What 2019 has in store for the Indian Tech industry?

By VARINDIA - 2019-01-23

What 2019 has in store for the Indian Tech industry?

India is growing through a phase of digital transformation where businesses of every size is adopting digitalization in everyday work, making their life easy. But the core aspect of today’s every business remains the data. The year 2018 has been a remarkable year in terms of new technology implementations and most importantly digital transformation. Like every other country, the Indian IT industry has also started making convincing strides to new digital businesses. In the coming years, we will get to see CIOs becoming more focused on building AI strategy and investment plans for their enterprises, in order to remain digitally strong. 2019 will see the most innovative companies showing off truly impactful examples of digital transformation, with many more coming to the market over the next three years. The year 2019 will be dominated by Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will eventually propel advancements in Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
 

But the biggest reform of 2018 had been the implementation of GDPR and it becoming a global regulation. GDPR brought a higher level of scrutiny than ever before to how organizations collect, store, share and use personal information (including that captured by video surveillance). The crash in Bitcoin value happened to be another significant event that potentially signalled a bubble-bursting moment for cryptocurrencies.

Security

'’This year with the evolution of cyber-attacks, the industry has seen threats which have changed the face of cybersecurity,” comments Srinivas Rao, Co-founder and CEO, Aujas. “With rampant digitalization, came massive security breaches and ransomware attacks like the highly publicized Cosmos attack; but this only accelerated the need for advanced security measures. Regulations such as GDPR and Sri Krishna panel recommendations on data protection further pushed Indian enterprises to bolster their security standpoints. CIOs are now more aware of the significant impact a cyber-attack can have to an organization’s reputation and balance sheet.”


With the growing popularity of future technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, IoT and multi cloud, security is becoming not only a technological asset but a necessity. Integrating security and establishing standards is the critical first step while deploying a new technology. Cyber attackers will get smarter and use new techniques such as leveraging social engineering to mimic behaviour.
 

“This is where machine learning and AI will step in to spot unusual patterns in the large volumes of data generated. While AI can identify the employee most likely to be targeted for a cyber-attack, the focus must shift away from technology and focus more towards training and awareness, the ultimate goal being to instil resilience throughout the organization,” says Srinivas.
 

The McAfee Labs 2019 Threats Predictions Report, identifies rising trends and how they are predicted to change the cyber threat landscape in 2019. “In 2018, we witnessed greater collaboration among cybercriminals through underground alliances,” says Venkat Krishnapur, Vice President of Engineering and Managing Director, McAfee India. “This collaborative mentality has allowed for efficiencies in underground technologies and tactic. However, while we expect the underground market collaboration to continue, the year 2019 will also see Cybersecurity alliances of defenders continuing to mature and further fortify defenses.” 

According to Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, Country Head -SUSE, most of the organizations have some idea of making their software more secure, but the strategies are often at odds with the goals of DevOps culture. “Corporate and enterprises have begun adopting DevOps practices and are experiencing numerous benefits. However, DevOps has generally not lived up to expectations when it comes to security,” he reiterates. “In 2019, we strongly believe that the relationship between Development and Operations will be expanded to include Security. And hence: DevSecOps. It will bring security back into the service delivery equation.”

 
The trends in the security domain for 2019 will be -

I. A more effective cyber-criminal underground
 
Cybercriminals are quickly fortifying the malware-as-a-service market by aligning to sell modular attack components. These one-stop shops make it easier for criminals of all experience and skill levels to execute successful attacks. This market consolidation will continue in 2019 and cybercriminal enterprises are expected to flourish as established cyber gangs partner with other top-level services such as money laundering, evasion techniques, and vulnerability exploits. 
 

Also, cyber-attacks will become much simpler with easy access to technologies. The availability of modular attack components on the underground market is expected to enable attackers to combine and repurpose established tactics and technologies to achieve new goals. 

II. The Dawn of Adversarial AI

A new class of attacks known as ‘DeepAttacks’ is seen emerging, which use AI-generated content to evade AI security controls. Security teams in 2018 observed many examples where researchers used adversarial AI algorithms to fool humans. According to Avast research, 2019 will expect to see DeepAttacks deployed more commonly in an attempt to evade both human detection and smart defences.
 

