Dataquest: India’s most influential and impactful tech publication

Dataquest (DQ) was launched in 1982 when the Indian tech industry was at a nascent stage, soon becoming the most influential media publication in the IT/ITeS space, guiding the government, industry and academia

Sunil Rajguru
New Update


Dataquest (DQ) was launched in 1982 when the Indian tech industry was at a nascent stage, soon becoming the most influential media publication in the IT/ITeS space, guiding the government, industry, and academia.


The Bible of Indian IT: DQ was much sought after by corporate leaders, government decision-makers, embassies, and foreign missions, thereby boosting bilateral policies too. In the past, be it government records or World Bank reports, they often sourced their data from DQ, giving it the nickname: Bible of the IT industry.

At the time, a global IT industry driven out of India seemed like a pipe dream, but stalwarts of the era dreamt big and DQ was there to observe, report, guide, and influence along the way in India’s exciting tech journey. Over the past four decades, DQ has closely chronicled, applauded, and evaluated the industry's growth from around Rs 100 crores in 1982 to it crossing US$250 billion recently.

DQ realized the need to tell everyone that we were a rising power. Slowly the world started believing it. And companies either bought from India or set up shop here.



“If DQ had not been there in the early days, vendors would not have been in touch with customers. DQ gave a sense of belonging and identity to the IT industry. People did social networking of the B2B kind when there was no social media.” -Sunil Agarwal

Top 20 listings: The annual DQ Top 20 rankings of leading IT companies have been the single most important source of information that lent direction to the industry.


DQ started the Top 20 rankings of IT companies (initially the Top 10), the first of its kind in India. Eagerly awaited every year, it is a much sought-after publication for planning and review purposes. A glance through the Top 20s from the 1980s to the 2020s provides a snapshot of the IT industry’s evolution across 40+ years, with the histories, rise, and fall of hundreds of companies.

“I believe, from empirical evidence collected over years that we also encouraged many young people to take up this field as a career option – in many cases against the wishes and beliefs of society in general.” -Shyam Malhotra

A forum to discuss policies: In 1984, when the National Computer Policy (NCP) came out, DQ was the first and only publication to analyze it threadbare. DQ published and advocated new policies in sync with industry growth. Beyond being just a publication, DQ formed panels and focus groups to help define these policies. It formed many bridges between the Government, the then-Department of Electronics, the industry, and the users. DQ gave a sense of belonging and identity to the IT industry. DQ was a social networker of the B2B kind even before such a thing was fashionable or widespread. It has continued to do the same for all ICT policies ever since.


Inspiring entire generations: DQ encouraged lakhs of young people to take up IT as a career option – in many cases against the current trends. Such was the need for people that the largest number of ad pages in DQ would often be the job ads: 40 or 50 pages in each issue. There was simply no other better source to find the right talent.

DQ published experiences, knowledge, and visions of the pioneers – to help others become pioneers themselves. DQ fuelled the desire amongst users and entrepreneurs to the agents of change in their organisations. DQ pushed people to take risks and provided support for innovation. Entire generations have grown up reading DQ and it was the first to come out with T-School surveys, for engineering college rankings.

“DQ’s 100th issue got contributions from ex-PM Rajiv Gandhi, Digital Founder Kenneth Olsen, SL Kirloskar, Azim Premji, Shiv Nadar, Dr PP Gupta (CMC), N Vittal (Secy, Dept of Electronics), Rajendra Pawar, BVR Mohan Reddy, Diwakar Nigam, Adam Osborne, etc.” -Raju Chellam


Tech’s most influential awards: The DQ ICT Awards, the first of its kind in the industry, and we are presenting the 31st edition in 2024. In 2014, the then-honorable Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was Chief Guest at the awards show, a few months before he became Prime Minister. He took valuable feedback from all the IT leaders gathered there and it was an intense exchange of ideas.

Chief Guests have included luminaries from all parties such as Sheila Dikshit, Dayanidhi Maran, Pramod Mahajan, Arvind Kejriwal, etc.

In the past 40 years, more than 100 DQ ICT Award winners reflect the exclusivity of the award and include the ICT movers and shakers. A small list of some winners includes…


Industry leaders: NR Narayana Murthy. Nandan Nilekani. Azim Premji. Sunil Bharti Mittal. Shiv Nadar. N Chandrasekaran. Ajai Chowdhry. CP Gurnani. FC Kohli. Rajendra S Pawar. S Ramadorai. Salil Parekh.

Startup leaders: Bhavish Aggarwal. Ritesh Agarwal. Sanjeev Bikhchandani. Falguni Nayar. Vijay Shekhar Sharma. Sridhar Vembu.

Political personalities: Pramod Mahajan. Chandrababu Naidu.


Bureaucrats: Sam Pitroda. Maj Gen A. Balasubramanian. Vijay Bhatkar. Ajay Sawhney. Dr N Seshagiri. N. Vittal.

ITES leaders: Pramod Bhasin. Raman Roy.

