Will the Indian IT Industry boom in the post-Covid world? KPMG’s Technical Director, Dr. Dhaval Sheth, discusses 6 reasons how Indian ITES will shape up in the post-Covid world.
Information Technology (IT) encapsulates any computerized command, communication, control and reporting systems that organizations use to operate their businesses. IT services comprises the development, implementation, configuration and support of computerized systems and tools that are used in the development and maintenance of such systems.
The origins of IT industry can be traced back to early 1950’s when the first computers were introduced to the commercial world with the introduction of IBM’s first large computer, the IBM 701. After years of sluggish growth, the IT Services market reached stability in 1990 and since then it has risen to dizzying heights over the years.
India is one of the fastest-growing IT markets in the world. The rapid advent of Indian IT sector has transformed the Indian economy. The Indian IT industry has enabled an image makeover to the nation from being perceived as a slow-moving low technology-red taped economy to a high-tech nation of innovative entrepreneurs and innumerable opportunities. India is the world’s largest sourcing destination for the IT industry.
1. Strong Clients Helping Indian ITES Stay Afloat during the Pandemic
Indian IT & Services sectors has shown positive number during this pandemic. Let’s analyze why they haven’t faced any major setback.
Majority drivers of the IT services industry are its clients in the segments of Banking and financial services industry (BFSI), healthcare, essential retail such as grocery and hi-tech verticals and they will be more resilient in the pandemic situation.
While client segments such as Auto, Aerospace, Travel & Transportation and discretionary Retail will witness de-growth during the current situation, demand from alternate business will offset these effects.
One of the key reasons of Indian IT industry staying afloat is due to the increased adoption digital technologies by the customers. In a forward thinking perspective, IT services will be propelled as clients will fast track their digital transformation post the pandemic.
2. Indian ITES Fit Right into the Post-COVID Future of the IT Industry
IT services form the backbone for many industries and going forward IT solutions in the space of Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Cloud Technology would drive many functions in many of the sectors. Next generation digital technologies like 5G, Robotics and Blockchain will become more relevant in the post pandemic world.
IT solutions extending to supply chain track and trace services, digital matching engines and Internet of Things (IoT) will be in high demand and the IT industry will have to ramp up its delivery on these fronts.
The Indian IT companies are poised to gain significantly in this context. These companies have developed deep technology expertise and an impressive track record over the years of delivering large and complex projects. These capabilities combined with large enterprise accounts will help the Indian IT industry players to score over their global peers in a big way.
3. Opportunities in the Border-Conflicted India
With negative outlook to import IT hardware from China, the Indian IT industry is seeing some new opportunities. Is there a likelihood they will capitalize on it?
Over the past many years, there have been attempts to move manufacturing away from countries like China into domestic regions. Developing products locally helps to strengthen a country’s economy and security at the same time. It also prevents foreign manufacturers from having easy access to design files whereby IP rights can easily be breached, and clones mass-produced which hurts the profits from companies that invested in research and development to produce the original product.
With a negative sentiment arising against China, IT hardware import can have an alternative by enabling local production of hardware and electronics linked to the IT industry. Electronics account for 32 per cent of India’s total imports from China amounting to $65.26 billion on 2019-20.
This points out that the opportunity size is massive for Indian IT hardware companies.
While India has the potential to develop in manufacturing, it needs adequate foreign investments and technology transfers. A favorable climate has to be created for foreign investments in order to recover the economy from the pandemic and work towards self-reliance. If a conducive environment is created in India backed by government intervention by means of schemes and incentives, manufacturing of IT hardware will be more viable and industry players will have a level playing field in comparison with their global competitors.
4. Lockdowns will Prioritize R&D in ITES Technologies
Let’s talk a little about what ITES technologies are going to get a priority in research & development because of Covid-19.
Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted life and careers of billions across the globe. Governments across the world have enforced lock-downs to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Thus work from home is the new norm for many businesses as they struggle to function during these uncertain times. Educational institutions are conducting online classes to impart knowledge and complete their syllabus; social distancing is the new norm in the world outside of home and E-commerce players are making Covid-safe deliveries to their customers across the globe.
