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Evangelise the entrepreneurship

Zafar Anjum | April 29, 2013
In a wide-ranging interview, Som Mittal, president of Nasscom, India, speaks of the three pillars of startups, the Singapore scene, the new direction of the Indian IT industry, and corporate governance.

Fantastic! Now I'll talk a little bit about your role at Nasscom. You have been at the helm of Nasscom for many years now and you have seen the Indian IT industry grow from US$100 million to US$100 billion. It's a fascinating story. So, the question is what is the new direction that the Indian IT industry is taking and what is next for the industry? 

One is I think clearly our earlier model of "cheaper, faster, better" still works.... Three areas are growth engines that we see: One, new geographies because we have not penetrated them. These are geographies which would not give us naturally the advantage of English but they still have the same need for us; two, new verticals, about 75 percent of the work happens in banking & financial, technology and manufacturing but healthcare and utilities, all those are emerging; the third area I would say is new customer segments.

In the past, we were mainly focusing on Fortune 100, 500 and 1,000 (companies) but today technology enables you to reach smaller companies. So, if you look at Germany for example, 80 percent of the workforce in Germany is in SMEs. Now these companies have to be productive and have to be efficient because the world market is changing and technology is playing a big role. So, how do you reach them and their current service providers need help. So, we are now looking at collaborations to reach them and today Cloud would, for example, allow you to offer a service without being there. So those are three areas of expansion and what we are doing.

Our focus has clearly also started including (the) East. We were very West-oriented. I think Asia Pacific is a very large growth market and first-timers talk about ASEAN and ANZ. So this part of it, the Asia Pacific part of it and then there is North Asia which is China and Japan. Japanese companies did not invest in India and now they are. So Sony has a very large presence and so has Hitachi. I think we are helping to increase that part but that is more on the services side. Even there, I think our story has changed dramatically from doing the same stuff as I said, "cheaper, better and faster" which was the earlier model but today a large part of our work and demand is getting driven by not only that part of the world but being driven by transformation.

So, technology is becoming the centre of all transformations today. Today with markets not growing or markets only growing in developing countries, you need to come up with new products and services. The time to market is getting shorter and new schemes have to come out. Technology is enabling that and I think that we are playing a role.


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