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Punit Sood

Head of India, Natwest Group

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Work From Home Unlocks Value For The Indian IT Industry

WFH is business trendy, phenomenal and forward-looking, especially from an employee wellbeing point of view.

While the pandemic has impacted many industries in challenging ways, it is important for us to look at the silver lining and how it will help us position ourselves for a better future. While the financial crunch, cutbacks by clients, and redundant office spaces have largely affected the IT industry, the sector quickly adapted to new changes. In fact, transformative initiatives were taken, infrastructure was rejigged, and network topology was calibrated to ensure a seamless transition to secure working remotely. Companies in the sector were the first to fully transition to the work from home (WFH) model and continue operations in line with the standard business process.

Growth of India as a hub for Global Capability Centres (GCCs)

India had made rapid strides towards establishing itself as a key technology outsourcing market in the early part of the millennium. However, the subsequent transformation of its services sector, and its emergence as a valuable innovation engine for global industries, has been nothing short of remarkable. Operational excellence, product innovation, and cost optimisation have given a new set of wings to India’s continued dominance in the global offshoring industry.

Today, the IT industry and GCCs are key drivers of economic growth and innovation for digital India. The IT industry accounts for 8% of GDP, employing 4.4 million technology workers, and has become the largest private sector employer. With a revenue of USD $191 billion, the GCC industry is about a quarter of this size.

India is known to be the leading sourcing destination across the world. It continues to attract global businesses who are looking to tap into its substantial talent pool, which is second to none in providing R&D capabilities across all conceivable domains. The pandemic reinforced the vital nature of GCCs with a transformed raison d’être. Their existence is no longer benched on productivity and price but the value they create for their stakeholders.

This, along with a vast talent pool and upgraded infrastructure, makes the country a strong marketplace to invest in for GCCs.

WFH reforms – a silver lining for the IT industry

WFH is business trendy, phenomenal and forward-looking, especially from an employee wellbeing point of view. As this WFH model is here to stay, it will also increase our worker base, including via women comeback programs, third-party workers. This will expand talent pools and business locally.

Given that several global enterprises are exploring the use of exponential technologies to develop newer and best-in-class solutions, India-based GCCs have leapfrogged into the next growth cycle using new, cutting-edge digital technologies. However, historically the industry, and by at large these IT hubs, have created jobs restricted to cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Pune. Because of this geographic split, it has confined the positive impact of economic development to these major metros. To resolve this situation, the Indian government has introduced a move towards making work-from-anywhere a permanent feature for the IT and IT-enabled Services (ITeS) industry.

We in the IT industry have welcomed the new policy as a landmark move. The most significant advantage here is the development and prosperity it will bring across the country. It will further allow employees to save more when they are provided with multiple opportunities. The new policy will also make India a more attractive outsourcing destination as companies will reduce costs by rationalising office space and operational expenditure. These reforms will allow for greater participation of women and retired people with domain knowledge in the workforce, since they can work remotely for a few hours every day and at their convenience. As for companies, it will open the doors to tapping into a wider talent pool.

Aiming for a globally competitive digital future

While we strive towards creating a digitally fast and innovative country and continue to grow with the help of these reforms, there are areas where rapid improvement is necessary. IT employees need the availability of fast and reliable data connectivity and an uninterrupted power supply. Local governments will have to look at these as fundamental infrastructure requirements that will help create a vibrant local economy.

Also, companies hiring employees located in smaller towns and villages need to ensure appropriate security measures for both people and devices. Ensuring that device-level security is maintained, and the hired employees are following strict company protocols is critical for system safety and business continuity.

IT companies in India have shown remarkable resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to be a vital cog in the wheel that keeps global businesses and economies moving. This new guideline opens doors for geographic diversity of talent and provides increased employment options for many. The reforms in themselves are genuinely long-term, progressive thinking by the government, making our technology industry much more competitive.

This policy will spur more innovation into the industry at the forefront of global enterprises’ digital transformation.

I am looking forward to the next decade – the next techade – and the growth, development it will bring to the industry and the people of the country.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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