‘It’s difficult to adhere strictly to processes in India, as you have to bear in mind unique requirements. Working here demands a more flexible approach’
Sameer Kapoor’s first role in the telecoms industry was as a vendor, and he then spent ten years with operators such as Reliance and Vodafone, joining Ericsson six years ago. He’s now based in Delhi, and is the Managed Service Manager for the whole of India.
Sameer’s role is very different to the one he previously had in Nigeria. ‘Though Nigeria was challenging, it was a much smaller operation, team, customer set and activity level. Over there I dealt mainly with European resources, and some US resources too, but here we mainly use local talent, unless there are special circumstances, such as the introduction of new technology.’
Although India has less demand for external resources than Nigeria, its telecoms industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world, so the sheer volume of work, combined with frequent unique circumstances, means that Sameer’s role is a demanding and political one. Margins are very slim, and good resources can be difficult to come by at the rate they want to pay. A requirement normally comes about in relation to CDMA (an area that Ericsson had moved out of), or in relation to new technologies, such as the introduction of 3G. Licenses for 3G were issued late in India, so there’s suddenly a need for resources and local competence.
The first time Sameer used First Point was just a few months ago, when Ericsson decided to take on a small customer in the CDMA space as part of its first multi-vendor deal in India. James Kavanagh, from FPG Hong Kong, put forward an Indonesian engineer who’d worked with the 3rd party equipment involved (from ZTE, a Chinese Vendor). The experience was not without its problems, as, a few days after arriving in Delhi, the engineer fell ill, and had to be hospitalised for two weeks. She later returned and successfully completed the project: ‘In the end the job was great’, says Sameer.
Sameer has gone on to use FPG again, and in fact has just appointed one of their candidate engineers to a back office position. ‘Business-wise, James is very quick off the mark’, he comments. ‘We were hoping to meet up when he visited Delhi last week, but on the day I couldn’t make it, unfortunately. He seems like a nice guy, and he’s very bright.’
Family commitments mean that Sameer is firmly settled back in India again. Asked about the future, he replies that he’s working on realigning everything, transforming how the requirement will be tracked and bought. Being quick off the mark is likely to become an even more valuable asset from now on…
Interview dated: January 2011
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