Oracle to double Indian development staff numbers

Oracle plans to increase from 3000 to over 6000 the number of staff it has engaged in software development and other areas, such as customer service, in India, Larry Ellison, the company's chairman and chief executive officer said Thursday.

"We are continuing to invest in India not only in software development, but also in professional services," Ellison said during a videoconference with Indian media and users in Delhi. "It is not just us. A lot of other companies like General Electric and Microsoft are doing this as well."

While China is specializing in the area of outsourced manufacturing, India is ahead in services, Ellison said. "In general it seems like the world economy is going in the direction of outsourcing a tremendous amount of manufacturing activity to China, and a lot of service activity to India," he said. "There is software outsourcing to China but it is not really to the same extent as manufacturing, which seems to be increasingly becoming China's specialization. Correspondingly, we see professional services, not just software services but a variety of services including accounting services and telesales, moving to India," Ellison said.

English language skills in the country, and educational institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) were important in developing the service sector in India, Ellison added.

Having set up software development operations in India in 1994, at its centers in Hyderabad and Bangalore, Oracle last year began moving other services such as support to India. The company's Global Support Center, spread between Bangalore and Hyderabad, is one of four centers in the world that offer technical support on Oracle products. A Shared Services Center in Bangalore provides back-office services to Oracle subsidiaries worldwide.

The move by many multinational companies to outsource services to India has come in for criticism in both the U.S. and Europe. Microsoft received flak recently from the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech) in Seattle, which claimed that Microsoft is moving support jobs to Bangalore. WashTech is organizing technology workers to oppose outsourcing outside the U.S.

"This is not about moving jobs to India. We are creating new jobs in India," said Keith Budge, Oracle's regional managing director for South East Asia. " As a global organization, we have to be able to service our customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that means we have to be in multiple locations, and operate across different time zones. Also, the availability of skilled manpower in India is compelling enough for us to outsource to India." Oracle has been adding 100 staff a month on average over the last year and a half, according to Budge. He would not put a timeframe on how soon Oracle will ramp up to 6000 software development and services staff in India.