Technology service providers as susceptible to disruption as enterprises

Infosys COO Pravin Rao believes companies need to reinvent and innovate in new areas

Technology service providers as susceptible to disruption as enterprises
Image: Mexy Xavier
(L-R) Noshir Kaka, Salil Parekh, Pravin Rao, Anand Deshpande, Tunde Olanrewaju

“When people ask me how I feel about the tech industry today, I say I am hugely excited and I’m utterly terrified,” McKinsey & Company’s India MD Noshir Kaka said during a panel discussion at the NASSCOM India Leadership Forum in Mumbai on Thursday. Kaka said that what terrified him was the pace with which digital was growing. The pace was best displayed in his allusion to an October 2015 report titled: NASSCOM Perspective 2025: Shaping the Digital Revolution.
 
According to the report, the Indian technology and services industry is on track to hit $225 billion in revenues by 2020, and $350 billion by 2025. Importantly though, the share of digital technology investment is set to rise from 10 percent in 2014 to 35 percent in 2020 and 60 percent in 2025.
 
However, Kaka insisted that this didn’t mean that enterprises would stop spending money on technology and engineering services. It was clear though, that given the current trends, disruption would occur across sectors, ostensibly by born-in-the-cloud companies with asset light models and greater agility.

“I think there are three basic things that are crucial for enterprises to get the results that they need. One is the ability to deploy quickly and effectively,” said Anand Deshpande, founder and CEO, Persistent Systems. The other thing that traditional enterprises have to keep in mind is data integration. “You would be surprised how much data these companies have, and how much time it takes for them to process it.” The final problem is simply to use that data and get from “where they are, to where they need to be”.

But it’s not that the service providers are remaining stagnant. “From Infosys’s perspective, when we have tie-ups with academic institutions,” said Pravin Rao, COO, Infosys. He referred to his company’s collaboration with the University of Aachen in Germany for Internet of Things and another with Stanford University for machine learning in this regard. He also mentioned Infosys’s acquisition of startups as a means to acquire newer technologies.

He admitted that service providers like Infosys were susceptible to the same challenges and disruptions as enterprises. “We also have to reinvent ourselves and innovate in new areas. When transformation is happening everywhere, you have to transform yourself.”

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