Time and again I recall the garment industry to get a better perspective on India’s IT industry because there are tectonic shifts in the industry that makes some pessimists look askance at the future of the industry.
One strain of thought says that cloud computing will make old-fashioned projects irrelevant or redundant as high-bandwidth-based sharing of software applications over the Internet gains ground. But then, there are new frontiers of technology that raises new prospects — just like fashion design can make a tailor move up the value chain.
Last week, the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), said it was looking at a demand for 300,000 professionals in big data analytics by 2020, six times the current employment estimate of 50,000 in analytics, which is part of the overall 3.5 million in the industry as a whole.
Analytics involves combining software, industry knowledge and human intelligence to come up with insights, scenarios and forecasts based on the data gushing into the ever-expanding Internet. Think of it as the fashion design of computing.
Coming in the backdrop of questions over hiring in companies such as Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies, the estimates on analytics suggest that there is a lot of steam in India’s IT-business process management (BPM) industry.
But the key point to remember is that the landscape of the industry is changing. Tomorrow’s big recruiters need not be these companies as such, but new players on the landscape. You just have to look at how Flipkart has created jobs in software and logistics over the past seven years to get an idea. E-commerce in India is growing at 33% per year.
A common misconception is that India’s IT industry’s fate is co-terminus or tied up intricately with the names of the giants that made it shine over the past two decades. It need not be so. The old guard are welcome to reinvent themselves — and they are — but there is more to Indian IT than the big guns who set the ball rolling.
Nasscom plans to set up a centre of excellence to create a qualify workforce for big data analytics. The market is estimated to grow at about 20% a year over the next five years, with the current market size estimated at $1.5 billion(Rs 9,000 crore).
More than 350 startups are said to be already working in the space in niche analytics. Future giants may be lurking among these. If not, there may be a new ecosystem of specialist boutiques aggregating to a large number.