Future is digital, says Nasscom

Total revenues of the IT-BPO sector in the country crossed $180 billion on the back of new digital opportunities and digital skills that could give a new direction to the industry, the National Association of Software and Services Companies stated in its annual assessment.

While the industry continues on growth path in FY2019 despite minor hick-ups, the Nasscom CEO Survey 2019 showed cautious optimism in the industry, the association stated while announcing the key trends of the industry performance for the year 2018-19 on the sidelines of the flagship NASSCOM Technology and Leadership Forum (NTLF 2019).
The year has been christened as ‘The Year of Digital Acceleration’ wherein the industry was able to fast forward its journey to be the digital solutions partner across the different sectors.
Nasscom estimates that exports from the IT-BPO sector crossed $137 billion and marginally grew above the Nasscom guidance of 7-9 per cent. The industry sectors also expanded beyond IT services and together are almost half the industry revenues in 2018-19.
Digital technology was once again the growth driver for the year, growing 30 per cent year-on-year and is estimated at $33 billion in 2018-19. Growth in the start-up sector was another key highlight of the year. India witnessed the birth of eight unicorns with start-up funding reaching an all-time high.
The key themes for the year included solutions across emerging technologies, especially those that are AI and automation based. 
Skilling has been a priority for organisations in the industry, to adapt to the digitally transforming operations and the industry now has over 600,000 digitally skilled professionals. Setting up centres of excellence, innovation hubs in key markets and enhanced focus on products and platforms are key investments being done by the industry for digital capabilities.
“The sector will continue to invest in building products and platforms, upskill its talent pool and drive greater collaboration across the ecosystem,” Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom, said.
“The IT-BPM industry with revenue of $180 billion continues to be a key catalyst for India’s growth. During the year, the industry performance also showcased a changing narrative for the sector, a sector focused on internal transformation and driving transformation for its clients globally and in India,” Rishad Premji, chairman, Nasscom, said.
GROWTH HIGHLIGHTS
  • IT Software and Services revenue (excluding hardware) crossed $165 billion at constant currency prices.
  • IT-BPM Digital Revenue stood at $33 billion
  • The number of tech start-ups rose to more than 7,000, the third largest in the world
  • The industry added a net 170,00 additional personnel.
  • The number of digitally skilled rose to 600,000
  • The year 2018-19 saw 40 new R&D GCCs being set up
  • The value of M&As in the year stood at $10 billion
The first edition of Nasscom’s CEO Survey that tracks CEO confidence on growth drivers in the year and the key risks to watch for showed that global economic uncertainties are leading to a cautionary outlook among CEOs, but they expect digitisation initiatives to continue with the same momentum. Digitisation of businesses and enhanced customer experience have emerged as the top two spending areas in IT and BPM for 2019. 
According to the survey, advanced analytics and AI are the top priority area for over 50 per cent of global CEOs in terms of technology spending, followed by hybrid cloud and cybersecurity. 
Further, almost 90 per cent of the CEO responses showcased that skills is the new currency and 2018 will be similar or somewhat better than in the year 2018 for hiring.
Increased focus on skilling and reskilling will be an industry priority as all businesses and countries are dealing with a global tech skills shortage.
“CEO Sentiment for 2019-20 is cautiously optimistic in the backdrop of concerns of global macroeconomic risks. Digitalisation initiatives are at the core of business transformation and may be less impacted by somewhat lowergrowth in major economies,” Debjani Ghosh said.
The decade past the 2008 financial crisis witnessed global technology growth as a result of revived customer and business confidence, Nasscom said, adding that the decade has witnessed a complete transformation of the technology and services industry in India. As we stand at the cusp of the next decade, the IT-BPM industry will continue to accelerate the digital journey and focus on its vision of Transforming Businesses and Transforming India.