The McAfee Labs Threats Predictions Report also asserts that artificial intelligence-as-a-service will enable cybercriminals to develop cyber-attacks with increasingly sophisticated evasion techniques. 
 

In addition, bots used to amplify deceitful messaging have already been created and are available for sale on the cybercriminal underground. Following in the footsteps of recent infamous nation-state campaigns to sway public opinion, cybercriminals will likely repurpose bots and leverage social media to extort organizations by threatening their brands. 
 

Attackers won’t just target AI systems, they will enlist AI techniques themselves to supercharge their own criminal activities. Automated systems powered by AI could probe networks and systems searching for undiscovered vulnerabilities that could be exploited. AI could also be used to make phishing and other social engineering attacks even more sophisticated by creating extremely realistic video and audio or well-crafted emails designed to fool targeted individuals.  AI could also be used to launch realistic disinformation campaigns.  For example, imagine a fake AI-created, realistic video of a company CEO announcing a large financial loss, a major security breach, or other major news.  Widespread release of such a fake video could have a significant impact on the company before the true facts are understood.

 
However there is an AI security story on the brighter side. Threat identification systems already use machine learning techniques to identify entirely new threats. And, it isn’t just attackers that can use AI systems to probe for open vulnerabilities; defenders can use AI to better harden their environments from attacks. For example, AI-powered systems could launch a series of simulated attacks on an enterprise network over time in the hope that an attack iteration will stumble across a vulnerability that can be closed before it’s discovered by attackers. 

III. Evolution of Mobile Threats

In 2019, well known tactics such as advertising, phishing and fake apps will continue to dominate the mobile threat landscape. Fake apps are the zombies in mobile security, becoming so ubiquitous that they barely even make the headlines as new fake apps pop up to take the place of the ones already flagged for removal. They will continue to persist as a trend in 2019, exacerbated by fake versions of popular app brands doing their rounds on the Google Play Store.

 

“PC viruses, while still a global threat, have been joined by a multitude of malware categories that deliver more attacks. People are acquiring more and varied types of connected devices, meaning every aspect of our lives could be compromised by an attack. Looking ahead to 2019, these trends point to a magnification of threats through these expanding threat surfaces,” says a spokesperson from Avast. 


IV. Threat to Cloud, Home IoT, and Social Media Platforms

With access to increasingly effective tactics and strategies, bad actors will have the ability to focus their attacks on broader and more complicated targets. In 2019, cybercriminals are anticipated to target intellectual property, Internet of Things (IoT) in the home and identity credentials via the cloud, digital assistants, and social media platforms, respectively.The trend toward smart devices will be so pronounced in the coming years that it will become difficult to buy appliances or home electronics that are not connected to the internet.
 

Avast research has shown that security is often an afterthought in the manufacturing of these devices. While the big-name smart devices often do come with embedded security options, some producers skimp on security either to keep costs low for consumers or because they are not experts in security. Considering a smart home is only as secure as its weakest link, this is a mistake. History tends to repeat itself, so we can expect to see IoT malware evolve and become more sophisticated and dangerous, similar to how PC and mobile malware developed.
 

In 2019, large-scale social media platforms will implement additional measures to protect customer information. However, as the platforms grow in numbers, cybercriminals will be further enticed to focus their resources on attacking the data-rich environments. High-impact attacks, such as those targeting industrial control systems, have seen success in part due to static password use across environments. 
 

According to Riverbed predictions, 2019 will see widespread security breaches stemming from lax security across IoT devices. Smart security investments and re-engineered devices should be prioritized over ease of access. While this may slowdown the adoption of IoT devices, it will prove to be crucial to the long-term success of the technology.

V. Router Attacks Will Advance

Routers have proven to be a simple and fertile target for a growing wave of attacks. Not only have we seen an increase in router-based malware in 2018, but also changes in the characteristics of those attacks.
 

In 2019, an increased hijacking of routers used to steal banking credentials is expected to be seen. For example, where an infected router injects a malicious HTML frame to specific web pages when displayed on mobile. This new element could ask mobile users to install a new banking app, for instance, and this malicious app will then capture authentication messages. Routers will continue to be used as targets of an attack, not just to run malicious scripts or spy on users, but also as an intermediate link in chain attacks.

