Third Annual Globalization of Services Conference Summary Report

On December 7 and 8, 2007, the Third Annual Globalization of Services Conference organized by Rafiq Dossani and Martin Kenney was held at Stanford University. The conference explored the following questions:

  1. The changing geography of system integrators: The incumbent system integrators (SIs) are building up their developing nation service provision capability through acquisitions and internal expansion. The thrust of their expansion is to add capacity quickly. Can they manage it effectively? At a slower pace, the Indian SIs are doing the same in developed and developing nations: adding low cost workforces in developing countries, buying relationships in developed countries. Can they manage it effectively. Will growth rates and margins converge; if not, why not? What are some of the interesting differences between firm strategies?

  2. The changing business models of system integrators: The Indian system integrators appear to be driving a new, metric-based quality model that is driving price compression. Is this strong enough to provide a permanent advantage? IBM and others are responding with a combination of superior technology, client relationships and domain expertise, drawing upon their established strengths while also expanding in India and other low-cost developing countries. Are we witnessing a convergence to a common business model? Is there a European perspective? Is it different and does it make a difference?

  3. Product firms' globalization strategies (separate sessions on established and new firms): The IT product firms have to balance several additional factors that service firms like the SIs do not face when they globalize; among them, intellectual property protection, business development, managing innovation, research team coordination and marketing. How is this working, and what business models are they experimenting with? What are the differences between an established firm versus a startup?