It’s been a rollicking few years for the IT industry the world over. The initial shock and paralysis of the pandemic led to the tech boom. As everyone had to jump onto the digital bandwagon, business boomed in the tech companies, and it was no different for Indian IT services. But now we are in the post-pandemic era with its own set of problems and promises.
Indian IT has been blessed to see an era of growth ever since the Y2K crisis at the turn of the millennium. “How much growth this time?” is the only question that dominates around the time of the quarterly results.
While the revenue of the consistent giant TCS is firmly `2 trillion plus, that of Infosys crossed `1 trillion some time back. This time HCLTech entered the `1 trillion dollar club and Wipro may do so in the next edition.
While the DQ Top 20 list in the 1980s was dominated by hardware players, the new millennium saw the rise of the IT services giants. The Indian arms of the multinationals also joined the club and that’s how you see old-timers Accenture, IBM, Dell, and Microsoft being joined by the likes of AWS and Google. It is a matter of time before the Indian startup industry becomes big enough to enter the Top 20 list.
There were mass global layoffs, but Indian companies had different problems, that of attrition, with employees refusing to let go of remote work. In some places hybrid settled down and in others, senior management insisted on a complete return to work. Moonlighting was first frowned upon and then allowed.
As the ChatGPT era is upon us, the IT giants are scrambling to put up AI tools and platforms. They are being made an integral part of future offerings. Digital-first and cloud continue to be buzzwords as India is fast becoming a leading data center nation.
The Indian IT services industry is heavily dependent on America. The US has been on the verge of a recession for ages, and it is entering unknown territory as it has printed so much currency and the effects of that will be known in the years to come.
There was the US banking crisis and the Ukraine war. India seems currently not that affected by the latter as India-Russia trade is steadily rising, especially on the energy front. So far, we seem to have escaped the current problems of America.
India’s road to 2047
Right now, the focus is on India becoming an economic and technological superpower by 2047, a hundred years after Independence. A look at the report card in that regard…
What we got right: The IT services industry has been on a steady trajectory in the last couple of decades. It has been shown to be robust and has the ability to survive many crises.
During the pandemic, businesses, even small ones, embraced the mantra of Digital Transformation. That seems to be a path that the entire industry is firmly on.
Finally, we are the leading digital democracy in the world. We are ready to be world leaders when it comes to the digital space and we have made great advances in areas like FinTech, where UPI has emerged as a global icon.
What shows great promise: We have the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world and more than a hundred unicorns. Indians are using their apps like never before. HealthTech has taken off and integrated with the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission could be really big.
India is finally waking up to the importance of semiconductors and there are efforts to have major tie-ups with global chipmakers. Data centers are taking off and that will be key for the future.
Where we are still short: Skilling continues to be a major cause of concern. We have to go to the next stage of upskilling and reskilling. We lag behind in the R&D space and probably are not in the Top 10 in the world.
We are yet to become a product nation despite the focus on Make in India. We have a long way to go in Hypercomputing and the flavor of the moment: AI. All in all, India has a lot to do if it hopes to catch up with India, China, and even Europe.