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Take 10 to figure out the truth (Satyam)

The print media has had its day. The TV channels have trotted out all the studio-hopping experts they could muster. Shock and horror has been expressed by all the right people in the Indian infotech industry while adroitly distancing themselves and their own outfits from the Satyam fallout. Have a few things been left unsaid, that should be said? Things that lay, and presumably naive, persons -- what we in India call the 'aam janatha' -- are saying? We , at any rate, think so -- and here's our Take 10, groping to figure out the larger satyam ( ironic! the word stands for truth) about the Case of the Non existent Billion dollars: Take #1: Like how many of those who are mouthing pious platitudes about ethical standards and tightening regulatory controls were waxing lyrical not too long ago about letting free market forces rule, asking government to stop breathing down their necks Take # 2: Like how many of them are coldly calculating how of much of Satyam's business they can hope to scoop up -- when ( if they are indeed the industry leaders they profess to be ) they should be trying to see how quickly they can help restore 'business as usual' at Satyam so that as many of the 50,000 odd employees are motivated to get back to work to service the accounts of the 500 global customers without let or interruption. That way, the India brand will -- hopefully -- be restored. Take # 3: Like, investors are the big losers, not just the institutional ones, who at least had the option of selling and running all day on Wednesday -- but the little guys who trusted Satyam to make money for them. Who's going to look after them once the mess is cleaned up? Take # 4: Like, sparing a thought for Satyam's skilled workforce and their dilemma today. They are great at their job -- Satyam didn't become service provider to nearly 200 Fortune 500 companies by hiring second raters to do the job. These half a hundred thousand people constitute the real wealth of Satyam -- not the billions of real or imaginary rupees on the balance sheets. And unless they all scoot into the night which is unlikely that is an asset beyond price for any new entity that takes over the business of Satyam. Take# 5: Like how many of Satyam's corporate customers, will wait and watch to see who is going to run their business tomorrow -- and if satisfied they will stick -- and shouldn't this be priority number one -- for Satyam, the government, even the competition in India? Take # 6: Like Satyam 's promoters are an easy target right now and well deserve all the brickbats they are getting -- but are we going to examine the entire ecosystem of checks and balances that apparently rolled over and let the deception all happen for years? Or will the rest get away with a light rap on the knuckles ? Take #7 Like let's not forget, Satyam put Cyberabad, sorry Hyderabad, on the IT map of India... it was the anchor company which persuaded others to set up shop -- and so in his own way did former Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu who made a powerpoint presentation to Bill Gates that eventually saw Microsoft create that huge R&D complex in Gacchi Bowli. Take #8: And while we are on this tack, let's credit Satyam for creating the largest national network of I-way cyber cafes -- all to a uniform standard, look and feel -- enabling millions of young Indians to surf the Internet for Rs 20 an hour or less. These are lasting legacies that the company created in happier times. Take #9: Like companies can talk about due diligence and corrective mechanisms to prevent another Satyam-style scam -- what about the rest of us suckers who queue up with those 5000 rupee bank drafts in our sweaty palms to buy a share or two in companies every one advices are the salt of the earth? What happens next time another public company led by promoters with minimal holdings decide is treated by them like a family property?




    


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