Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Strategic impatience essential for IT sector to realize full potential

The IT sector is the story of bootstrapped growth that has created a new middle class and global diaspora, promoted meritocracy and showcased its talent globally

The story of the technology sector in India has been nothing short of miraculous. A gravity-defying growth of an industry far removed from its markets is a case study of entrepreneurial spirit meeting enablers like available talent and infrastructure (the sophistication of which were not prerequisites but actually followed the growth of the business).

The tenacity and focus with which we built a $150 billion industry also holds the key to the future.

We, as an industry, continue to adapt and build capabilities to shape our ability to win in the next orbit of growth.

We have embraced new agile and digital ways of working, the ability to learn new technology skills and the ability to move up the value chain driving a design-first, business-led conversation. We have built deep relationships with global clients in different industries and also nurtured a network of alliance-partnerships with established and emerging platforms.

Indian firms continue to steadily leverage the external ecosystem more systematically—from start-ups in Silicon Valley and Israel to leading universities across the world—while also being flexible in creating new engagement models that share in risks and rewards with clients.

Some new engagements bear very little resemblance to the cost-saving outsourcing models with which we started the journey. This unique combination of new capabilities, client centricity, ability to harness global intellectual property, and execute on scale could prove to be unbeatable.

However, we cannot afford to be complacent and need to do more. The task ahead is to sustain momentum on many of the areas identified in Nasscom’s Perspectives 2025 report.

We should continue to forge deeper connections with research and academia, and build internal and external networks to track cutting-edge developments and collaborate.

We also need to acquire a critical mass of such knowledge-driven initiatives to stake a claim for being the cluster for digital innovation.

Digital India, and other multitude of government initiatives, have created the initial impetus for spurring the domestic innovation scene, but it needs to scale higher by an order of magnitude. Creating capabilities in emerging skill areas has progressed well in pockets of corporate initiatives, but a concerted effort to review curricula, develop content, expand access to skilling platforms, and create stronger public private partnerships needs to gather momentum.

Strategic impatience is essential if the sector has to realize its full potential. The IT sector is the story of bootstrapped growth that has created a new middle class and global diaspora, promoted meritocracy and showcased its talent globally, and inspired a generation of to-be entrepreneurs. I am optimistic the virtuous cycle will continue as these factors catalyze a new phase of innovation-led growth.

Rishad Premji is chief strategy officer and member of the board, Wipro Ltd; and vice-chairman of Nasscom.

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