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View from India: The technologies transforming business in 2017

At the start of 2017, we look forward to breakthrough technologies that will help transform processes and businesses.

“Digital transformation is about transforming the business through people and process, as well as through innovative use of technology. As a result, agile infrastructure, cloud and the benefits of DevOps will gain greater attention as a way to speed up the development and deployment of applications and services with less defects and wasted effort,” said Hu Yoshida, Global CTO, Hitachi Data Systems.

The market will proliferate with smarter, scalable automated devices. These devices will ensure outcome-based consumer connectivity and engagement across verticals. Seamless networks and mobile apps will add to the overall experience.

Start-ups are already active in this area and the start-up landscape in the country is becoming the epitome of innovation, with companies bringing out solutions aimed at solving locally relevant issues.

“Technology start-ups are creating a new identity for India and its technological prowess. They are defining the way the world operates making life better and easier for people and businesses alike. We believe that the contribution by start-ups has been growing at a rapid rate and the landscape has a huge potential in terms of business stability, revenue growth and further innovation,” said Sangeeta Gupta, Senior Vice President at NASSCOM, the premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPM industries in India.

Owing to focused funding and a growing need of scaling-up capabilities, Indian entrepreneurs will continue to attract global attention due to a perfect mix of talent, technology, traction and transactions.

According to a NASSCOM report titled “Indian Start-up Ecosystem Maturing - 2016”, the ecosystem is poised to more than double in size to reach more than 10,500 start-ups by the year 2020. In terms of vertical growth, investors are looking at areas such as health-tech, fin-tech and edu-tech. With a total funding of approximately $4 billion USD, close to 650 start-ups were funded, signifying awareness and healthy growth of the ecosystem.

“Interestingly, over 1,400 new startups have emerged in 2016 denoting that that the ecosystem is becoming prudent with both investors and start-up founders focusing on profitability and optimizing the overall spend. With this impetus, India will become home to over 10,500 start-ups by 2020, employing over 210,000 people,” explained Gupta.

Another new concept is ‘Bimodal IT’, which refers to two modes of IT. Mode 1 is the Traditional kind which emphasizes on safety, accuracy and availability. Mode 2 is Nonlinear and emphasizes on agility and speed.

Just as the hybrid cloud will continue to be the predominant model for years to come, bimodal IT too will continue to be necessary. While many may wish for the ability to simply do away with legacy application stacks and start afresh, the reality of the need for business continuity built on well understood and supported mission-critical systems continues.

“IT must be able to manage both modes and implement systems that can bridge between them. Converged infrastructure solutions can modernize mode 1 systems and bridge to mode 2 ones via orchestration and cloud ready interfaces,” highlighted Yoshida.

While the need to operate bi-modally may be seen as a necessary evil, organisations will not tolerate data being stranded in mode 1 islands at the cost of valuable business insight. Tools like Pentaho Enterprise Data Integration, that can bring together the data warehouse of mode 1, with the unstructured data of mode 2 to provide users with a clear view of all their data, will gain significant traction.

A wider use of blockchain and distributed ledger also appears likely through 2017. Banks and financial institutions are in the process of evaluating how to deploy some workloads on blockchain. “The banks find this technology more cost effective, leading to lesser counterfeits and limited diverse use. Some of the banks such as Yes Bank is deploying blockchain technology for supply chain finance, trade finance and cash management services,” revealed Akhilesh Tuteja, Global Leader – Cyber Security Services, KPMG. 

Data is becoming increasingly valuable. Recent IDC research revealed that 53 per cent of organisations in the APAC (Asia Pacific) region consider big data and analytics important and have adopted or plan to adopt it in the near future. Companies are finding new ways to correlate and merge data from different sources to gain more insight, while repurposing old data for different uses.

To ensure the governance and accessibility of this data, IT needs to create a centralised data hub for better management, use and protection of their data. “This centralised hub will need to be an object store that can scale beyond the limitations of traditional storage systems, ingest data from different sources, and provide search across public and private clouds as well as mobile devices,” said Yoshida. 

‘Digital Twins’ is a trend in manufacturing, the twin being a digital representation of any asset that includes design specification and engineering models with built-in operational data to simulate reality. “The technology helps assess performance deficiencies, optimise operability of machines and refine product designs. The technology is a boon for the manufacturing and automotive industries for optimising, predicting simulation and analysing the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) data,” observed Tuteja.

Conversational systems provide a bi-directional informal text to voice capability to individual. The system hears and adapts to person in context. Companies are proposing to extend the technology for conversing with farmers in the agriculture sector. The system would specifically help the uneducated or visually challenged individuals to converse with a system through speech, text, gestures facial expression and symbols. The technology would allow companies to deploy a single system to interact with multilingual users. In a nutshell, the demands and needs of consumers would push the boundaries of technology in the coming years.

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