creation of many companies with
valuation in excess of US$1 billion
The government is expected to
accelerate the creation of public
digital infrastructure to streamline
existing citizen services and create
new services. The India Stack model
will be expanded to create industry-specific initiatives in areas such as
healthcare, supply chain, and education. This will result in technology
getting weaved into the fabric of the
Indian workforce across agriculture,
healthcare, education, and other
industries. Millions of digitally enabled jobs and job categories will be
created in the process.
Further, second- and third-tier
locations will join India’s software
ecosystem due to the strong mobility
network, education, and digital infrastructure built over the last decade.
Global companies, Indian IT companies, and start-ups will leverage these
cities to drive innovation.
Over the last three decades, India
has risen as a technology and software
trailblazer, and with concerted efforts
by the entire ecosystem including
Indian IT companies, multinationals,
start-ups, and the government, India
has the potential to further establish
its standing as a world leader in the
Pankaj Jalote ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is Distinguished Professor
(and founding director 2008–2018) at Indraprastha Institute
of Information Technology (IIIT), New Delhi, India.
Pari Natarajan ( email@example.com) is the Chief Operating
Officer of Zinnov, Bangalore, India.
NASSCOM, Strategic Review: IT-BPM
Sector in India 2019: Decoding Digital
NASSCOM, Future Skills—A NASSCOM
NASSCOM, Women ‘in’Equality—Not
NASSCOM-Zinnov, GCC 3.0: Spotlight on
Digital, Partnerships, New Delivery Models
& Future Skills, 2019.
NASSCOM-Zinnov, Indian Tech Start-Up
Ecosystem 2018: Approaching Escape
Press Information Bureau, Government of
India, Ministry of Electronics & I (May 3,
2017), Employment Prospects in India’s IT
Sector: Robust Outlook
Copyright held by authors/owners.
Publications rights licensed to ACM.
regions like the United States, Mexico,
China, Europe, and Australia, employing thousands of software engineers
and managers. The Indian IT services
industry is estimated to employ a total
of 40,000+ locals in the United States
alone. Additionally, the industry is
also exporting its massive talent training infrastructure to global locations.
Tata Consultancy Services has set up a
training hub in Cincinnati and is creating a pipeline of graduates coming
out of U.S. universities.
The worldwide impact of the Indian
software industry is widely evident:
˲ Code written by Indians is present
in almost all systems with software, including cars, consumer electronics, enterprise software solutions, industrial
products, banking systems, and more;
˲ Indian designers are involved in
most chip and system designs by major
˲ Indian IT firms have development
centers in over 80 countries around the
˲Over 1,000 companies develop
global products from their centers in
Observing the growth and impact of
the Indian IT industry provides a set of
valuable lessons that can be replicated
for the development of other industries in India and other countries.
Government involvement. Minimal
government interference coupled
with supportive incentive policies
was a key success factor. The Indian
government did not regulate the industry and created tax incentives for
both importing technology and for
revenue from exports.
Skilling and development. Focus
on skills and talent development has
been instrumental in the growth of the
IT industry. Even in their early stages,
IT companies spent significant time
and money developing the skills of
their employees ahead of time. This
helped companies rapidly address the
changing technology needs of their
Process orientation. The heightened
focus on process orientation in the
A strong process and continuous im-
provement focus is a catalyst for both
quality and productivity.
Industry collaboration. One key
factor in the success of the Indian
IT sector has been its ability to bring
companies together to develop an
industry. The sector has created a huge
collaboration ecosystem in the form
of an industry body—NASSCOM. The
association has helped develop best
practices that get disseminated to
companies across the sector.
Scale and entrepreneurship.
Widespread industry effort to promote,
cultivate, and celebrate entrepreneurship has created an ecosystem for
entrepreneurs to conceptualize, fund,
and scale IT companies. The first
generation of entrepreneurs focused
on building and scaling IT services
companies, while the second is focusing on building IT products and IP-led
The Way Forward
The Indian IT sector is in a unique
position to lead global technology innovations over the next decade.
The Indian education infrastructure is being rapidly overhauled by
dedicated government initiatives.
The government has announced the
creation of 17 new Indian Institutes of
Technology (IIT) across India to further improve the quality of engineering education. IITs have some of the
country’s best engineering faculty and
education infrastructure. The millions
of engineers who will graduate in the
next few years will be adept at machine
learning, cloud computing, and other
new-age digital technologies. As a result India will continue to be a source
of skilled digital talent and intellectual
property for more than 2,000 global
India’s per capita income is
expected to cross US$3,500 by 2025
from the current US$2,000. This will
increase discretionary spending by
the population, creating a huge consumer market, potentially triggering
the next wave of digital entrepreneurs
building India-focused technology.
Venture capital activities will increase
due to massive domestic opportunities and the ability of Indian start-ups
to build global products. The availability of capital will catalyze the