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Digital Transformation is a big opportunity for the Indian IT sector: Anand Deshpande, Persistent Systems

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Dr Anand Deshpande is the Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Persistent Systems since its inception and is responsible for the overall leadership, strategy and management of the company. A technology visionary, Dr Anand Deshpande discusses with EC’s Rachana Jha, some of the key trends in the industry, and shares his perspective on the growth of the Indian IT industry

Some edited excerpts:
1. How do you see the fast evolving Indian IT sector? And, how are these changes impacting Indian companies?
In the last two years, there has been a significant change in the way people are using and building technology. We have observed a few trends as a result of this change, which has impacted the IT sector, not just in India but on a global scale as well.  As a result of new technologies, the effort required for the same work is going down – software and technology productivity continues to improve rapidly – the business model of Indian IT which is traditionally effort-based billing, has limitations.

The market for new technology continues to be healthy; or even robust. Every business wants to compete with digital natives and must become flexible and responsive. Digital Transformation is the essence of this change. This is a big opportunity for the Indian IT sector.

2. What are some of the key challenges for Indian IT companies?
As mentioned earlier, due to new technologies in the market, it takes less effort and less time to get the same things done. As a result, a significant portion of today’s business in the IT sector that focused on helping their customers run their business, will be consumed differently. There will be; or we are already seeing the shift away from long term and larger deals to a greater number of smaller and shorter deals.
This is a challenge for IT companies on how they sell and how they deliver profitably in this environment. However, the work/opportunity for the Indian IT industry continues to grow and the technology landscape is overall quite exciting.

3. How can India prepare its workforce for a tech-savvy India?
In the same way that businesses must become more agile to compete with digital natives, individuals must take accountability for their own training and career development. In a fast-evolving environment, continuous learning and unlearning is crucial in any field, and not just in technology where it is most visible today. India is well-poised for technology progress as a nation and a career in software development remains promising as ever or more. Not just as a technology backbone for major global companies, the buzz about Digital India is real and will create huge demand for a tech-savvy workforce.

The academic and social infrastructure must calibrate itself to the current and future demands of the industry – and I expect a continued collaboration between industry and academia to bridge this gap.
For example, last year, we organized the “Smart India Hackathon” where we partnered with 25 government ministries and departments to solve their problems using technology. Around 3 million students all over India participated to develop innovative solutions to solve real world problems. This demonstrated their ability and potential to use technology to fix existing problems innovatively.

4. What are the main areas you are focusing on?
Digital and IoT, enabled by enterprise data integration, together defines the building blocks for a software driven business and are the main pillars of the growth strategy for Persistent. Software 4.0, which came out of our focus on the how of digital, brings together the tools, techniques, and methodologies to build a software-driven business. This initiative is defining and putting into practice the ways of born-digital companies and it spans across everything we do.

Digital and IoT, along with enterprise data integration are today defining the move for every company to become a software-driven business. This nexus of technologies will continue to shape customer demand and our business. We are also looking at a continuous wave of new and emerging technologies that include Blockchain or Machine Learning, along with new practices, tools and methods that will shape software-driven businesses.

5. How do you want to span out your journey in India and globally?
Talking of India, we have been focused on what being software-driven means to Government and Public Services. There is an urgent need and drive to make governments or public services more accessible, transparent and efficient. For example, we implemented the first ever multilingual digital platform for content discovery and integrated analytics for the UP Vidhan Sabha (The Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh) to transform their state legislature proceedings. The state of Madhya Pradesh has been the next to adopt this solution.

And, while India is our headquarters and where we have the majority of our employees, we are today a more global company with development centers across 10 countries and 20 locations. Just in the last year, we launched new centers in Guadalajara, Mexico; Rehovot, Israel; Ottawa, Canada; Edinburgh, Scotland; and most recently in Munich, Germany. Our latest acquisition of PARX, a Salesforce Certified Platinum Partner, has strengthened our presence and commitment to the European market.

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]


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