By: Madhusudhan KM, Chief Technology Officer, Mindtree
Technology is pervasive in business environment and constantly creating new opportunities for every industry. Companies are bringing IT to the pole position of their strategic priorities in this fluid business environment. Be it Internet of Things, cyber security or digital transformation, the fast paced technological advancement pushes ahead a new way of thinking and doing things.
2015 set the pace for some remarkable technological leaps, which are bound to get even bigger in the coming year. There are plenty of exciting prospects for enterprises to undertake and stay ahead in their respective businesses. Let’s look at the key IT trends for 2016 that will impact the IT service enterprises:
Internet of Things (IoT) – Internet of EVERY-Thing
According to the industry experts, by 2020, the Internet of Things or IoT will comprise 50 billion objects. The industrial sector already uses IoT extensively. In manufacturing, assembly line and proactive maintenance of all the manufacturing equipment is based on a very robust IoT system. This is because the IoT apps can make quintessential business processes smoother to run for any industry.
For instance, in the retail space, the IoT apps can enable intelligent shelf replenishment where the shelf itself sends signals about when it needs to be replenished. In the supply chain landscape, features like route planning and management, logistics and geo fencing are actually possible today, thanks to IoT apps.
There are also many start-ups in India that are working towards building their ecosystem around IoT. The Indian IT firms are partnering with such start-ups to explore and build innovative industry solutions. IoT is also the base technology platform for concepts such as Smart Cities, Smart Buildings and Smart Home solutions.
Automation and Dev-Ops – Making Automation Intelligent
Automation is all about improving productivity and efficiency, while doing things faster with lesser human intervention. Everything in the software development lifecycle – architecture, coding, testing, deployment, operations or maintenance – can be automated
Dev-Ops (Development & Operations) will play a significant role in creating an environment where building, testing, and releasing software will happen more quickly, regularly, and reliably. For example, as soon as a developer checks in the code, the scripts integrate, test & deploy code and run automatically.
Using this method, one could also apply quality checks at various checkpoints in the pipeline. At the highest level of maturity, adoption of machine learning can be applied wherein systems continuously learn and get better at doing certain tasks. This technology would benefit businesses that are currently heavy on FTEs such as call centres, reducing 50-60% of the workforce, which may even grow to a staggering 80% over time!. This also means consistency in service quality because machines don’t get tired and apply the knowledge learned consistently every time.
Cybersecurity – The Bane of New Technology?
According to security researchers, most online devices can be hacked. In 2014, a duo proved this right by hacking into a 2014 Jeep Cherokee over the Internet and turned the steering wheel, disabled the brakes temporarily and turned the engine off. (See source article here)
For this reason, some refer to IoT as the “Internet of Targets”. While that description may be exaggerated, by the virtue of it being a technology, IoT is clearly not imperishable.
In an era of easy data movement & access and BYOD strategies, it is IT service providers’ onus to educate and advise their customers on all the risks that come with adopting a certain technology and how those risks can be countered through security solutions.
Demand for reskilling
In an Oxford research on “Future of employment”, it is predicted that about 47% of total US employment is at risk. While they cover broader job families, this is for knowledge industry as well.
Today, the systems, technological issues and consequently their solutions are getting more complex. Also, the number of technologies that come into play has increased. Therefore, the IT service space will have to look at tweaking the traditional skills and focus on reskilling, along with experimenting with different methods of hiring and training from the campus.
Having said that, it is important to hark back to the fact that while there is a lot of interest and adoption of digital technology, there is still 60-70% traditional business and only 30% digital business every IT company in India is doing. This trend will continue till 2020, although traditional services like application maintenance, infrastructure support & tech services and Testing services will take different shapes and forms.
On the cusp of these tectonic technological shifts, the challenge for IT service providers will be to manage and find the right talent for both traditional and digital business models.
These exciting developments will have to be greeted by the IT service industry that is ready to move from a highly linear model to a nonlinear model. This trend will anyway be enforced by different forces in the market that will push the sector to employ less people, but the right people, while generating the same amount of revenue.
2016 will see the IT industry move up the value chain in India with increased automation, better cyber security awareness, increased IoT deployment and reskilled workforce ready to take the challenge head-on.