In these difficult times, IT and communication technology offers solutions to overcome some of the challenges put forth by the pandemic. Some of technologies which will need focus and deeper R&D are enlisted below:
- Online Education using ITES
- 5G Technology
- Shared Spectrum
- IoT Devices
- Remote sensing solutions
5. Jio is the Newest Player in the ITES Space with Homegrown Technology
Jio Platforms as a digital entity is humongous. Described as a next-generation technology platform focused on delivering digital services across India, it has around 20 apps encompassing the length and breadth of India’s digital economy. Jio platforms will bank on three sectors as core to its future success—fintech, e-commerce, and content.
The concept would be to build a digital entity powered by Reliance Jio‘s network technology. Digitizing services for consumers, allowing them to shop online and pay online, bringing kirana stores to the digital world will act as a catalyst that will propel Jio platforms to tremendous heights in the near future.
Jio Platforms recently added almost 1 Crore new users in the quarter that ended June 30 2020, taking its overall subscriber base to 39.8 Crores, which is a massive figure to view from a perspective of paid user-base.
With tech titans like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft on board, along with the recently raised capital of ~INR 1 Lakh Crore by Jio Platforms, it is set to redefine India’s digital economy and the ecosystem.
6. The VC & Work-from-Home Boom
Covid-19 has subjected the human race to undergoing monumental changes in day to day life. With lockdowns and travel restrictions being imposed worldwide, face-to-face meetings and ‘team discussions’ will need to be redefined.
The industry will experience a surge in virtual meetings. And going digital will give the Indian IT industry plenty of new opportunities, creating direct and indirect jobs. Applications like Zoom and Google Meet have seen a sudden spurt in users. From meetings with only 4-5 participants, to huge international seminars and conferences with thousands of participants all have already moved online. This trend is likely to continue in the post-Covid world as people will continue to maintain social distancing etiquette and other precautionary measures.
India has already witnessed many home-grown VC apps like Jio Meet, Say Namaste and Video Meet.
Most Impactful Emerging ITES in the Next 3 Years & How Indian IT Industry can Pioneer this Change
Technology is an ever-changing playing field and those wanting to remain relevant in times of innovation have to adapt. The consumer journey is charting a new course and customers and companies alike are embracing emerging technologies. As the Indian IT industry trends such as cloud computing and SaaS become more pervasive, emerging ITES technologies will act as a key catalyst to emerge smarter, more resilient and more agile for years to come.
These are the emerging technologies which will create tectonic shifts in a global context.
Artificial intelligence holds substantial potential for businesses. AI is poised as a tool of choice for businesses and solution providers and combined with machine learning, can be a powerful tech. Businesses can use AI to achieve cost-saving benefits, rationalize workflows, enable efficient communications, improve customer satisfaction, and provide insight into buying behavior.
The real power of Blockchain lies in the immutability and transparency of a blockchain. Due to the fixed and highly visible nature of blockchains, this trend has been widely accepted to have financial applications. The business benefits are much more far reaching. The blockchain is an information system that will enable for better supply chain management, enabling transparency into the origin and journey of materials from origin to product. Blockchain technology will enable for better record management, providing a snapshot of any record from its origination. This could be used to verify orders, purchases, returns, receipt of products and much more.
As the world becomes more and more digitized, informed business is the key to success and internet of things provides greater clarity into consumer behavior. The Internet of Things is progressively offering business opportunities for the Indian IT industry in the form of data collection and analysis.
Contrasting to traditional data collection methods of the past, the Internet of Things is a conglomeration of devices that interact, providing substantially greater insight into how we apply products and services for everyday tasks. As more devices become IoT enabled, businesses will be able to design products with a greater understanding of pain points.
The speeds accomplished with 5G greatly outperform those seen with previous networks. 5G offers the supporting foundation that businesses can leverage to embrace emerging technologies. When unencumbered by latency issues, businesses can provide greater capabilities and service. Reaching consumer bases via mobile devices and smartphones will soar to new heights as the IT infrastructure for 5G expands and becomes more pervasive.
Dr. Dhaval J. Sheth works as a Technical Director with KPMG, Mumbai with 17+ years of experience. Originally from Vadodara, Gujarat, he studied at M.S. University of Baroda, Vadodara, graduating as the youngest Ph.D. at MSU.