Posts Tagged ‘Future of IT’

Future of IT in India

September 28, 2015

Future of IT

 

The question “What is the future of IT?” has assumed significance today; this is particularly pertinent in India; as IT industry has arguably created the largest number of jobs in the organized sector in the past fifteen years. With the slowing down of job creation in this sector, there is even more curiosity. Let me first assure the readers that the future of IT continues to remain bright and job creation will continue in this sector for at least another decade. This is due to the following four key factors

  1. IT will continue to transform industry after industry
  2. Apps will be the main delivery vehicle for IT application delivery
  3. IT will organize the unorganized sectors, particularly in India
  4. Indians are starting to solve India’s problems

Let me elaborate the four factors

  1. IT will continue to transform industry after industry

We have already witnessed the way multi-function printers transformed the office automation industry; digital cameras changed the face of photography; e-mail, Web and mobile phones changed airline ticketing; and, the World Wide Web transforming the way banking and publishing industry function today. At the core of all these transformation is “digitization”. While the foregoing examples illustrate the transformation of an industry, the next stage is the transformation of entire business processes across several industries and the resultant benefits to consumers. Naturally, IT application development will continue to be in demand leading to top-line growth of IT companies and the resultant job creation opportunities.

Example: With more than 100,000 employees undertaking 2.5+ Lakhs travels in a year leading to 75 Lakhs bills, the in-house travel department in Wipro was an “efficient” organization of 700 professionals. With an in-house App that captures all the bills across transportation (airline, train, taxi), hospitality (hotels, restaurants) and services (Visa, toll) industries, the resultant “digitization” could lead to a super-efficient travel department with just twenty employees!

  1. Apps will be the main delivery vehicle for IT application delivery

Application delivery, maintenance and upgrades have remained the mainstay of the outsourced IT services industry that benefits countries like India. Such services are built around Web-based client (typically running on Desktop / Laptop PC). With the widespread availability of smartphones and mobile networks and the location-based services that utilize GPS and GIS, Apps can identify the user and the location leading to a far-better application delivery than what a simple Web-based application can provide. Coupled with superior interfaces including touch, local scripts and voice that are possible with today’s powerful smartphones that are always connected and mostly “personal” devices, services can be targeted to specific consumers leading to a superior user interaction. Also, Apps-based delivery can be regularly improved with “over the air” update that makes such improvements hassle-free to the end customer. Since Apps development is accessible to people with varied skills (not needing an CS Undergraduate degree or MCA), there is a potential for much-larger job creation; much of the new jobs creation might happen in the next generation nimble start-ups and not limited to the biggie IT services companies.

Example: FlipKart is generating 75% of its traffic from Mobile App; MakeMyTrip and GoIndigo find 50% of their travel booking happens over their App. ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank find that much of their online banking transactions happen over Mobile Apps. Myntra shifts completely to Mobile App in May 2015; FlipKart is planning a similar move.

  1. IT will organize the unorganized sectors, particularly in India

The first generation of e-commerce companies like Amazon focussed on the “first mile” – consumers finding goods and services providers and ordering them on 24×7 basis with the convenience of their homes. Over the years, the backend supply chains improved dramatically. Users could get convenience of ordering, enormous of choice of goods and services, better prices and even near immediate supply, thanks to improvements across the supply chain. Along the way, companies like Amazon in USA and FlipKart in India could get the benefit of such dramatic improvements to even SME sector; in the process, organizing the unorganized sectors. It is impacting retail, travel, hospitality, healthcare and many other sectors.

Example: Uber started in San Francisco, USA and over the years disrupting the taxi-haling experience across the world. Ola and TaxiForSure in India are extending it to Auto-rickshaws too. In the process, personal transport industry is getting organized from individual divers to small-sized taxi operators (with 1 to 100 taxis) to mammoth-size operation involving tens of thousands of taxis spread across 100+ cities. With mobile payment maturing, AADHAR getting more acceptance and biometric authentication built into entry-level smartphones, companies like Ola with fundamentally change the way next generation will view car ownership.

 

  1. Indians are starting to solve India’s problems

 

The generation of Indians who went to United States and other countries in the West for higher studies in the 60’s and 70’s contributed to the development of Science & Technology that largely solved problems of the West. The generation of IT entrepreneurs of the 80’s and the last two decades created Indian IT Services companies, which largely benefited the corporations and consumers in the West. In the past five years, a whole new generation of companies are using IT to solve India’s problems – urban transport (RedBus for organizing bus transit, Ola and TaxiForSure for organizing taxi / auto-rickshaws), retail (Myntra, FlipKart), Healthcare (Portea, DoctorC, Practo), hospitality (Oyo Rooms, HolidayIQ), payment systems (PayTM), food delivery in train (TravelKhana, ) etc., and even India-specific opportunities (OnlinePanditji, OnlinePrasad, Bharat Matrimony).

To me this is perhaps the best part of IT; the future of IT is to transform India; and in that sense, IT is fulfilling the promise Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajapayee talked of in 1999 – IT being “India’s Tomorrow”!

Professor Sowmyanarayanan Sadagopan is the Director of IIIT-Bangalore. These are his personal views. He can be reached at ss@iiitb.ac.in

Appeared in September 28, 2015 Special Issue of New Indian Express