As some of you already know, I’m in Mumbai and Bangalore, India this week working with a couple of outsourcing firms on clinical IT projects. I’ve been working with outsourcers in places like Pakistan, Russia, and India for almost a decade and it’s going to be great to get out to India to see how “offshoring” works first-hand instead of across thousands of miles.
I can’t say I enjoyed my visit to my travel nurse before the trip. If you read the CDC warnings and bulletins (which she recited almost verbatim) for India you’d think you were headed into a germ warzone. I got all my shots (5!) to get me up to vaccination standards and got some anti-biotics and ant-malaria pills and I was off.
My first day in India went well: I arrived on a British Airways Club World class Boeing 777 aircraft and the service and lay-flat seats were pretty good. I got some sleep so I didn’t have to battle too much fatigue. As soon as I arrived at the airport my driver (that sounds so pretentious), Sheikh, picked me up and walked me towards my car. There I was mauled by about a half dozen orphans all under the age of 9 asking for money for food. I’m a softie so I gave them each $1 (which is alot of rupees for them). Sheikh said that might have been a mistake and he was right since the moment I handed out the first dollar about another half dozen or so kids attached themselves to the car and I thought we might accidentally run them over.
Sheikh drove me from the airport to my hotel and the drive, which couldn’t have been more than 10 miles, took almost forever given the slow pace of traffic and crowded streets. The driver was great and talked me through the landmarks and important places to see. He also pointed out “asia’s largest slum” area as we passed through it and I saw first-hand how devastatingly poor much of the country really is. As I got closer to the hotel the living conditions for folks seemingly improved but I must say I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in the slums.
Once at the hotel I was pleasantly surprised to see that there’s little or no difference between my hotel and a 4-star or 5-star hotel in the US. The service is impeccable, there are people catering to almost any need, and it seems like there are more service people available than actual guests. Very nice.
For dinner I met with one of the VPs of the outsourcing firms I’m visiting to setup an agenda for the week. He was knowledgable and articulate, something I’ve found of most of the Indians I’ve met so far. We spent about 2 hours discussing clinical IT architecture and other related topics over my first “real” Indian meal — but it seemed to taste similar to what I have eaten in the States.
Well, that’s the report from my first day. On day 2 I’ll actually be visiting offices and talking to actual architects, coders, and testers to get first-hand knowledge of what’s going on in offshoring of IT. I think I’m going to have a blast. Stay tuned.