The Indian IT industry: 2017 and beyond

The Indian IT industry is getting ready for the years after the digital wave by embracing a product mindset and a love for artificial intelligence and cognitive computing.

The Indian IT industry has learnt the hard way that there’s a price to pay for not being at the forefront on technological change. And it’s fixing that fast. It is ensuring that it is better prepared for the future. And, right now, industry leaders are betting on artificial intelligence and cognitive computing.

TCS, for example, has set up a separate business unit it calls Digitate that will focus on next-generation products it believes has the potential to become billion-dollar businesses.

One of Digitate’s offerings is an artificial-intelligence (AI) platform Ignio. Ignio really shows how far Indian IT companies have come in their realizations that what’s got them success so far, isn’t going to continue to bear fruit. TCS describes the AI platform as “The world’s first neural automation system for the enterprise.”

As the industry prepares for life beyond 2016, it is embracing a product-mindset and the growing willingness to take risks.

Simply put, once Ignio is placed within an enterprise system it starts to learn about the system and, over time, automates jobs that once needed human intervention.

Although N. Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD, TCS, isn’t saying when Digitate will become a billion-dollar business for TCS, others within TCS say Digitate will hit the $1 billion figure by 2019-20.

TCS isn’t the only one that’s working on an AI product. Wipro, too, has been working hard on its own product, one that it calls Wipro Holmes. The company’s already got customers including Nexenta, where Wipro Holmes will transform its customer service desk using Holmes’ AI capabilities.

According to Wipro, Holmes will automate the creation of service tickets using natural language processing technologies. It will auto categorize tickets using intelligent algorithms and help Nexenta resolve issues using intelligent virtual bots and scripts. This will enable faster resolution of service tickets, enhance overall user experience, and improve productivity.

These moves point to other trends in the industry: The onset of a product-mindset and the growing willingness to make bets on the future.

“As an industry, we are used to being told by our customers what they want. Once a customer tells us what they want, we make sure we have the right people and the operational efficiencies to deliver. Having a product mindset requires a different thinking. That is a change,” says Happiest Minds’ Godika. “We probably won’t become product companies; I’m talking in the sense of platforms and frameworks. But the point is that they industry needs to think ahead and make bets on where they will invest.”

It’s also important to note that the industry is making bets on itself and it’s that spirit that’s probably going to ensure new growth spurts.

It’s also important to note that the industry is making bets on itself and it’s that spirit that’s probably going to ensure new growth spurts.

"We are experiencing a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a services company to help businesses maximize their potential with technology,” said Infosys’ Sikka in October. He’s hit nail on the head. Now, we’ve just got to get more people on the same page.