The first half of 2019 was an exciting time, with invigorated interest from businesses in India and abroad to invest in the Indian growth story. While global economic headwinds during the latter half of the year subdued some of this euphoria, India has maintained its position amongst the high growth markets worldwide. During 2020, we expect Indian enterprises to grow to even newer heights, and the following technology trends will help drive this growth:
- Data driven insights and decision making - Indian companies are in a strong position to leapfrog competitors from developed countries in the adoption of business intelligence and data driven decision making. The presence of a large customer base, near universal access to mobile devices, affordable data management solutions and lack of technology debt have primed Indian businesses to invest in big data and advanced analytics technologies in the coming year.
- Intelligent automation – India is amongst the champions in the use of technologies like digital automation and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), particularly in global capability centres that power large enterprises globally. During 2020, companies will take a systematic approach to automation, and augment existing investments with AI. This will drive digital outcomes for business growth, in addition to the cost savings that companies have come to expect from automation.
- Connected enterprises – Enterprises have long managed their customer facing operations (front office), production/logistics (mid office) and support functions (back office) as three independent silos. However, today’s digital world is vastly different than it was a few years ago. Today, the way a customer makes decisions is very different, and competition is far more intense to provide the best possible customer experience. This requires integrated back, mid and front office operations, from supply chain to operations, and from finance to IT. Therefore, the trend to connect the enterprise will gain further traction during 2020.
- Rise of the millennials – Millennials’ participation in the workforce is set to increase for the foreseeable future, and combined with their importance as a customer group, will contribute to enterprises increasing focus on their needs. Millennials grew up with technology, mobile devices, and everything on demand from the start. Therefore, enterprises will continue to invest significant time and capital in understanding their preferences and design the customer journey’s accordingly.
- Cyber-resilience – According to an MMC-Fireeye report, there has been a 36 per cent increase in cyber security related crimes since 2016. But investments have only grown 10 per cent. And cyber risks are only expected to increase with companies expanding their digital footprint. Most companies are beginning to realise that it is not possible to stay ahead of every threat and every risk. Therefore, it is important to advance from cyber security to cyber resilience. This includes building a security focused mindset across the enterprise, as well as building plans for the day after. Expect a lot more investment and effort towards cyber-resilience in the coming year.
- Distributed computing – Users continue to seek more and more real time insights, and therefore, computing is getting increasingly distributed in nature. This trend will accelerate in 2020, with more intelligent edge computing and robust cloud infrastructure providing lower latency to meet customer expectations. Over time, the role of central computing will decrease, and the edge will create an inter-dependent mesh architecture to provide services on demand.
- Bharat online – In 2019, increased bandwidth, low cost data plans and government programmes brought lakhs of rural Indians on to the Internet for the first time. The year 2019 also saw the launch of the first internet car in India. In 2020, this trend will accelerate, and marketers across sectors will leverage the growth in internet users as the building blocks to build the next generation of products and services.
- Green businesses – Growing environmental consciousness among Indian consumers and government policies are transforming sectors. In transportation, electric rickshaws, scooters and buses are already in common use. In packaging, single use plastic has reduced considerably after the government’s push and biodegradable packaging is underway. These trends, are in turn, attracting venture capital, both equity and debt, into each of these new industries. This capital allocation is set to accelerate in 2020, with more and more investments focusing on ‘impact investing’, i.e. investments that offer both financial and social returns.
- Policy and regulatory agenda – The government of India has reformed the policy architecture and ecosystem across sectors in India, thereby fueling the economic and technological invigoration of the country. This includes implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, reforms in FDI policy and Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB) amongst others. The implementation of this policy framework will continue to transform the economy, create new opportunities using technology ecosystems and channelise capital and talent to its most productive use.
- 3D printing – India’s manufacturing sector is on target to be amongst the top five in the world in the coming year. This growth in manufacturing is being complemented by a gradual movement up the value chain by Indian companies, with a strong focus on innovation and building solutions designed and built for the Indian landscape from the ground up. 3D printing is an important component in this wave of experimentation and development, and in 2020, the manufacturing sector, led by the automotive industry, will witness increasing deployment of this technology.
(A version of this article appeared in Moneycontrol on Dec 19, 2019)