By Saurabh Saxena
We are living through one of the worst global pandemics and part of a history where the entire human civilization is working to resuscitate normalcy. The one thing that stands out among all the challenges and learnings from this health crisis is that technology can empower human race, grappling with vulnerabilities in various ways.
Owing to the rising curve of pandemic, several countries across globe resorted to lockdowns. These were aimed at confining billions of citizens to their homes, resulting to work from home – the new normal, and seizing businesses to ensure safety. Consequently, the global economy is expected to shrink by over 3% in 2020 – the steepest slowdown since the Great Depression of the 1930s, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF).
While a recent report (pre-Covid) from Nasscom revealed that the IT sector in India will grow 7.7% this fiscal, another report (during Covid) from Gartner revealed that India’s nearly $200 billion IT & ITeS services industry will witness a fall of 8% in 2020.
Globally, the IT industry shifted towards high gear to accommodate the transition and was forced to rethink strategies. While the scar will take time to heal, IT industry is more poised to take the lead and ensure that going back to business is more secure.
As the recovery takes shape, we will witness important shifts in the make of India’s economy and functioning to usher in a better and sustainable future.
- Defining the future of work- Enterprises will focus on engaging people with the right amalgamation of expertise and experience to achieve their goals, while enabling new ways of working and enhancing virtual work support systems. Not only this, virtual hiring of IT talents will become the new norm and working from home will become a part of work culture. Moreover, enterprises will become more resilient owing to the fully distributed nature of the WFH model – it is inherently less risky and well suited for business continuity and agility, and employees will have more flexibility over their schedules. In coming future – for efficient communication and collaboration, investments will shift from real estate to newer technologies that will make remote working more functional, productive, and encrypted.
- Cloud & Data will sit at the heart of digital transformation – COVID crisis is spurring digital transformation – it is now top of mind business priorities for every CIO. Corporates will continue to embrace digital transformation, where cloud adoption and data will see an up going graph. Every organization has managed to respond and sustain during the pandemic – thanks to the economies of hybrid infrastructure and data. According to a recent IDC survey, 64% of Indian organizations are expected to increase demand for cloud computing while 56% for cloud software, to support the new normal. Going forward, corporates will take a more pragmatic approach in order to continue their business efficiently and effectively.
- Ensuring security post covid era– The new reality is going to be geographically dispersed with multiple devices at workplace. Hence, focus on data security would be essential for enterprises to invest in technologies and ensure data and information is not compromised. According to Data Security Council of India (DSCI), Indian cybersecurity services industry will grow up to $7.6 billion in 2022. In coming days and months, cybersecurity will go mainstream, where people will protect what matters most – essential data, to refrain from financial setbacks.
- Digital education and training/upskilling will come to the forefront – With social distancing being prevalent now, many corporates have considered work-from-home or remote working policies for employees. This will further boost the chance for employees to upskill and reskill themselves. While online learning is already a norm now, post Covid era will continue to see a surge in upskilling and corporate trainings. According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 63% of Indian professionals consider upskilling as a top priority in these unprecedented times.
Employees will get a better chance of developing and experimenting with various methods to prompt new online strategies. Going forward, we will see companies crafting a talent strategy that will develop employees’ critical digital and cognitive capabilities, their social and emotional skills, and adaptability and resilience. Companies will invest more on their learning budgets and commit to reskilling which will in turn strengthen companies for future disruptions.
- Fintech platforms will see an upsurge in new users –We are witnessing a conducive collaborative environment and dynamism that is propelling digital adoption. A recent report from NPCI revealed that digital payments have rebounded in the month of May, with transaction volumes in UPI, FASTag and Bharat Bill Pay exceeding March levels. While Covid has already accelerated digital adoption, reaffirming the country’s Digital India initiative, we will continue to see an upsurge in new users – based on age, category, business, etc.
A volatile situation has presented an opportunity and expanded possibilities of building a resilient economy as well as the industry. It is time for the IT sector to rise up to challenge, push boundaries and harness the power of technology to bolster recovery and blueprint a better, connected world.
(The author is Country Director – India, Micro Focus and the views expressed in the article are his own)