The Real Progress

Date:   Wednesday , December 02, 2009

Last month we saw President Barack Obama and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh vowing to deepen trade and investment ties. While our two nations make progress in their relationships, it is also the right time to reflect where the Indian IT industry, is headed to.

The U.S. downturn is slowly but surely redefining the Indian IT paradigm. If there was a major watershed in the Indian IT Industry post Y2K, this is it. The growth rate of our industry, which was in double digits till recently, has now slipped to single digit. If the Indian software industry has to survive, then it needs to adapt to the changing market scenarios quickly.

After the dizzying growth of the last 10 years, it is time to pause, reflect and realign strategies. The tipping point came with the Y2K phenomenon; that’s exactly 10 years back when armies of our engineers traveled to the U.S. Getting a H1B visa then was a social pride indeed. The scenario has changed now, with the global players setting up their R&D centers and a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem right here in India. The technology industry in India has grown from $4 billion industry in 1999 to over $50 billion in 2009.

But are we really progressing as an industry? Progress has several other dimensions as well.

Technological advancements have a direct correlation to a nation’s progress as a whole. That is possible only when technology growth influences a larger cross section of the society.

Despite the challenging times, even now, the U.S. is experiencing a massive explosion of creativity in technology—be it the Google, iPhone, Twitter, or Kindle. Can we stand up and say what has been the single most contribution of Indian IT industry that has had a great impact on the lives of our people?

If India can send its own satellite to the moon or produce a Nano car, what stops it from breaking the barriers and building breakthrough technologies that have a wider impact? But sadly, we are not there yet!

It reminds me of what the management guru Peter Drucker once said, “We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: If you’ve got ambition and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession, regardless of where you started out.”

Please do let us know what you think. All of us at siliconindia wish you the very best of the season.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Pradeep Shankar