Academicians: Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala. Prof. HN Mahabala. Prof. DB Phatak. Prof V Rajaraman.

Association leaders: Kiran Karnik. Dewang Mehta. Harish Mehta. Saurabh Srivastava.

Government schemes/departments: Aadhaar. IRCTC. Online Income Tax Returns. PM Jan Dhan Yojana. NPCI. Project Bhoomi-Karnataka. Project MCA – 21.

Note: We have generally been ahead of the curve. We are proud that at least 20 DQ ICT Award winners subsequently went on to win a Padma award on Republic Day.

Global outlook: While the world looked to DQ for data in the nascent stages of Indian IT industry, it regularly engaged with The Who’s Who of world IT leaders, having global editions and offices. Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates. Former Chairman & CEO of Google Eric Schmidt (when he was head of Novell). Acer Founder Stan Shih. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger (when he headed VMware). Lotus 1-2-3 President Jeff Papows. Kenneth Olsen and Robert Palmer of the defunct giant Digital. Pioneer of the portable computer Adam Osborne. Billionaire coder Founder of Atlassian Mike Cannon-Brookes.

“Unlike WhatsApp University grads that constitute the bulk of ‘followers’ in this day and age, our readers comprised entrepreneurs, visionaries, CXOs, policy makers, techies–people who were also ‘influencers’ as well as the architects of India’s tech industry as we know it today.” -Pravir Ganguly

Public awareness campaigns: CyberMedia pushed early on important concepts like anti-piracy, broadband, Wi-Fi and Smart Governance with focus on key social topics like sustainability and assistive tech.

Mission India2047: DQ has been strongly pushing India’s 2047 mission through special editions, conferences and interviews. DQ strongly believes in the Digital India mission and has been one of the earliest proponents of such a thing. DQ has been advocating for Digital India consistently promoting the likes of: India Stack. Aadhaar. Digital India. Startup India. Jan Dhan. UPI. PLI schemes. Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. Account Aggregator. Open Network for Digital Commerce. Multiple PLI schemes for the electronics and telecom sectors.

A historical publication: A collection of DQ issues over the last 40 years is an exhaustive chronicle of the Indian ICT industry. It is in fact the very “History of Indian tech”. The industry itself has seen a huge change. From PC companies to hardware, software and graphics companies. From e-commerce firms to IT services giants. From startups and unicorns to hopefully world-beating tech companies in the future. DQ has been a reliable source of news, views and analysis in the past and it will continue doing so in the future, right up to India2047. The torch bearer of tech media coverage, DQ has been consistently setting benchmarks for the rest of the media industry to follow.

Sister publications: In 1987, CyberMedia brought in PCWorld India which became PCQuest. This was the first PC magazine in India. It introduced the world of PCs in that early era. There was hardly an IT manager who didn’t read DQ and a geek who didn’t read PCQ.

“The founders and CEOs of those pioneering tech companies would be in the office basement, late in those evening hours, arguing out our DQ Top 20 figures, fuelled by tea, samosas and kababs from the nearby Panchsheel Enclave market.” -Prasanto K Roy

PCQ quickly adapted. It pushed PCs, then the entire accessories ecosystem, DTP publishing, CAD-CAM and the early days of video editing tools. While the public Internet came to India in 1995, the private one came in 1988. PCQ Bulletin Board in the early 1990s was the precursor to the social media chatting that came much later.

PCQ Labs was the first of its kind in India that put products to the ultimate test, so much so that many government departments had a criterion for their tenders: Should have been reviewed by PCQ!

PCQ was the first magazine in Asia to come out with CDs/DVDs. To date, many readers still preserve those CDs which introduced games and tools to them. There were very few CD drives in that era, so our CDs in a way became “Market Makers”.

We also came out with the Linux CD, which introduced the entire Linux OS to our readers. That was a blockbuster. In those days it was painful to download Linux via the modem and could take hours to days. It was such a hit that the Linux CDs made their way to the black market and were sold for more than the price of the magazine. PCQ boasted of India’s first developer community of lakhs in the 1990s.

After that PCQ went into enterprise technology implementation and became a pure-play tech magazine. Voice & Data was India’s first telecom industry magazine and today the Telecom Leadership Forum (TLF) is a much sought-after forum. was India’s first tech news website and DQChannels was a first for channel partners.

CyberMedia kept coming out with products to suit the times: Computers@Home, Living Digital, Global Services, DARE etc.

Strong on research: From the 1980s to the 2000s thanks to our tie-up with IDC we were a media house that was very strong on research. IDC India catered to the IT needs of the research market and also powered our publications. In the 2010s we launched CyberMedia Research, which is India’s only homegrown wide-ranging tech research agency of its kind.

We would like the thank the Hon’ble President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu for her encouragement (see the Letter in the earlier pages).

We would like to thank everyone for their support. From the industry to government to associations to our readers. They have all made us who we are.

cover-story #dq40 years