Recovering from a slowdown and sustaining a double-digit growth, the $120-billion Indian IT industry had a remarkable 2014, consolidating operations and using disruptive technologies, which ensures innovation to shed the old and adapt to new products and services.
Though the first half of the year was challenging for various reasons beyond the industry's control, the sentiment turned around and has been upbeat for the past six months, especially in the post-elections phase, with a stable central government in place, stakeholders said.
"We have seen enterprises and product firms stabilising, delivering more business value and bringing transformation to their clients overseas, using disruptive technologies such as cloud, big data, analytics, mobility, social media and the Internet of Things," a top official of Nasscom told IANS in Bangalore.
"There is a dramatic shift in sentiment, as evident from positive perception of India abroad. Embracing new platforms, using different business models and competing with global firms has enhanced our industry's value proposition," said Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar.
Coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen, disruptive technology is described as one that displaces something that is already well-established and shakes up the industry with products and services that create a completely new industry. The computer displacing the typewriter is an example.
The $120-billion Indian IT industry comprises small, medium and large firms, including global software majors like TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL, captive units of multinationals and sectors providing software, hardware, process management, engineering, research and development, and innovative products.
"The industry is restructuring to keep pace with the new wave of technologies. The outlook is good, especially overseas, thanks to the optimism in the US economy," said Chandrasekhar, adding the American market still accounts for some 60 percent of India's software exports and there are signs of more spending in the tech space.
As the IT-BPM industry's representative body, the 25-year-old National Association of Software and Software Services Companies (Nasscom) has projected 15 percent export growth for this fiscal (2014-15) as against 13 percent last fiscal (2013-14).
"We expect the industry to add overall revenues of $13-14 billion this fiscal to $118 billion achieved in last fiscal, with software exports touching $100 billion and domestic sales reaching Rs.128,000 crore ($20 billion)," Chandrashekhar noted.
As the year closes, the burgeoning industry is looking for exciting times overseas, where opportunities unfold for Indian software services and products in the traditional and newer markets owing to improvement in the global economic climate and steady rise in technology spend.
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"Disruptive technologies, digitisation, agile entrepreneurial ecosystem and recovering global markets are fuelling business transfiguration, speeding up delivery of services and driving innovation across practices and operations," Chandrashekhar pointed out.
In the domestic market too, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India and the Make in India campaigns are making the industry develop solutions and customise products required for greater inclusion and accessibility.
"The industry is working on a number of initiatives to collaborate in diverse sectors like education, healthcare, agriculture, financial services, logistics, infrastructure and manufacturing to help the government implement its programmes with other stakeholders," the Nasscom chief added.
In terms of human capital, the industry generated an additional 150,000 direct jobs and 450,000 indirect jobs across the country during the year.
A change of guard at $8.3-billion Infosys saw the exit of co-founders N.R. Narayana Murthy as chairman, S. Gopalakrishnan as vice-chairman and S.D. Shibulal as chief executive and the entry of former SAP executive Vishal Sikka as its first non-founder chief executive.
The IT bellwether's founders, including Nandan Nilekani and K. Dinesh have decided to devote their post-retirement life to philanthropy, with funds raised by selling a portion of their equity shares in the blue-chip company.
Highlights of IT sector in 2014
* Industry recovers from slowdown; sustains double digit growth * Adopts disruptive technologies and new models of engagements
* Turnaround in sentiment and upbeat mood
* Industry's perception turns positive overseas
* Re-structuring to keep pace with new technologies and demands
* Software exports poised to touch $100 billion in 2014-15
* Braces for Digital India programme and Make in India campaign
* Generates 150,000 direct and 450,000 indirect jobs
* Infosys co-founders exit, make way for new CEO.
(Fakir Balaji can be reached at email@example.com)