Tech blog

Tech blog

The body shoppers

»The Indian IT companies hate anyone who calls them body shoppers. They say they are doing complicated technical work now and outgrowing the body shopping business.
Body shopping, despite the derisive ring to the phrase, has played a key role in  the rise of the Indian IT industry. The Indian companies were body shopping way before they started offshoring. In the ‘70s TCS used to distribute Burroughs machines, which competed with IBM mainframes, in India. So it had a strong team on that platform. 

In the US, which was under the IBM sway, Burroughs programmers were hard to find and when they were available they were expensive. So, TCS started shipping its people to work at clients with Burroughs machines. Other Indian companies did the same. One of the first deals Wipro made outside the country was to send people to work at Intel. While Intel got a few extra pair of hands, Wipro got exposed to cutting-edge technology. Soon, body shopping became one of the main businesses of Indian firms. Despite their constant effort to play it down, body shopping is used extensively in the industry both in domestic and outside markets.

An article in Tech Radar says the body shopping model may be more relevant now than before. It quotes a survey of 2,000 CIOs, who say they are handicapped by the lack of many IT skills. To overcome the shortage, renting temporary staff or body shopping, is a good way out says the article.

The advantages: It is much easier to find engineers with required expertise through body shopping than to hire them yourself. Just approach one of the large Indian firms with your wish list, they will have their engineer flying to you in the next flight. It is particularly useful when you have an emergency or a temporary need. You can fly back the engineer after the work is done. Most attractively, it lets you dodge hiring and training overheads.
In the coming days enterprising organisations will body shop more, concludes  the article.