The coronavirus epidemic has changed the world. No one was prepared for the genesis of the unforeseen outbreak of this contagious disease. Chaos and trepidation were followed by a halt to all activities in all corners of the world.
That was a year ago. Since then, normalcy has changed. Donning masks has become as essential as wearing undergarments. Some institutions remain closed and the Work from Home (WFH) model has become a new norm in the corporate world.
2020 was the year that tested everyone and every activity. Like every other industry, the IT industry went through a whirlwind trip.
When the first wave of the coronavirus hit India, NASSCOM conducted a survey of 160 respondents in April 2020. The result showed how much hope IT professionals lost at the time. 70% of the survey subjects said that they expected FY20-21 revenues to be negatively impacted while 75% expected clients’ business de-growth.
As many as 10.9 million people in India lost their jobs in 2020 (according to data by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy). In the first quarter of the same year, the IT and BPO sectors witnessed 30,000 job losses and 60,000 furloughs.
However, there was one thing that came to the rescue during the crisis and that is digital transformation. For the safety and well-being of all individuals and the continuance of official activities, interactions had to be done virtually. Digital technologies allowed the world to continue but with minimum face-to-face interactions. Videotelephony software and apps allowed students to continue their studies and to date, most classes are still conducted online.
The work-from-home model was adopted so that businesses could remain open and even now that we’ve entered the post-COVID era, the adoption of the hybrid work-from-home model, wherein some employees work on-site while others work remotely, has become an integral part of an organization’s way of working.
The shift towards digital technologies allowed high-speed secure infrastructure and multi/hybrid cloud to become the emerging tech spend areas.
2021 brings good news and hope for the IT industry. The ‘NASSCOM 2021 CEO Survey: The Year of Many Possibilities’, conducted by NASSCOM Insights among over 120 tech CEOs saw many positive expectations from the respondents.
Here are some of the findings and predictions on “Technology Spending in 2021”:
- 71% of respondents expect global tech spend to grow to 4%.
- Main technology focus areas in 2021 will be Advanced analytics/AI, robotics, cybersecurity, RPA/robotics, Cloud as well as Internet of Things (IoT).
- The top customer spend themes for technology in 2021 will be revamping products/services, improving customer experience and seeking opportunities for new revenues.
Out of the 120 tech CEO respondents, 91% expect the Indian tech industry growth to be higher in 2021. The survey also revealed that key growth segments will likely be in IT services, software products, Engineering R&D, and Business process management (BPM).
As we are still learning to live in a world where coronavirus still exists, it is still too early to determine a concrete outcome of how the IT industry will function normally again. However, it is safe to say the tech industry – with the spike in digital transformation and tech adoption – has paved the way for India to be one of the strongest digital markets.
Hiring in the tech industry is seeing a massive improvement with over 1,38,000 net new hires expected to be added in FY21. “Encouraging tech and domain specific professional skills among the talent will be priority in the next decade for making India a talent nation,” said Nasscom’s president, Debjani Ghosh.
Witnessing the success of the work-from-home model, firms such as Shopify, Twitter, Facebook, etc have allowed their employees to work remotely permanently. The government of India even gave guidelines for employees of BPOs, KPOs, ITES and call centers among others, for permanent ‘Work from Home’ and ‘Work from Anywhere’ policies. Commenting on this, Ashish Aggarwal of Nasscom said,” India is a global outsourcing hub and the new guidelines will promote outsourcing at scale, bringing in more work to India. With the relaxations in WFH regulations, companies will be able to tap into talent from small towns and remote parts of the country.”
The pandemic has redefined “normal” for individuals and industries. As of now, the IT industry is recovering as well as can be expected.