April 2024 \ Business & Investment \ Tech Industry

Diplomatic and Business Editor Yogesh Sood in conversation with Jagdish Mitra, Executive Committee Member, NASSCOM, and Board Member, NSDC

By Yogesh Sood

While the tech industry experiences a slowdown, what trends and opportunities do you foresee?

It’s not completely correct to suggest that the industry is experiencing a slowdown, I would rather position it as aligning with the new normal.  While conventional IT spending may have seen a bit of a dip, the power of technology is such that there are multiple other avenues where we are seeing strong growth.  The areas that grew significantly, especially for the Indian IT sector, were Engineering and R&D, GCC and large deals.  For example, a NASSCOM report suggests that India’s GCC (Global Capability Center) market is growing at an impressive 11.4% CAGR, employing over 1.3 million people. There are many such tremendous opportunities in the market, and it is important for us to scout actively and leverage our skills to enable growth in key hotspots. There are many other such hot spots; Generative AI, Cloud, 5G/ 6G, IoT, SAAS to name a few where the growth of talent and assignments across the world  has grown by high double digits. So as tech changes there will be these times where organisations will reskill, recalibrate and be ready and relevant for the future. It’s the nature of the tech business.


How does NASSCOM contribute to the growth of India’s tech industry?

NASSCOM, a not-for-profit industry association, has made a phenomenal contribution to India’s GDP, exports, employment, infrastructure, and global visibility. NASSCOM has been at the heart of this $250+ billion industry. It is a testament to the great work that NASSCOM does that today, it counts over 3000+ members, who collectively constitute 90% of the industry’s revenue.

Latest in its highly visible role is the enablement of India’s AI vision – we play a critical role to help India be at the forefront while ensuring we take care of ethics and innovation.

NASSCOM’s deep focus on building ‘brand Tech India’ and the term “TECHADE”  it’s work with various governmental agencies such as MEITY etc. to simplify regulations etc. is truly commendable. In addition, their progressive vision and foresight is noteworthy. For example, the guidance and help provided to India’s 60,000 startups has been one of the chief reasons for India’s ascent to become one of the Unicorn capitals of the world. In the spaces of ER&D, GCC, startups and many others, NASSCOM has been the beacon. There are many associations which play a lobbying role – NASSCOM plays the role of giving direction , setting the vision and then enabling members and government to come together with one mantra – growth  of the industry in all aspects – numbers, quality and relevance.


According to a BCG-NASSCOM report, internal technology consumption is exceeding exports for the first time. How do you view this shift as a driver for growth?

India has shown the way as the leader in Digital Public Goods, we lead the world in the area of ensuring citizens’ benefit from digital and other technologies. This is one area where we (NASSCOM members and IT-ITES industry) as a private sector are eager to showcase the power of India. I have personally used this as an example to tell clients and prospects why India not just for volume but for deep cutting edge technology.

India is the fastest growing large economy in the world, and so it stands to reason that as our economy grows stronger, investment in technology and digitization will get disproportionate focus. As Indian enterprises mature, the scope, scale, and transformative potential of technology will usher our country into a new era.

A key focus point in my view will be the rate of digital adoption for the SME segment. Globally, estimates suggest that in the next 5 years, spending on AI and digitalization by key industries such as manufacturing, banking and retail will grow at around 30% and 20%, respectively by companies with revenues of under $2 billion. It is critical for us to act as enablers for this target segment.


In your opinion, how can the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) play a critical role in enabling the growth of the tech industry?

We are living in a world where technology is disrupting everything around us. Not only do we need skilled youth to enable these disruptions, we also need to disrupt their skills in order to impart key skills of the future – not just technical skills, but also cognitive and soft skills. With a young population (65% below 35 years) India has an opportunity that can be leveraged to create a high-quality skilled workforce for the rest of the world.

NSDC has taken up the mandate and risen to the challenge of achieving the vision of Vikshit Bharat in a big way. Just in the previous month, NSDC launched the Centre for Future Skills in Karnataka – a visionary platform that elevates the capabilities of the youth in future skills. These skill development centres will focus on cutting-edge technologies and will be instrumental in preparing the youth for jobs of the future.

Intelligence (Gen AI) impacts the tech industry, and what opportunities will it present?

There is a general consensus amongst most experts that Generative AI will unlock trillions of dollars’ worth of value for the world. This will be a mix of revenue upliftment as well as savings and productivity enhancements.

However, a scattergun approach to Generative AI will not be feasible. Enterprises are struggling to create fit-for-purpose solutions for business problems using AI and GenAI. We must work fast, build precisely and leverage the power of Gen AI to build industry – based AI use cases. Such outcome – oriented, scalable, easy to deploy constructs will be the way forward for enterprises to truly capitalize on the AI boom.

I strongly feel no other technology will define winners as well as Gen AI will – there will be clear run away successes and those that will struggle to be relevant and exist.  So if companies both tech and non tech are not allocating Gen Ai budgets whatever they may be and giving Gen AI leaders a seta on the table –  tough times await – very tough times.

Tags: Interviews

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