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The Data Quest Article, February 2013, Ganesh Natarajan

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos seems to have decided to take the safe path of reiterating the economic challenges of the day and stayed away from any strong predictions – positive or negative about the immediate future. And even as parts of the US suffer an unprecedented Arctic chill and India comes out of its own winter, there is no telling what this spring is going to hold – for the economy, for the people and indeed for the IT industry!

Some realities that have been underlined at Davos are the fact that the economic recovery in the US and some other parts of the world is still tentative at best and the war over currencies is still to be fought which could have a debilitating effect on many export economies. There is no clarity yet on the recovery of jobs in the West and the resultant impact on immigration policies is still to be seen. All in all, not a very clear canvas on which to paint a growth story for the software exports sector in our country but then success amidst adversity has always been our watchword.

The quarter that has just been concluded has demonstrated for most companies that demand continues to be robust and it can be expected that the industry will enter FY 2014 with good order books and reasonable prospects of middle to high double digit growth. The interesting part of the software exports success story in 2013 is going to be the shift in orbit that most successful companies will see, from vanilla applications management to an interesting mix of applications, infrastructure management and business process management. A decade ago, moving up the value chain and being more domain and consulting led was seen as the Holy Grail for the Indian industry. This is the year when the tryst with that destiny will be truly realized and industry will mature as a true transformation partner to our global customers.

The domestic market too, after many hiccups during the previous year, is showing signs of maturing. Government spending, particularly in mission critical projects like Adhaar is beginning to have an impact and it has to be hoped that with the elections approaching, there will be no slowdown in e-Government project spending. The private sector, emboldened by the stock market rampage and the slow but sure return of the feel good factor in the economy will surely hasten investments in better technology and processes and embrace new mobility cloud and big data solutions. This will open up opportunities for small and medium firms with both products and services capabilities who have been through a mini drought in the uncertain year that 2012 has been for all IT players.

In the new dawn that beckons, there will surely be a substantial revival in opportunities for new job creation, both for technical and general graduates and other skilled persons seeking careers in the IT industry. With the new companies bill putting pressure on increased CSR spends, there is an opportunity to provide skills to a wider cross-section of the population. The IT industry has many opportunities in the year ahead!

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