India’s leadership position in Information Technology is now well established. With over 52%* of the global sourcing share, 24% of the total country’s exports, 8% of the GDP and over 3 million direct employment, IT industry has certainly placed India at the top. The achievement is by no means ordinary considering the severe financial crisis India faced on the external trade front in 1991 with forex reserves at bare minimum.
The journey so far can be categorized into 2 major phases, the first phase till the year 2000 and the second from the year 2000. In the first phase of growth, several things worked for the industry including severe shortage of skilled resources in the developed world, pro-industry policy from the Government and availability of good quality talent pool in India. The second phase is marked by large outsourcing deals involving end-to-end business process management, MNCs setting up their in-house development centers in India and the huge internet opportunity. The skills and domain expertise that Indian IT companies gained in the process are valuable and are now paving way for the next phase of growth of the Industry which can perhaps be categorized under IT3.0
Today, Indian economy has evolved from primarily an agro-based economy to a services based economy and the future direction is about leveraging the knowledge gained in IT to applying to areas that serve India.
IT if planned well and implemented can be an excellent facilitator for improving efficiencies across every sector. SMEs in manufacturing face several challenges including shortages in power, skills, capital etc. Identifying the key process areas and automating those can help SMEs in meeting their customer expectations as well as compete against cheap imports. So whether it is in resource utilization or on-time shipment of the goods or accurately invoicing for the goods, implementing IT solutions can bring about both visible and measurable benefits. SMEs can also significantly benefit in generating new customers and build credibility through website management and posting technical articles. Majority of the SMEs in the manufacturing sector still don’t have even a website and providing affordable IT solutions to these SMEs in manufacturing is the opportunity that is wide open for the Indian IT industry.
In the area of Governance, Aadhar scheme once fully deployed is expected to be a single point of registration for citizens to avail Government incentives. Through a tight integration of the beneficiaries’ data to the financial system, Governments would be able to align the programs with the objectives, reduce inefficiencies and monitor success of the welfare measures. Schemes like these are expected to open up several new services that could be offered to the end users and IT is expected to play a very crucial role in facilitating better Governance and improving the effectiveness of welfare measures.
Healthcare is another area that offers tremendous scope for the IT industry in terms of improving the quality of service at lower costs. Typically, only large towns benefit from the advances in technologies and access to healthcare. People living in villages have no option but to travel to cities for even basic medical advice but going forward with advancements in ICT, healthcare is expected to reach even the remotest areas of the country. Not just in providing better healthcare, there are number of companies that are working on building competencies in predicting occurrence of diseases by analysing past data and changes in factors that cause epidemics.
A key area that requires improvement in India is quality of education. Most Government schools suffer from insufficient teaching staff and non-availability of text books. While some corporate schools have the advantage of using latest teaching aids, majority of the schools in India will not be able to afford such facilities unless the cost is brought down. Indian IT industry has the responsibility as well as huge opportunity to tap this vast market by providing cheap and affordable tablets that can replace text books to creating content for these tablets. At a more senior level, advanced tablets that can also be interactive could dramatically lift the quality of education level and open up opportunities to all.
Agriculture has been an important contributor to India’s GDP. A majority of India still live in the rural areas and depend on agriculture. Farmers today face maximum uncertainty and are completely dependent on either the Government or middlemen in selling their produce or obtaining inputs for farming. Access to information and technologies that could improve productivity and reduce dependence on nature have the potential to transform lives of farmers and bring prosperity in their lives. Today, ICT can provide information on global demand and supply situation of food products, make rainfall predictions and so on so forth. Integrating with the global supply chains could help attract investments in storage, food processing, logistics and other associated businesses. India has the opportunity of achieving leadership position in agriculture products.
To summarize, IT 3.0 is about serving India. By providing solutions across sectors, we can sustain and achieve growth rates that could help India to achieve leadership position beyond IT. There are host of entrepreneurship opportunities that are emerging for students just graduating from their colleges to domain experts who are looking to serve this large untapped market. The windows are just opening up, welcome the change!
Author: Murali Manohara Rao Bulusu, Director of Strategic Marketing, Sankhya Technologies Private Limited. Past President, Vizag Information Technology Association. Member, NASSCOM Regional Council, AP. Views are personal. firstname.lastname@example.org [* Source- NASSCOM]