 

“Security teams used to focus on firewalls and endpoints and many security professionals cut their teeth as system and network administrators. Nowadays infrastructure is defined by code, breaches are increasingly caused by weak applications and automation is essential for under-staffed teams. This is changing the skillset required by security pros. We now also need to have a deep understanding of applications and an ability to build automation into our tools and processes,” says Ross McKercher, CISO – Sophos.


VI. Data security & GDPR

Data security is but part of GDPR, though an important one; organisations now have the obligation to notify the regulator within 72h of a data breach being discovered. The complete post-breach process including informing the affected individuals is now well defined and following it part of compliance requirements. “Expanding GDPR to become a global regulation is certainly a potential. For it to become a truly global regulation though, it will first need to prove its worth in its current form; once that has progressed well and has proven workable, the chances of it influencing international practice will be much higher,” says Vinod Ganesan, Country Manager India - Cloudera. “GDPR in its current form may and likely will also evolve further. Organisations that build a solid foundation now, will be able to maintain compliance with less effort as the regulation evolves.”

 

“2018 has been crucial in terms of data generation, data management and security,” says Makarand Joshi - Area Vice President & Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix. "The importance of securely managing personal data and ensuring consent is now more pronounced than it was before. The journey to data security is a marathon but the finish line is still a little blurry. Organizations must make concerted efforts towards fully adapting to policies and regulations. Enterprises will need to view regulations like the GDPR as an opportunity to encapsulate their solutions and processes in a secure IT layer.”


Digital Disruption

Over the course of 2018, ‘digital transformation’ has become a widely used term and much-hyped concept. Businesses use the latest technology advancements to thrive and survive in this constantly evolving environment, often dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

 

Next-generation innovations like IoT, AI and blockchain are set to have a huge impact in 2019 and beyond, with businesses aspiring to harness these technologies to evolve constantly and gain a competitive edge in the digital economy.

 

Kiran Bhagwanani, CEO of South Asia, Japan, NZ, Dimension Data says, “The world of enterprise technology is constantly evolving as the application and adoption of disruptive technologies become more widespread. We intimately understand the role new technologies can play, and we work very closely with experts across industries to help our clients make the best decisions for their businesses. The application of disruptive technologies is becoming more pervasive and their adoption is growing steadily.  We will see the most innovative companies showing off truly impactful examples of digital transformation in action in 2019 with many more coming to the market over the next three years.”

 

2019 will see the following trends in the Digital Disruption domain - 

I. Evolution of IoT

“Customers have adopted IoT in some shape or form so far. Already well-established in many businesses, IoT applications and services are leading the pack in having the greatest positive impact,” says Srinivasan CR, Chief Digital Officer, Tata Communications. “And the future looks bright, with 48% of decision makers seeing it as having the most significant impact, ranking above any other emerging technology, in one of our study. While IoT has been consistently on predictions lists in recent years, I believe in 2019, IoT, supported by advanced connectivity solutions such as 5G and LoRaWAN, will continue to go from strength to strength especially in emerging markets such as India.”

 

According to Vinod Ganesan, since there are too many vulnerabilities and gaps in the security posture for IoT devices, organizations must use the data, metadata, device logs in order to treat IoT devices

like any other network device to predict and accurately respond to the available signals.

 

“Next year we will see further use cases of IoT in home spaces, smart cities and more industrial use cases in automation or autonomous vehicles. Technology ecosystems are forming so a holistic view of data across the cloud to the edge is important to maximise the benefit of the data used across these ecosystems.  Cloudera can do that by making sense of the community and provide the value add and protect the data and the consumer by assuring governance and security,” he says. 


 

II. AI & ML to go mainstream

AI has recently gained prominence owing to its ability to integrate with technologies like cloud, analytics and security solutions. Further, owing to the rising storage costs and increase in the number of connected devices, AI has now taken a front seat in an IT set-up. This is further validated by a Gartner forecast that pegs AI-driven business value to reach $3.9 trillion in 2022.

 

AI has already been adopted by 46% of global businesses in some way. “What’s even more interesting is that – despite the scaremongering around the potential negative impact of AI on people and jobs - just 8% of business leaders have no plans at all to start using AI. Furthermore, 43% of decision makers see AI as having a positive impact, and only 3% of business leaders think that it will have a negative impact. So, it seems that the fear of sentient robots has abated for now,” says Srinivasan CR. 

