It became apparent from previous project work that much of the QA work in this instance could be undertaken by RMSI itself. Instead, the visit was to provide RMSI with the tools and training to enable them to play a larger role in future project QA.
While modern communication tools such as video conferencing are essential to ensuring that global partnerships are successful, nothing beats a face-to-face discussion to clarify issues around a project. The trip also provided me with an insight into an organisation which is a powerhouse in the competitive Indian GIS market.
The first thing to know about RMSI is that it is seriously big. It has a global presence with offices in 6 countries, main operations bases in three Indian cities, and a huge operation in Hyderabad. It employs over 3,500 staff and among those that I met, there was a high number of post-graduate qualifications. RMSI is able to attract and keep a highly qualified workforce because of its commitment to the wellbeing of its staff. The company is particularly proud of its achievement winning ‘India’s Best Company to work for’ in 2015, beating Google India for the top spot.
Before I arrived in Noida I had an expectation that RMSI would be operating from some kind of high-tech business park with a bunch of other IT companies, a model that is fairly ubiquitous in western countries. I was surprised to find that the office was in what appeared to be Noida’s automotive business centre with a large number of garages, auto-parts shops, mechanics and panel beaters. There were vehicles in various states of repair crowding the streets around the office and the surrounding streets had the sense of bustle and human activity that is usually associated with large Indian cities rather than the deserted sterility of a business park. RMSI’s offices provided an oasis of air-conditioned calm but it’s clear that operating in India presents a number of challenges that those of us operating in Australia do not face. In the 5 days that I was there, the building lights would go down 4 or 5 times every day however RMSI’s operations would not be affected as the IT infrastructure runs off a separate generator in the basement maintained by a dedicated team.
Despite, or perhaps because of, these challenges RMSI is achieving phenomenal growth in what is now a competitive global market for GIS services.