India’s fast pace of development and social change means the country's CIOs cannot ignore certain technologies if they want to remain competitive in the near and long term.
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According to Gartner, CIOs in India are exploring at least one of 10 technologies. These are: analytics and business intelligence; mobility solutions; cloud computing; collaboration; social media; business process management; CRM; ERP; document management and IT management technologies.
Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst at Gartner India, says a confluence of factors mean Indian CIOs cannot afford to ignore certain IT trends.
Raina says the large population, the introduction of foreign investment and India's emerging market status, have combined to change the buying habits of India-based CIOs. "In the past IT investments used to be ad hoc but now they have to think five years down the line," Raina said. To this end CIOs are already exploring technologies of the future. "If you talk about BI to an India based CIO today they will listen."
With a large population, there is large demand for products and services. Businesses are using technologies such as mobile to attract customers and harness business analytics to better understand customer habits, for example.
Meanwhile, foreign direct investment is flooding into India as businesses in sectors such as retail, aviation and nuclear power move to India to attempt to take a slice of growing business opportunities. This is changing the profile of Indian business and means more investment in IT is happening. At the same time, the Indian government is improving the infrastructure by making investments in travel hubs such airports being made.
And India’s emerging market status has caught the eyes of domestic IT suppliers and international vendors alike, making the IT decisions more complicated. International and domestic IT suppliers are bombarding Indian businesses with products and services, attracted by its 8% annual growth in IT spending, said Raina. "In the past IT suppliers might have targeted countries like Italy and Japan but not today because IT spending is not growing." As a result supplier ecosystems are growing, with more choice for CIOs and increased competition among suppliers.
BI analytics, cloud and mobile
The top three technologies under consideration are analytics and business intelligence, mobile and cloud computing, which echo global trends. But Indian CIOs have their own challenges.
Analytics and business intelligence is the most important technology for India-based CIOs to explore, says Gartner. The huge population means that information about consumer habits is everywhere and businesses want to better understand this to prosper. "The importance of business intelligence is the consequence of having a large population," Raina said. Information based on large data sets is very complicated and analytics tools are essential to gaining meaningful advantages. "Retailers, for example, need to get information from multiple touch points."
"In India, mobile operators want to understand user habits so they can make them the right offers."
Mobile is the number two technology on the minds of India's CIOs. Again, the large population is a key factor in driving demand for mobile services. Businesses in multiple sectors need to benefit from the trends of consumers working, socializing and consuming in different ways. Financial services firms, retailers and logistics firms are examples of those harnessing mobile.
Underpinning a great deal of technology developments in India is cloud computing, which is Gartner's third hottest CIO technology in India. As a result of its strong heritage in IT services, with domestic firms supplying to global multinationals, India has the cloud skills base at hand.
But there is a challenge that is the result of huge gaps between India's massive conglomerates and its largest business group made up of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)with up to 999 staff.
Although huge conglomerates and multinational IT services firms can afford to set up in tier one cities such as Bangalore and Mumbai, SMBs must move to tier two and three cities such as Nashik, Ahmedabad and Lucknow. Raina says it is often difficult to harness the cloud in these regions due to limited connectivity. "The cloud is supposed to be a method to cut costs but many SMEs cannot use it."
Technology drivers, according to Gartner
What is driving the adoption of analytics and business intelligence in India?
As new buying centers continue to open and expand in line-of-business initiatives, business constituents are increasingly confident about sourcing analytics for their particular needs, and they are taking an increasingly large stake of the spending pie.
The race is on to provide business context through packaged analytic applications, opening the playing field up not only to software vendors, large and small, but also to service and data content providers.
Organizations will seek innovations in self-service BI and visualization and will want an alternative to IT-heavy semantically layered data models retrieving data from disk (so they can mash up information to store and analyze in memory instead).
What is driving the adoption of mobility solutions in India?
Rapid growth in mobile application development is providing opportunities for organizations, and software testers need to prepare for mobile software testing.
Many companies offer a number of mobile business-to-consumer (B2C) applications ready for use to lower the entry barrier and TCO for enterprises that would like to start using mobile B2C applications, whether it's for ideas such as authentication, conferences, loyalty points or mobile shopping.
Personal portable mobile devices are becoming the consumer analytic devices of the future.
What is driving cloud adoption in India?
The entry of vendors introducing their own cloud solutions for storage, backup and security -- such as Symantec and Dell -- will also drive market adoption.
With cloud computing contributing, in some cases, toward considerable savings in capital expenditure and providing scalability for organizations while expanding their business and increasing their employee count, cloud will see more traction in the next two years.
Organizations will standardize their processes, hardware and software to simplify resource management. A key factor to managing virtualization and benefiting from cloud computing is to limit the number of options and combinations. Additionally, it's essential to deliver standardized and well-understood processes that streamline and speed up operations. Standardizing and automating their processes and service offerings will help organizations gain the "speed" advantage of the cloud in the long term.