Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Websites take clients for the infamous ‘Indian ride’

Hiding behind snazzy graphics and animations are websites of Indian e-learning companies that are strikingly erroneous – smeared with incorrigible elements that are simply boisterous, over-jazzed or downright atrocious. The results are perhaps obvious as more and more international e-learning clients today refuse to be taken on the ‘Indian ride’ as they stand demanding more details. Its time Indian companies revamp their websites to portray the ‘facts’ as they are.

The indubitable truth, folklorists say, follows like a spook. This is perhaps true with the Internet medium that offers unlimited scope for the audience to see through the farcical. Quite oblivious of the concept of how and what they communicate, several Indian e-learning companies appear to have hurriedly put together websites that make dubitable claims on their e-learning capabilities. This desperation is perhaps driven by increased local competition where each company is trying their level best to woo the ‘best international clients'. Unfortunately these websites reveal the secrets -- pretty easily.

The Graphic Blunder
Apparently e-learning websites carry captive images of cheerful men and women drawn from a diverse global culture: African, American and European. Impressive though, these smiling faces are definitely not the real people behind the company’s e-learning efforts. In reality, the entire workforce consists of Indians.

By positioning the photographs of foreigners, these companies portray Indians in bad light. They tend to reinforce that Indian employees are inferior, incapable and incompetent. The practice perhaps seeks to reinforce the notion that Indian e-learning professionals lack competence and formal training that is so essential in e-learning. Surprisingly, there’s no voice against this misguided approach. Perhaps e-learning professionals accept this as a whiff of fate.

Jargon-smeared literature
Jargons are a craze in most e-learning companies. Phrases such as ‘top of the line’, ‘cutting-edge’ and ‘top notch’ are being used excessively thereby diluting the essence of the communication. There are examples of e-learning companies hiring copywriters from the advertising industry to help them perform the ‘trick.’

Jargons are passé and it is doubtful whether the old tricks work fine with all western clients. Indian companies perhaps seem to have forgotten that the hype surrounding the new media is long dead ever since the dot com bust in the late 1990s. Clients now firmly believe that there is no alternative to quality work – the ones delivering quality work need not ‘shout’ at the top of their voice, they get noticed even if they lie low.

Client List: Brand Transfer
The next strategy problematic area in websites is the long display of foreign clients on the home pages. Client logos are displayed as a priced element, with the sole objective of transferring value to their otherwise ‘valueless’ entities. Client list makes sense for big organizations such as Tata Interactive Services (TIS) and NIIT – for others, it’s calamitous. Some of the clients displayed in the websites of smaller companies are ones who got a few odd jobs worth a few thousand dollars done and never returned back. Yet, Indian companies carry their relationships with pride – a relationship that never was.

Suggested Measures
Its time e-learning companies in India start looking at the facts on the face. The best way to serve the international clientele is to come out with the truth through a truthful account of their capabilities, their resources and their intentions. Carried for long, these websites this could well mean the death knell for the industry in India as clients scout for other sincere service providers in China and other cheaper destinations across the world. Sincerity helps!


John Steel said...


Thanks for the informative articles on e-learning. I think your's is a brillant effort in seperating the wheat from the chaff.



Manish said...

Hi Asim,

This was a very realistic insight. I think all of us can directly relate to it.

To save their face and for long-term success e-learning companies in Inida should efinitely pay attention to these aspects.