I was unfortunate to miss the NASSCOM leadership forum this year due to my work pressure. I came to understand that many of the IT companies have been talking about spending on innovation. TCS certainly showed the promise and I hope other would follow. There are few realities though which needs urgent focus before IT industry ends up getting old in India.
IT industry is not more than 20 years in India. There existed few companies who did some basic work, but anything of substance started and happened after 1990. If you recall the olden days of World War II, there was a huge demand of young and able soldiers and insatiable supplies of arms and ammunitions. Huge well equipped armies of UK and US were largely disbanded after the war and the soldiers and officers had to restart their life afresh. Only the most able and most trained soldiers remained in the forces with stable jobs. For some it was easy to adapt but for most, it was a big struggle. I now see a reflection of what happened 65 years earlier in what is going to happen in about 10 years from now.
The rapid pace of growth which have been consistent since last almost 20 years have given ample opportunity for anyone associated to IT industry grow. This growth is bound to flatten sooner or later. Global recession has already started the process. Almost all the programmers grew up into project managers and domain experts and new ones kept filling their ranks. Last 20 years have been like a war where the foot soldiers and officers are always in short supply. With flat market and disruptive innovations like cloud, open source, and many such added with the limited power of customers to spend would restrict the expansion. While the supply chain is maintained and young engineers will continue to be produced, either the expensive IT resources will be replaced with young low cost resources or jobless IT manpower would increase.
Industry must start working for a shift from their traditional approach of increasing their billing to value added approach which will increase customer trust and increase business. There has to be investment increase in upgrading the skills of IT professionals and investment in research and development should also begin which can create more jobs.
India as a market is huge but most cannot afford the expensive rates of IT companies which they are used to. Efforts have to be made to tap this market and come out of the greed of easy margins. After all, India has a promise to be a very large consumer of our own IT services.