 

According to a survey by IBM, there will be improvements seen in “causal modeling” techniques that will push AI from asking "what happened" to asking “what would happen,” based on possible actions. Furthermore, trust and transparency will continue to drive the AI-conversation. There will also be increased research into how quantum computing may help scale AI models.

 

Enterprise machine learning (ML) adoption on the other hand will continue as businesses look to automate pattern detection, prediction and decision making to drive transformational efficiency improvement, competitive differentiation and growth. Infrastructure and tooling will continue to evolve around efforts to streamline and automate the process of building and deploying ML apps at enterprise scale. There will be continued growth in the automated machine learning (AutoML) tools ecosystem, as vendors capitalize on opportunities to speed-up time-consuming, repeatable chunks of the ML workflow, from data prep and feature engineering to model lifecycle management.

 

Reiterates Rahul Vishwakarma, CEO & Founder - Mate Labs, “The surge we saw in the recent times in adopting AI and ML will continue and in fact accelerate in 2019. In fact, there will be specific developments and impact due to this faster adoption. Industries like Retail, Consumer Goods and Financial Services will lead the investment and acceptance of AI technology. Similarly, advanced ML application is likely to play a major role in making mobile healthcare easily accessible; healthcare companies will be leveraging this disruptive technology to provide services like healthcare-at-home and immediate-attention-centre.”

 

III. Blockchain finds a new lease of life

Perhaps one of the most hyped new technologies of the digital era is blockchain. Shared ledgers like blockchain have the potential to enhance security while also boosting efficiency and speed. While the outlook for digital transformation in the coming year is positive, implementing new technologies like blockchain is not without its challenges. In fact, business leaders cited cost as the biggest barrier to integrating new innovations, while security and privacy were also highlighted as major challenges. 

 

‘’2018 marked has been primarily a year of Digital disruption. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Advanced Analytics, Reality technologies, and Cloud computing amongst others present plethora of new and continually developing opportunities that has impacted all business functions including Sales Enablement,” comments Snehashish Bhattacharjee, Global CEO Denave. “Across FMCG, healthcare, finance or shopping, AI is enabling industries to define distinct experiences, radically affecting customer engagement models.”


The ever-growing Cloud

“The choice to have a mix of public cloud and on-prem as well as multi-cloud provides companies with the flexibility to choose a solution that best fits their needs,” says Vinod Ganesan. “Any vendor that only offers one option and “locks in” a company will find their customers will be at a disadvantage.”

 

Vinod further adds that, as more organizations continue to see the economic and ease of use advantages of the cloud, there will be an increased investment in data management in the cloud.  Data analytics use cases continue to lead the charge, especially for self-service, transient workloads, and short term workloads. New data types will continue to be required to satisfy business analytics, including social media and Internet of Things (IoT), driving the need for inexpensive, flexible storage best served by data management in the cloud. 

 

Makarand Joshi too agrees that when analytics is integrated with machine learning and AI, it can bring forth profound changes for businesses. “In the exceedingly competitive landscape that exists today, in 2019, analytics and AI will play a huge role in getting ahead of the curb. The scope for AI adoption will further expand with sectors like education, transport, healthcare as well as government owned entities taking up this technology to improve their efficiency.”

 

He further adds, “Over the last decade, we witnessed the foundation of cloud and the steady transition from legacy systems to cloud-first. Having understood how this technology’s efficiency can be maximized, cloud maturity levels have risen amongst businesses in India. This is further validated by the research firm Gartner’s prediction that the revenue of SaaS (Software as a service) which is the largest segment of cloud, is set to grow 17.8% in 2019.”

 

Lots of countries mandate that data needs to reside within geographical boundaries. Enterprises using SaaS or Paas will end up using country-specific public clouds or even private clouds. As a result, critical data and applications that need to be monitored will be spread across geographies. Monitoring tools and technologies that help consolidate the view of these applications and data will see larger enterprise adoption.


 
This increase in data locality will also require federated identity and access management (IAM) with Zero Trust security considerations. Single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, and enterprise mobility management will also become common place in the enterprises. 

