It is said that more than half of Apple’s revenues come from products that did not exist four years ago. My mind draws a parallel to how India has amazingly leapfrogged the digital height in the last few years.

A recent research by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) reveals the reason why. About 96% of the respondents in India have upped their digital proficiency through investments in artificial intelligence (A.I.), machine learning (ML), cloud, quantum computing, cybersecurity, edge computing, IoT, blockchain, augmented/virtual reality, mobility, etc. 60% of Indian enterprises have brought in newer delivery and business models (usage-based commercial models, contactless digital services, product diversification), even as they increased their footprint in new geographies and business segments. Innovation has soared, with India filing 115,000 technology patents during the period 2015-2020. 28% of Indian businesses are today ready with a human-machine workforce, and it is estimated that in the next few years, 75% of Indian companies will have humans and machines working alongside each other.

India’s ascent to digital leadership

India’s rise in the global digital arena has been marked by a daring vision, diligent capability building, purposeful co-creation between government, industry and academia, relentless pursuit of future-relevant client-centricity, and meticulous execution of strategy. As its prime driver, the Indian IT-BPM industry has created new digital ecosystems that have accelerated the transformation journeys of almost all industries—financial services, healthcare, agriculture, retail, logistics, and more. For example, real-time tracking of vehicles has enabled logistics players to reduce fleet turnaround time by 50% to 70%, while digitised supply chains have reduced inventory for companies by 20%.

With ‘Digital India’ as a flagship program, the government has played a big role in this transformation. It has lent solid backing through substantial investments in next-gen technologies and infrastructure requirements—such as A.I., ML, quantum technology, 5G, internet protocol communications system, and collaboration platforms. They have been equally decisive in drawing up game-changing policies such as the new guidelines for Other Service Providers (OSP) and the 3D printing policy to promote additive manufacturing.

All set to RISE on the future

I believe that RISE is the anthem of India’s continuing digital ascent—with Resilience (R), Insightful Intelligence(I), Scale (S), and Entrepreneurship (E). The Indian IT-BPM industry’s relentless pursuit in keeping global enterprises thriving during the Covid-19 crisis was underpinned by its confident competence and focused clairvoyance in partnering businesses to grow higher in the future than they had in the past.

Today, this industry is more than ready to:

1. Hyper-personalise with customer experience, which requires high-end analytics and technology.

2. Develop innovative models and products to meet the booming needs of global contactless transactions, which is predicted to touch an annual value of ~$6 trillion in 2024.

3. Create cutting edge cybersecurity solutions driven by analytics and hyper-automation to address the threat of insurance cyberattacks (the global cyber insurance market is expected to boom to $20.4 billion by 2025).

4. Roll out a wide array of digital platforms, omni-channel solutions and localized warehouse models for the global B2B e-Commerce market, which is poised to touch $21 trillion by 2027.

A people-first talent strategy

India’s IT-BPM industry boasts of an unparalleled human capital that positions it as the ‘Digital Talent Nation’ of the world. It holds the distinction of being the primary private sector that employs more than 4.47 million professionals, of which close to 1.17 million are digitally skilled.

Beyond the numbers, however, there is an intensive ‘people first’ strategy. As of Jun 29 2021, more than 330 million Indians had been administered the Covid-19 vaccine (the last week of June 2021 alone registering a record 40 million vaccinations). With vaccinations now open for all above 18 years, most IT-BPM companies have moved into top gear to protect their employees and families.

A robust hybrid work model is already in place, backed by strong infrastructure and info-security measures, and safety protocols. Innovative and inclusive employee engagement beyond compensation and benefits have been introduced to ensure employee productivity and well-being. Flexible hiring strategies, the onboarding of a larger number of gig workers, and investments in workplace technologies have boosted talent acquisition from Tier-2 and 3 locations. Outcome-focused skilling and training have become an integrated component of talent building.

It is thus not surprising that India is positioned high on the new digital world order. In converting the unprecedented Covid-19 challenge to an unlimited opportunity, the Indian IT-BPM industry has closely partnered with global organizations to bring to life futuristic visions for better lives and better business outcomes—with an indelible signature of trust, innovation, agility, responsibility, resilience and ethical governance.

CEO, WNS Global Services Group, Keshav Murugesh.
CEO, WNS Global Services Group, Keshav Murugesh.
Image : Sanjay Rawat

Views are personal. The author is Group CEO, WNS, and past chairman, Nasscom.

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