1. Express IT Awards: Indian tech industry on the cusp of change

Express IT Awards: Indian tech industry on the cusp of change

The spirit of innovation fuelled by advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and Big Data has redrawn the boundaries of India’s tech industry and in the process has thrown up creative software solutions

By: | Updated: September 7, 2015 6:17 PM
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Innovation has become a key buzzword for the industry and a company which loses its focus stands the chance of becoming irrelevant.

Indian IT’s innovation engine is firing on all cylinders with technologies such as automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, digital and Big Data redefining the sector in recent times. The Indian technology industry which was earlier dominated by the IT services segment is witnessing a rapid change with companies adopting the latest advanced technologies and in the process effecting a change in its entire  business model.

In the process, innovation has become a key buzzword for the industry and a company which loses its focus stands the chance of becoming irrelevant. For example, automation has become a key driving force for the Indian IT services industry, making it more efficient and cost effective. Today, no entity in the industry is untouched by these factors, be it the established IT companies, software product firms or the startup community. Automation has eliminated the need for human resources to perform repetitive tasks and big data is able to crunch humungous amount of information.

The prior model of augmenting human resources for any technology related activity is being replaced by robotics and artificial intelligence. In essence there is a lesser reliance on people resources. During a recent analyst call, Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka had remarked that there was an inevitable shift towards automation in the IT services industry. The current model is unlikely to sustain itself. “There is a better idea where people become more creative amplified by software,” he said.

Similarly, the global technology giants like IBM are finding plentiful opportunities to innovate in India. It recently showcased its range of hi-tech solutions which find applications in multiple sectors like healthcare, education, finance, disaster management. “We are going after the digital India theme,” said Kaushik Bhaskar, vice-president, India Software Labs, IBM India. For example, the tech giant unveiled a new solution in the education sector which enables personalised learning on cloud. It is already in dialogue with a few educational institutions on how to
disseminate the curricula through cloud technologies.

Similarly, it has created a new solution called the digital locker. This will provide dedicated personal storage space, linked to each resident’s Aadhaar number. The programme aims to enable citizens to share e-documents with government agencies thus eliminating the need for hard copies of notarised documents. By sharing these documents through registered repositories, it will ensure authenticity of documents online, thus eliminating fraud and loss of important certificates and documents. Bhaskar said IBM plans to introduce this digital locker solution with a financial institution in Karnataka soon.

However, the biggest buzz for the Indian IT industry has been around the software product companies and the startup segment. It is expected that this segment will be the next big employment generator the industry. According to Nasscom, India is fourth largest country in terms of startups with 3,100 such firms. It has seen a 14% growth on an annual basis in the number of firms being created. The heartening aspect being that 53% of these entrepreneurs fall in the age bracket of 26-35 years, revealing its younger profile.

TV Mohandas Pai, chairman of Board, Manipal Global Education, felt that internet technologies is a major disruption and India can capitalise on these to have an impact on the global markets. The statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Independence Day speech of “Startup India, Standup India” has also come as a boost for this growing tribe.

Nasscom Product Council chairman Ravi Gururaj said, “Today, the startups have three key requirements: ease of business as they startup, a nurturing environment in their early phase and assistance in achieving growth as they scale up.” He felt that the key now is on ground implementation and hoped that such announcements translate into real action near term.

The other segment which is building its own quiet momentum is the software product companies in India. iSPIRT, a thinktank promoting such firms in its recent report on the software product industry index said that the top 30 companies are valued at $10.25 billion and employ over 21,000 people. The index has grown 20% in US dollar terms and 28% in rupee terms from October 30, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

According to the report, there has been an acceleration since 2010 in the pace of creation of B2B companies.

Vertically-focused offerings in retail, travel, financial services, media have achieved scale and are likely to see some larger exits in terms of IPOs or M&A over the next couple of years.

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