I returned home as I was fed up with life in a metro. When I shared my experience with many people who work outside Kerala, I understood that all of them wish to return to Kerala. This could be the major trend in the IT sector in Kerala in the next ten years.
Many executives in the middle-management level in countries such as the Gulf nations may shift to Kerala’s IT parks such as SmartCity, Infopark and Technopark.
An opportunity to work close to home with better facilities is no small attraction. All metro cities are crowded. Professionals at the middle-management level would prefer coming to Kerala if they are assured of a quality life here.
Kerala will also benefit from the economic crisis in the Gulf countries. Gulf countries will have to tighten the belt because of the slide in oil prices. Chances are greater for Kerala to become a hub for companies in the Gulf countries.
Kochi has an advantage with its SmartCity. Companies can operate offices and associated functions at a cost lower than in the Gulf region. Back offices will be shifted here. The IT professionals working in the Gulf will benefit from this.
Proximity to airport will also help. The E&Y’s expanded operations in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram are an example of this.
Startup companies will also benefit from an influx of big companies. They can benefit from the expansion in Infopark and SmartCity. This is a kind of cross pollination. New-gen companies will get more mentors as experienced professionals in IT and related sectors come here. Indian startups tend to shift to the Gulf region once they get a footing. They generally do so amid financial restraints. They will benefit when their customers in the Gulf countries come to Kerala.
Startups will have a bright future when big companies outsource to Kerala. They can also grow by sharing ideas with experts and draw from their experiences. The startup ecosystem will be strengthened in the years to come.
(The writer is a former director of Microsoft Corporation and the founder of JackFruit 365)