To return to faster growth after a few slow years, Indian IT companies have had to transform every part of their process—even becoming less Indian. In October 2016, Indian IT executives received a flurry of WhatsApp and email forwards. Bloomberg, the global news agency, had a column proclaiming the imminent death of their sector. The obituary said India’s pre-eminent industry was ‘terminally affected by the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence.’
While there are early signs of change and success, there is still a long way before Indian IT services firms become truly consultative sales-led organisations and there exist a laundry list of challenges that can potentially put a spanner in the works.
One of the biggest hurdle that IT Services firms are facing is the need to capture the attention of the new wave of buyers including CMOs, CHROs, CFOs among others. Given the pace at which the IT budget is moving away to roles other than the CIO – per Greyhound Research, by 2020, 50% of the IT budget will sit with non-CIO roles – Indian IT services firms are having to invest considerably to acquire new skills and capabilities. Most importantly, this is enforcing a significant cultural change for Indian IT Services firms that are honed to deliver on IT outcomes but not necessarily prepared to share risks in a setting that requires partners to deliver on business outcomes.
There are many additional pressures they face externally – continued political diktats in the US against outsourcing despite local hiring, a systematic crackdown on visas, changing regulatory environment globally such as new data protection laws and Brexit.
Further, the need to invest in automation, newer skills, resources, tools and infrastructure in local markets is adding additional pressure on already slimming margins.
Sanchit Vir Gogia: Sanchit is the Chief Analyst, Founder & CEO of Greyhound Research, an award-winning global research & advisory firm. To read more about him, click here.
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