 

Collaboration 


“Businesses in 2019 and beyond will focus on adopting solutions that are agile, adaptable, open and scalable, prompting enterprise collaboration players to develop solutions which provide a seamless yet unique experience. As the workforce of today has evolved, businesses will need to adopt technology that is suited for the workforce of tomorrow, enhancing productivity and helping to share information in a secure and seamless manner,” says Vishal Agrawal, Managing Director, Avaya India & SAARC. “As we move forward, we will witness enterprise collaboration players adopting technologies such as AI, ML and blockchain to make their products more secure, bring in real-time customer sentiment analysis and provide better overall experiences to their customers.”

 

“Technology has become a key enabler for current and future workforces whether they are geographically and culturally distributed or going beyond language barriers where the power of AI delivers performance; to using augmented reality that helps in creativity at work,” says Indrajit Belgundi, General Manager, Client Solutions Group, Dell India.

 

To encourage employees share their skills and knowledge at every opportunity, businesses are looking at creating an environment that facilitates and lives up to the expectations of their workforce. Businesses will need to continue to invest in people-centric collaboration technologies that help workers stay agile and respond or harness every opportunity – wherever they are. 


Some of the predictions with respect to workforce transformation are - 
 

 I. AR/VR, AI, ML bringing more on-site learning and creativity to the workplace


Leaps in Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) have been made over the course of 2018 to create more immersive, enhanced visual experiences and as a result there will be increased adoption in the workplace during 2019. Employees will be able to collaborate and create in real-time through AR and VR experiences – bringing everyone into one virtual environment as if they are all physically working together. Going forward, these technologies will be at the core of every organization’s business strategy. 

 

“Technology today is all pervasive, making digital transformation a reality here and now! This has had a profound impact on the way we work, live and play. Today, AI, ML, Blockchain are not buzzwords but have real-world applications that have redefined how we work, and go about our lives every day. In fact, in the last year alone, we have seen significant deployments of these technologies that have changed how enterprises make decisions, conduct business or enable consumers to engage in experiences that are richer and immersive ushering a whole new paradigm of engagement,” says Rajiv Bhalla, MD, Barco India.


II. Collaboration will be much easier


2019 will enhance the ability to quickly grab a colleague based overseas through new collaboration tools that allow us to make video calls and share files in real time. This year we will see advanced collaboration as more enterprises adopt web-based collaboration tools, and device technologies takes advantage of advances in wi-fi connectivity and compute power to get more done, better, faster – together.


III. Diverse needs of a multigenerational workforce 
 

The workplace today has experienced a growth of millennials joining the ranks, who are eager to learn and grow with the organization. However, the shift can also create challenges.  HR leaders are tasked with addressing the concerns of a multi-generational workforce. Flexible or mobile working options can enable employees to avoid commute time and work from home, work on the go, from a customer site or even from home, removing the limitations of a physical workplace. This will boost productivity and also promote an adaptable culture. 

 

IV.  Workforce Revolution
 

According to Vertiv, a workforce aging into retirement and training programs lagging behind the data center and edge evolution are creating staffing challenges for data centers around the globe. This will trigger parallel actions in 2019. Organizations in 2019 will begin to change the way they hire data center personnel, moving away from traditional training programs toward more agile, job-specific instruction with an eye toward the edge. Also, there is a high chance for businesses to  turn to intelligent systems and machine learning to simplify operations, preserve institutional knowledge, and enable more predictive and efficient service and maintenance.


The Banking & Fintech sector

“We will see deeper partnerships between Banks and Fintechs instead of Fintechs running the show independently,” says Anshul Rai, CEO and Co-Founder, Happay. “KYC will get paperless - the digital KYC space will continue to evolve and adjust to new rules. Aadhaar speculation will end. Credit will be the flavour of the season - both consumer credit and commercial credit. We will see more push for digital payments and thus, MDR and Interchange might get regulated further. Bharat QR will get pushed heavily on the acquiring side. Everyone, including the smaller merchants, will go digital faster and be able to enable transactions through QR. Acquiring terminals will increase by 10x because of easy and economical deployment of Bharat QR.”

 

Evolving customer behaviour, increase in demands by end users has put a thrust for players to undergo rapid digital transformations and focus on delivery of new customer focused technology efficiently. This is reflected in the approaches of companies like Freecharge that wants to enhance relevance for its customers and provide exceptional user experience. 

