, while a similar number said it remained the same as in 2004. It increased by up to 10 percent among 32 percent of respondents' firms.