Technology: What next for the IT Sector?
Daisy Chittilapilly, Director ITS, Cisco India & SAARC
The article appeared in CXO today
The Indian Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology enabled Services (ITeS) sectors have not only transformed the country's image on the global platform, but also fuelled economic and social growth. They are seen as enablers of change because industries across the board depend on IT/ITeS to increase their business efficiency and grow in a dynamically changing economic environment.
According to NASSCOM, the outlook for the resilient USD 108 billion Indian IT/ITeS sector is positive, although not dramatic in the times to come. NASSCOM had estimated 12-14 percent growth for the Indian software services industry in FY'14 and it aimed to achieve revenue of USD 300 billion for the ITeS industry by 2020.
Traditionally the IT/ITeS sector has been the early adopter of technology, whether it is the internet, mobile, cloud, collaboration or any other. This is because most organizations that fall within the IT/ITeS bracket need to cater to clients across geographies and time zones, and a vast majority of the workforce in these organizations tend to be 'young' (Gen Y or millennial).
These employees are tech savvy and expect to use technology at the workplace just as they do in their personal lives. This means they would like to utilize the corporate network and access corporate data on their personal device of choice, seamlessly and easily like they do at home. In fact according to the Cisco Connect World Technology Report (CCWTR), smartphones now rival laptops as the single most desired device by 18 to 30 year-olds globally.
While the growing technology adoption and expectations thereof, of the new gen employee creates serious concerns of security for the IT/ITeS organizations and their customers, the broad-based adoption of IT - advent of cloud-based capabilities, increased use of technologies like video, mobility and social media - has leveled the playing field for these organizations. It has unlocked new competitive dynamics that is changing and reshaping the defined business landscape.
Traditional business strongholds are slowly making way for new geographies, customers, IT applications and services, as the emphasis grows around IP, reusable platforms, social media, cloud, analytics and mobility. Increasingly there is a need for solutions that provide dynamic IT management across physical, virtual and cloud-based networks through a flexible, scalable architecture which help to simplify IT operations, and reduce costs.
IT has traditionally been very good at automating everything; but taking a Unified approach at an architectural, platform level can lower operating costs while extending capital assets. More importantly, taking a unified approach can help IT/ITeS organizations harness the power of technology trends such as Big Data, Cloud computing, workload mobility, and bring to their customers, key business insights for competitive advantage. Industry standards, partnerships and expanded ecosystems are key to this transformation. The need for a qualitatively different approach and greater degree of collaboration is critical to devise new products, services, innovations (both business and service) and make them relevant to both the domestic and international markets.
As more people, process, data, get connected, IT/ITeS organizations will be under pressure to necessitate fast, simple, smart, intelligent and completely secure connections. They would also need to deliver critical business applications with real-time data and insights anywhere, and enable customers to run business efficiently and cost-effectively.
In order to facilitate such connections which are more relevant and valuable than ever before, a robust Network infrastructure is a must-have. This will help turn information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries. . As the world becomes increasing interconnected, the network becomes the vehicle of innovation, solves relevant real-world challenges, and creates sustainable value.
This means IT/ITeS organizations need to put in place more strategic infrastructure investments so as to benefit from the opportunity that emerging trends like the Internet Everything (IoE) for example, bring in. According to Cisco, IoE is an $18 Billion opportunity and technology firms are expected to reap the benefits, by helping to improve productivity and asset utilization as well as to enhance end-customer experience. Undoubtedly security and privacy are among the greatest IoE challenges. By taking an intelligent, application-centric approach to all network components, not just software, IT/ITeS organizations can offer services that help customers re-align their business and prepare their networks for the future. Additionally, establishing standards and compliance will help create a way to bring the industry together, enable innovation, manageability and scale.
In summary therefore, the tomorrow of the IT/ITeS sector is intricately tied to their ability to accelerate, through effective technology transformation, the kind of changes that allow end users and companies to reshape the way they do business and compete.