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Arun Madhavan

This chapter addresses the questions of how an Indian firm in the IT services sector acquired the capabilities to succeed in a highly competitive global marketplace and which factors contributed to their success. To answer these questions, a detailed study of Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL), a leading and pioneering Indian IT firm, is presented. An evolutionary account of HCL’s experience examines how the capability-building strategies of HCL grew and evolved in response to environmental changes, which were both national and global in nature. The study suggests that continuous learning and the ability to change are essential traits for a successful IT firm. It also suggests that a key role was played by the Indian state in the emergence of the IT industry, contradicting the generally held view that the absence of state engagement enabled this sector. In fact, the study highlights the complementary roles played by the state and the private sector in the development of the sector and the success of HCL. The chapter also presents a model to explain the nature of the Indian IT industry.