Going digital appears to be the trend shaping organisations today. The word ‘digital’ encompasses all the new-age terms we are increasingly becoming familiar with—SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud), the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, virtual reality, cyber security, to name a few.
Independent research by IDC, Assocham and Nasscom has indicated that digital transformation will become big business in the years to come—digitally-transformed organisations are stated to be 26% more profitable compared to those who don’t take this route. IDC reports that global spending on digital transformation technologies will cross $2.1 billion by 2019. Yet another study indicates that, by 2018, 35% of IT resources will be spent onsupporting the creation of new digital revenue streams, and by 2020 almost 50% of IT budgets will be tied to digital transformation initiatives.
While predictions about the digital transformation trend are good news, what is worrisome is whether the ICT industry in India is ready—in terms of rightly skilled talent—to support digital transformation initiatives being rolled out by organisations. The view of industry pundits is that companies allocating almost 50% of their IT budgets on new digital revenue streams by 2020 will create an unprecedented demand of over 10 lakh newly-trained digital professionals. It tells a compelling story.
India, which has a leadership position within the global technology realm owing to its strong ecosystem of MNC R&D centres, global in-house centres and software product start-ups, is best positioned to participate in this digital transformation dream.
As with the IT revolution, where the country’s skilled software professionals enabled her to occupy pride of place on the global IT-BPM services map, talent will play a major role in establishing our success in the digital era.
Techies, with advanced skills, can potentially power the digital transformation for enterprises around the world, and help India become a moonshot economy.
Research shows that India is home to a digitally-ready talent pool of 5 lakh engineers, who can help execute digital transformation projects. This number is set to rise to over 10 lakh engineers—trained in digital transformation technologies—by 2020.
This massive demand will ensure that even entry-level and experienced professionals with digital transformation skills draw at least 50-60% higher salaries than those with traditional IT skills. With these myriad positives on its side, all India needs to do is build its next generation of skilled tech resources that can give it an edge in the global digital transformation universe. And the resources can and will be made available.
At NIIT—a company that once helped create manpower resources that fuelled the rise of the Indian IT juggernaut—we have again taken up the challenge of fashioning India’s futuristic, future-ready and future-proof workforce. Leveraging our vast experience of having trained more than 35 million people in IT over 34 years, and our deep understanding on the changing skills needs of the industry, we are concentrating on redefining IT training and taking it to the next level—towards digital transformation. One of our initiatives is called the StackRoute, which aims to produce multi-skilled and multi-disciplinary full-stack programmers. We have also introduced retail training programmes in digital transformation technologies under the DigiNxt umbrella, for young people wishing to enter the digital services industry.
With such and more options available to develop the next level of talent and bridge the yawning skills gap that currently exists within enterprises for such people, India is sure to expand its base of professionals who will drive the digital transformation strategies of global organisations. It is then that the country will emerge as the hub of talent and the digital skills capital of the world.
The author is president, Global Skills & Careers Group, NIIT Ltd