On day one, Nasscom's flagship summit, the India Leadership Forum, reverberated with chatter about the future of technology services. Executives from the Indian information technology industry's lobby fancifully called it "Imagineering the future". That future is about six major disruptive technologies and the convergence of these. The six technologies are embedded systems, augmented reality, mobility, social media, cloud computing and big data.
Nasscom released a report by advisory company KPMG on new technology trends that could provide incremental dollar revenue opportunities for India's $75 billion IT services industry by 2020. The report said that the global market for Cloud Computing will grow from $109 billion in 2012 to $206.6 billion in 2016. Big data would grow from $5.4 billion to $48 billion over the same period. Indian IT would require a workforce trained in these areas. There is a shortage of data scientists - people who can crunch and analyse big data - in the country.
While Indian IT services companies have made the right moves in the identified technology areas, revenue momentum can take time, said TCS CEO N. Chandrasekaran, speaking to scribes on the sidelines of the summit. "The combination of mobility, cloud and analytics are creating new business models. The consumer front-end and the enterprise-front end are merging," he said. Chandrasekaran is also the current Nasscom Chairman.
Employees of global corporations increasingly want to access official data through mobile devices such as tablets. And enterprises will have to create app-like services for their customers. All these will translate into more opportunities for India's IT industry. What do these disruptions mean for Indian IT's traditional business: application development maintenance services? "The core will remain for a long time," said Chandrasekaran. "However, things like expense management can be an app in the cloud. It need not be custom-built."
Today's conference also delved into whether Indian IT was adding value beyond costs. If the industry can make an impact in the six new technology areas over the next few years, it can confidently say there is a play beyond the old cost arbitrage game.