 

“I believe, in 2018, customer adoption has been one of the most important factors that led to multiple players entering into the fintech sector, thereby expanding the scope of the financial ecosystem. In the near future, internet and smart phone penetration will continue to be a significant driver for growth in the fintech domain. There is a huge potential in lending and investment segments for financial services penetration, considering this is still an underserved space,” says Sangram Singh, CEO, Freecharge.


The Telecom Industry
 

According to a report by TAIPA, in the last year, the telecommunications industry added around 40,000 mobile towers with around 2 lakh 90 thousand BTSs. The year 2018 witnessed the notification of NDCP 2018 which is an overarching forward looking and reformative comprehensive policy to transform India into a digital society for enabling futuristic technologies such as expansion of 4G, 5G, fiberstation, cloud computing, block chain, M2M, IoT, AI, and VR etc. Further, the year captured other significant developments such as the IBS deployment in government buildings for seamless network connectivity; development of online single window portal by states like Jharkhand, Haryana and Assam; Supreme Court’s verdict with respect to Aadhaar based KYC and EMF testing of Telecom Towers at specific sites and mergers; acquisitions and consolidations in the industry, to name a few.

 

According to COAI, if 2017 had been dubbed as the “Year of Mobile”, year 2018 may well be called the “Year of Digital” as it has been a landmark year for the telecom sector. The NDCP 2018 (National Digital Communications Policy), apart from focussing on telecom and digitalisation, aims to create 40 lakh new jobs through relevant skill improvement. The Telecom Commission was also renamed as the Digital Communications Commission, considering the scope of communications had broadened from what it was in the 90s. 


 
“Undoubtedly, the Indian telecommunication sector has undergone a revolutionary transition in the last two decades to become the world’s second largest telecommunication market. As per the government report, the mobile sector’s contribution to GDP which is presently 6.5 percent will increase to 8.2 percent by 2020,” says Tilak Raj Dua, Director General, TAIPA. 

 

It is obvious to say that the Digital India and Smart Cities mission can be realized to its true potential only when the infrastructure for ‘last mile’ connectivity has been established. In 2019, the telecom infrastructure industry strongly believes that the future of Indian TowerCos rests on the exponential rise in data traffic and harnessing emerging business opportunities. Rapid expansions of 4G will drive the increase in tenancy ratio.  Various emerging technologies such as internet of things, machine to machine communication, artificial intelligence and connected devices have led to an increased demand of a robust and scalable infrastructure.

 

“Going forward, the introduction of 5G services, along with the explosion of internet-of-things/ everything, will bring the need for infrastructure sharing which is expected to emerge as a key trend. The next generation telecom infrastructure will be one of the core pillars in transformation of India into a digital economy. Telecommunication services is a catalyst to empower citizens by providing them with transparent governance and services (education, health, legal, financial and safety) at their fingertips,” adds Tilak Raj.

 

“5G is poised to go live in many cities across the United States and globally in 2019, and we expect next year to really showcase the economic power of the new mobile technology. This is the year apps start to show their real value in the enterprise and industrial space with a host of new IoT, AR/VR, digital twins and connected-car applications coming to life,” comments Sriram T. V, Director of Consulting & Business Development at Juniper Networks, India and SAARC.


 
Also, with 5G comes the rise in IoT and on-the-go video and content streaming. As digital subscriptions increase, service providers in India are focusing on digital subscriber lines and/or Fiber-to-the-home access to deliver higher quality content to their customers. Partnerships with OTT players and content companies are also expected to grow as service providers in India continue to identify new revenue streams.

 

2018 also saw the smartphone industry maintaining double-digit growth fuelled by domestic consumption. Make in India uptake continued to be high in 2018, further cementing our position as world’s second largest producer of smartphones. 

 

However, as pointed out by Nitesh Gupta, Director, Optiemus Infracom, Design, Research and Development continue to be the weak spots, and should be a focus area for the industry. “We already have the talent pool to capture the R&D space, and it’s time to put serious investments behind it,” he says. 

 

Nitesh further adds, “Besides Security too needs to be a focus area in 2019 given the amount of sensitive data stored in smartphones. With more focus on external features like Cameras, Sensors and Design, customer privacy and data security seems to take a backseat, which is a disturbing reality. This factor should be looked into.”


