In 2000, I started working with a group of Accenture Indian and global leaders to start our first international Indian delivery centre, providing technology services to Accenture clients. Our beginnings were modest. We converted a factory in the northern suburbs of Mumbai into a 200 seat development centre, surrounded by pleasant grounds that seemed distant from the everyday turmoil of that great city. We started work in 2001 with just 2 clients, and by the end of the year we had hired around 70 people.
It was the start of an epic journey. It was my pleasure and privilege to be deeply involved with our Indian delivery centres until the beginning of 2014, when I moved into a new phase of my own career. Along the way, I made many, many Indian friends and colleagues, delighted in the way that India created employment and opportunity through digital technology and began to absorb just a little of its vast and glorious culture. We saw India become a natural part of the global economy, connected to businesses everywhere. As a group, we learnt about hyper-growth, transformation, scale and working as a global team around a common culture.
And at the start of 2014, our Accenture Indian team had opened in seven cities, made Bangalore the biggest location in Accenture and grown to more than 110,000 people. It the the great foundation of Accenture’s Global Delivery Network, and only just a teenager. A little before, we had held a great party to mark that success, rooted in our small beginning.
The Festival of Diwali
And of course, now it is Diwali – the festival of light that marks family, love, truth, knowledge and beginnings.
It has also become a symbol of India – ancient and modern, a nation of villages and digital tech – that is celebrated across the world.
In India itself, before the key celebration, people will decorate and clean their homes. The main Diwali night is a time for wearing new clothes and lighting the diyas or lamps that give the festival its name. Then, in a traditional household, prayers are offered to Lakshimi – the goddess of wealth and success. Fireworks and the sharing of sweets will follow. There are many stories and legends around Diwali, but overall it always signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. It is a time of cleansing, forgiveness and new beginnings.
A few, translated words from the extraordinary writer Rabindranath Tagore mark its meaning:
Light, oh where is the light!
Kindle it with the burning fire of desire!
It thunders and the wind rushes screaming through the void.
The night is black as a black stone.
Let not the hours pass by in the dark.
Kindle the lamp of love with thy life.
My Diwali Greeting
So, a simple Diwali message is for all my Indian friends, those from India, those who love India and those who miss India: Happy Diwali – Shubh Deepavali – to you, your own friends and your families. Whatever your own beliefs, I hope the next twelve months is a time of new starts, new connections and opportunities, new achievements, and success.
Deepavali ki Shubhkamnayein
Deepavali Habbada Shubhashayagalu
Shubh Deepavali Diwalichya Shubhechha
Subho Deepavalir Preeti O Subeccha
Keith Haviland is a business and digital technology leader, with a special focus on how to combine big vision and practical execution at the very largest scale, and how new technologies will reshape tech services. He is a Former Partner and Global Senior Managing Director at Accenture, and founder of Accenture’s Global Delivery Network.
Published author and active film producer, including Last Man on the Moonand Dying Laughing. Advisor/investor for web and cloud-based start-ups.