IT Services industry

ICRA has a stable outlook on the Indian IT Services industry. ICRA expects most large IT services companies to maintain high dividend pay outs and share buybacks, as there are limited avenues for fund deployment. The investment requirements (organic and inorganic) for Indian IT Services in the past have been moderate relative to internal cash flow generation. Majority of the acquisitions done by Indian IT Services players have been to acquire competencies rather than achieve scale and size.

 

The growth of Indian IT Services companies will be impacted by lower deal sizes in digital technologies, cloud adoption and high competitive intensity from local as well as international players. While companies have increased spending on digital technologies and awarding new contracts, the overall IT budgets have moderated leading to lower incremental spends.  Indian IT Services companies are re-orienting their business models focusing more on high end services such as IT consulting & emerging technologies (digital) and have made considerable progress so far, though it currently lags international peers. 

 

Margins will be supported by factors such as ability to modify cost structure with rational and variable salaries couples with gradual reduction of high cost resources. 


Other trends
I. Open Source & an agile ecosystem

"There will be greater emphasis on fostering community engagement among developers and empowering collaboration, especially as open source continues to grow,” says Prabhakar Jayakumar, Country Director, DigitalOcean India.“Developers value connections, finding meaningful ways to contribute and building their skills, so community will be key in fulfilling their needs. Kubernetes will continue trending upward as more people use the technology. 

 

We see a huge opportunity in making Kubernetes easier and more approachable and that is going to be one of our focus areas. We also see that there are so many open source components that you can add to your Kubernetes deployments to make it easy to operate and scale your applications and we have plans to support those integrations in a simple, native way inside the product. "

 

The more open a business ecosystem is, the more seamlessly data can be leveraged within it to drive desired customer and citizen outcomes. The ability to track, collect and share data across dispersed systems is what allows companies to create customised solutions that target exact customer requirements. This open, extensible nature is vital within a next-generation platform. To deliver true value, organizations must be open, agile, integrated and future-proof. As the world continues transitioning to an API-based ecosystem, we become that much closer to eliminating a longstanding dependency on legacy hardware and hierarchal architecture.


II.  Rise of voice technologies


Over the past couple of years, voice-based technologies have gone mainstream. Companies such as Amazon, Google and Apple are continuously investing in voice and speech recognition technologies and the increased capabilities that have resulted from this have created significant demand in the market. In the business world, as voice evolves, there’s an increased interest in voice technologies in industries such as BFSI and hospitality – among others – and this will only increase as more use cases become apparent.

 

“Voice represents a great opportunity to deliver fabulous customer experiences, and Avaya has already started investing in and innovating with voice technologies so that companies can take advantage of this,” says Vishal of Avaya. 

 

Along with voice technologies, Governments across the world are increasingly investing in strengthening and digitizing their emergency services. Government agencies today receive overwhelming numbers of emergency queries and calls, and responding to all of them in real-time is a growing challenge. 

 

III. Automation will be the secret to customer satisfaction
 

In 2019, automation will be the differentiating factor among service providers. This year service providers will fully adopt automated and virtualized cloud platforms that can deploy new services in months. Those who fail to implement automation will find themselves years behind competitors, as end users will find more agility and better service with those who embrace automation. 


 
“Enterprise adoption of process automation technologies will continue with the same vigour as the technologies are expected to make the enterprises nimble, data-centric and quick to make decisions across geographies. More importantly, process automation will also help enterprises to go beyond the simple operational and efficiency gains made with basic automation to tap new revenue opportunities,” says Shailesh Kumar Dave – Vice President, ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corp.

 

 

IV. Age of the start-ups

 

Manav Garg, CEO & Founder, Eka Software commends that the start-up scene in India is evolving rapidly. Home grown start-ups are taking on global biggies entering the Indian market while they are still in their early stages of operation, unlike earlier when a Flipkart had time to establish its leadership by the time Amazon came in. “So what worked earlier, may not be sufficient to get you further. In order to compete, startups need to constantly update their path to success. Rather than building a product, they need to design for scale and “think platform” at the conceptualization stage. This will allow them to build on product market fit quickly, and address fundamental shifts in the market.”

 

 




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